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Visit by Moscow-based non-profit organisations
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Events

Events

Visit by Moscow-based non-profit organisations

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A group of people smiling and posing for a photo in front of a sign that reads "Happy Human."

A Russian delegation comprising heads of various non-profit organisations and foundations recently visited the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) as part of a study trip organised by the NGOs Resource Centre of the City of Moscow.

The group’s main purpose was to meet with local non-profit organisations, exchange views and experiences as well as understand the impact the non-profit sector has on Singapore’s sustainability and quality of life.

The group represented various Moscow-based non-profit organisations providing support to disabled, sick or disadvantaged children, war veterans, environmental issues as well as promoting volunteerism and inclusive education and training with the help of new technologies.

During the lively two-hour session, we shared about our work with donors and charitable organisations, governance and marketing outreach. The participants and CFS team exchanged views on government support, tax benefits, fundraising and sustaining donor support – all of which are crucial to ensuring the long term survival of non-profit organisations around the world. The group was particularly interested in learning about how endowment funds generate sustainability for charities. They were also impressed by our recent ‘Portraits of generosity‘ campaign and how the role of marketing was important to achieving awareness and growth.

All in, it was an engaging and enriching experience with both sides gaining a better understanding of the common challenges non-profit organisations face. We hope to take up on the group’s invitation to make an exchange trip to Moscow one day

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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News

CEO Catherine Loh goes on MONEY FM 89.3 to speak about the Sayang Sayang Fund with Michelle Martin

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John Doe
Financial management by Catherine Loh

Michelle: Let’s start with CFS and the work that it does. How does it support charities and why did the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) start the Sayang Sayang Fund?

Catherine: The Community Foundation of Singapore is also a charity. We were founded in 2008, and our main objective is to inspire philanthropy in Singapore. We do that by helping donors achieve a greater impact with their giving in communities through charitable funds. Donors can establish their own funds or if they wish, they could support one of the Community Impact Funds that we’ve started up.

The Sayang Sayang Fund is one of such Community Impact Funds. It was set up in response to the needs that arose from the COVID 19 pandemic. With our understanding of the needs on the ground, our network of community partners, government agencies, and charity partners, we were able to quickly see what the needs out there were and who needed help.

We thought that by setting up this Fund, it would be an effective way of garnering financial support from those who want to give and disburse it quickly to those in need. That’s why we started it.

Michelle: I understand the Fund aims to help healthcare workers on the frontlines and the vulnerable, and that the Sayang Sayang Fund has pledged some quarter of a million dollars in taxi vouchers to frontline staff of healthcare institutions. How close is the Fund to meeting that goal?

Catherine: I’m happy to say that thanks to the generosity of our donors that we have actually disbursed over $400,000 of taxi and transport vouchers to 129 public hospitals, polyclinics and community healthcare providers. For that I have to thank ComfortDelGro, Grab and Gojek for partnering with us. And I must say that when we started the Fund, our first objective was the welfare of the healthcare workers on the frontline supporting us.

It is only right that we provide them with some love and care, sayang them a bit; that’s how we started this Fund. That was the first project we were looking to do. But over time, when we raised the money, we reached out to the charities through grants calls to send over their funding requests to us, we found that there were lots of needs. In the first round of grants calls we received almost three million dollars in requests for funding, and that is why we decided to continue with the Fund to raise more money.

Michelle: Where are the urgent needs now Catherine, and how is CFS helping to plug these gaps?

Catherine: With the circuit breaker measures, the loss of work and everybody having to stay at home, I would say that almost everyone in Singapore is affected. So one of the very urgent needs that we are trying to address is really how to support the students that have to study from home, or ‘home based learning’.

Through our Recess@Home programme, we are very grateful that we have the partnership support of the Ministry of Education to quickly reach out to thousands of children who might need financial support. Because these students do get subsidies or free food when they are in school, now these students cannot go to school. We want to provide them with some financial support so at least there is some assurance that they do get their proper meals while they study at home. So that is one need.

We realise too that there are seniors that may be sick and are living alone at home and not getting their usual medical care and support. We would also love to set up an emergency fund for those community nurses or even volunteers who are still allowed to do house visits to provide these vulnerable seniors with any form of support that they might need. We understand that there are lots of groups out there that are already providing food and basic necessities. Community nurses could supply them with medicines, medical support, essentials or anything they might need while they are staying at home on their own.

Even young students from families that might need them to take on a part-time job to supplement the family income are no longer able to do so. We could provide them with financial support so they can focus on their studies and not drop out of school because of the worries of not being able to provide for their family. That is one thing that we would like to do as well. Of course, we also have a lot of foreign guests and workers who are falling sick and how can we help them.

Last but not least, back to our healthcare workers again. With the number of cases that they have to take care of, I think it is very important that they stay physically and mentally healthy so that stress doesn’t get to them. We do wish to be able to continue to support these workers with transport vouchers or even funding so their organisations can charter, say buses to send them home quickly after their long work shift.

Michelle: Given the number and the sheer variety of needs out there, how is the Fund approaching giving? I understand in your initial phase, CFS was seeking donations of a million and above. Right now is pretty much any help welcome?

Catherine: We do have a target of three million, and as we speak there are more needs surfacing, so I do think the Fund will continue to stay open as long as there are needs out there that need support. We do have a team of grant-makers out there to assess the situation.

