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社区基金会让善款发挥更大爱
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社区基金会让善款发挥更大爱

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John Doe
portrait of CFS CEO Catherine Loh

随着出生率不断下降和人口老龄化,慈善事业下来可更专注在老人方面。

新加坡社区基金会(The Community Foundation of Singapore,简称CFS)总裁罗佩仪告诉《联合早报》,政府虽然负责照顾老人的基本需求,但公众可协助提升老人的生活素质,维护他们尊严,让他们在暮年,可以过得更有意义和活跃。

“在教育方面,除了孩童和青少年,受日新月异的科技影响、必须重新受训的成人学生,也应该获得额外支援。”

罗佩仪说,CFS有13年管理基金的经验,致力于确保有高水平的透明度和治理,好让捐款者有信心,知道他们的基金能协助和满足社会现有和未来的变更需求。

她指出,CFS与个人捐款者和慈善机构合作,加强各种慈善事业。

“到CFS的个人、家庭和企业,都希望能支持新加坡的慈善事业,发挥影响力。我们能协助捐款者通过一个有组织和战略性的形式,达到他们的慈善目标。”

过去13年来,捐献者的基金支持性质和规模不一的慈善机构,包括医疗和福利项目,以及教育学府等。

她坦言,一些人虽然知道CFS,但CFS也意识到需要更多信息,协助个人作出知情决定。

为了提高人们的认识,CFS积极向律师和金融专员和顾问介绍“捐献者指示基金”(Donor Advised Funds,简称DAF),让他们考虑将DAF当成客户规划慈善事业的工具之一。

她说,像律师和金融顾问这类提供咨询服务的人,可以为准备捐款的客户提供选项,包括直接捐助特定慈善机构,或通过DAF支持有需要的社区。

“我们因此希望专业咨询顾问与客户谈论财富规划时,也能把慈善列为其中的项目。”罗佩仪说,去年冠病疫情期间,国人鼎力支持慈善,包括不幸者、教育、健康医疗等项目。”

她以因应疫情推出的Sayang Sayang Fund为例说,有超过5185人和企业捐出超过900万元,受益者有13万6000人左右。

“国人慷慨解囊,真的鼓舞人心。作为立场中立、获公益机构(IPC)资格的慈善机构,CFS致力于加强不同社群的生活素质。”

去年4月至7月,全国志愿服务与慈善中心(NVPC)和CFS通过调查公司Toluna展开的调查显示,每10人中有六人认同人人都可以作出遗赠。

她指出,除了全国慈善遗产捐赠(legacy giving)计划,以及CFS本身的“伟大捐赠”(A Greater Gift)运动,CFS专注于提高遗赠的意识,以及捐献慈善机构的价值。

她说,CFS下来将推动捐献的各种方法,并鼓励人们多谈论遗赠和慈善事业,“不论是在餐桌或办公室”。

另外,2021年是“欢庆新加坡女性年”(Year of Celebrating SG Women),推动性别平等与促进女性发展。

罗佩说,CFS将侧重表扬参与慈善事业的女性,不论是捐款者、决策者、董事成员和义工。

以已故总统纳丹的名字命名的“纳丹教育提升基金”今年成立10周年,至今累积逾1000万元资金。这个捐赠基金已发放超过370万元,通过助学金、奖学金,以及各项经济援助计划,支持工艺教育局和高等教育学府的贫困学生顺利升学。

前总统纳丹是在2011年同新加坡社区基金会合作成立这个基金。纳丹同年卸任总统,2016年逝世,享年92岁。

纳丹教育提升基金属于“捐献者指示基金”(DAF),由CFS负责管理。该基金开放让公众捐款。纳丹生前委任一个拨款咨询委员会,负责就基金可支持的项目提供建议。这些年来,委员会的成员不时更新。

纳丹教育提升基金拨款咨询委员会主席陈育宠受询时说,前总统纳丹乐善不倦,他的一生体现出慷慨助人、关怀,以及奉献的精神。“纳丹出身贫寒家境,向来体恤和关怀社会上的弱势群体。”

陈育宠指出,纳丹生前深信教育对促进社会平等扮演重要角色,能赋予弱势家庭的孩子改善自己和家人生活的机会。

基金起初援助的项目包括四个自助团体的教育援助计划,为印度人发展协会、华社自助理事会、回教社会发展理事会,以及欧亚人协会的受益学生提供援助。多年下来,基金也支持包括工艺教育局、南洋理工学院、共和理工学院,以及新跃社科大学、新加坡国立大学和南洋理工大学等学府。

基金去年就为工教局拨款超过40万元,支持的项目包括面向弱势学生的经济援助计划,通过每月发放津贴,减轻这些学生的交通及生活费负担。

至于跃大,基金在2019年拨款为该大学设立“纳丹教育津贴”(S R Nathan Study Grant),给修读部分时间课程的跃大生提供经济援助。这些学生一般先完成工教院和理工院课程后才报读跃大,升学道路较为曲折。

陈育宠说,社会各阶层人士深受纳丹的启发,不少人慷慨解囊捐钱给纳丹教育提升基金。“我们希望纳丹教育提升基金可作为规划遗产捐赠的一个典范。”

已