We don’t work alone; we work with our partners like government agencies, NCSS (National Council of Social Service) and AIC (Agency of Integrated Care). We have our whole network of charity partners and we have our other funders who are active and even volunteer groups. We work with all these groups to gather all this information to see where and how the Sayang Sayang Fund can help.

Michelle: Is there a minimum of a million dollars to be able to donate?

Catherine: No, any amount is welcome. I must say that Singaporeans in general have been very generous because last week when many of us received the $600 of the Solidarity payment, many people have donated online in support of Sayang Sayang and also the other charities that happen to be fund-raising.

Michelle: Singaporeans are so generous, so lovely to hear that. Can you share a little bit of your estimate of how much you’re going to need to meet the evolving emergency needs you anticipate for the next couple of weeks?

Catherine: I do hope we can raise another one to two million dollars so that we can actually provide longer term targeted support. I think this pandemic is not going to go away by early June. The economy will only be slowly cranking up after that, so there will still be people who need support one way or the other.

Listen to the full interview here: https://omny.fm/shows/money-fm-893/influence-lending-a-helping-hand-during-covid-19

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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News

More philanthropy funds focusing on climate change needed: Reports

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John Doe
A forest area with a drain

To support green causes and efforts to further climate action, Mr David Heng, chief executive of a private equity fund, set up the Mind the Gap 200 – Sustainable Earth fund in 2019.

It is part of a project Mr Heng, who is in his 50s, undertook with nine friends and the Community Foundation of Singapore.

The fund, which supports charities and programmes that address some of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, is one of the few set up by philanthropists to tackle climate change.

The cause attracts less than 2 per cent of philanthropic giving globally, according to global non-governmental organisation ClimateWorks Foundation.

A recently published 110-page guide by investment bank UBS is looking to change this by showing donors, philanthropists and investors how to fill the climate funding gap, and the benefits and impacts of “green philanthropy”.

The report, called On Thin Ice, comprises insights and tips from more than 40 experts in the areas of sustainability and investment.

The report also emphasises the importance of prioritising climate funding since the dangerous impacts of climate change will cut across other focus areas such as children’s health, mental well-being, inequality and food security.

“While the need to engage directly with climate change is now recognised, many who may have the means to take action are unclear on how to best use these resources to achieve the greatest impact,” said Ms Hannah Wood, one of the authors of the report.

Ms Wood, programme director of UBS Optimus Foundation, added that areas that need funding include the energy transition, agriculture and climate research.

“Investors may wish to consider investing in key sectors such as renewable energy and carbon capture, energy efficiency and smart mobility.”

Shifting to renewable energy and scaling up research are expensive. The International Energy Agency estimates that 70 per cent of clean energy investments over the next decade need to come from private investors, consumers and financiers.

Limiting global warming to 1.5 deg C by 2030 will require an extra US$4 trillion ($5.5 trillion) investment in clean energy projects and infrastructure every year.

Beyond money, philanthropists and investors can also use their influence as shareholders to push for positive environmental change in companies – especially for firms that are economically important but polluting, added Ms Wood.

ClimateWorks Foundation said that between 2019 and 2020, overall philanthropic giving grew by 3 per cent while climate funding grew by 14 per cent.

Mr Heng is the founder and CEO of $405 million impact investment fund ABC World Asia.

Impact investment funds aim to generate positive environmental and social impact while bringing good returns to investors.

For Mind the Gap 200, people can donate to it through the Community Foundation of Singapore, a charity that encourages and helps to enable philanthropy in Singapore by matching donors’ interests with various causes.

Ms Catherine Loh, chief executive of Community Foundation of Singapore, said interest in green philanthropy picked up here when the Singapore Green Plan 2030 – a movement to advance the national agenda for sustainable development – was announced early last year.

From this year to 2024, the foundation will prioritise five issues for grant-making, and one of them is climate and environment.

This covers environmental conservation efforts, research into climate-related phenomena and climate solutions, added Ms Loh.

“The inclusion of this as an area of focus stems from the recognition that a healthy natural environment is conducive to the well-being of a community,” she said.

She cited the Khurana Nurture Foundation, which supports the Institute of Technical Education’s green ambassadors, training them to be the next generation of environmental activists.

The philanthropic organisation also helps people with disabilities pursue a career in urban farming.

Those philanthropy efforts together address climate action, education, social welfare and jobs.

Charitable family foundations The Straits Times contacted declined to be interviewed because they prefer to keep a low profile about their philanthropic work.

Ms Wood said: “There are big returns to be made from environmental philanthropic and sustainable investments, and as the pace of change continues to speed up, the wisest will be out ahead of the curve driving the transition.”

This article was originally published in The Straits Times here. Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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Opinion

Giving mental health a boost – why it matters

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John Doe
an old lady smiling in front of a tree

When the pandemic hit, seemingly overnight, daily routines and livelihoods were forever changed. Children could no longer play outdoors; youths saw lost time with friends, school, graduations and more; while adults straddle an ever-changing array of challenges – from coping with loss of work to additional care-giving duties. 

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Events

Join CFS as we do our part for SG Giving Week 2021

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John Doe
a man teaching a kid guitar

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) is pleased to be a part of SG Cares Giving Week 2021, co-driven by NVPC, NCSS and Singapore Cares. 

Discover how giving can give you purpose, hope and life. Start by giving your Time, Talent, Treasure, Voice to support the causes you are passionate about, in all ways, big and small. 

Join CFS as we do our part for SG Giving Week:

Together, let’s build a Singapore that cares! Find out more on givingweek.sg.

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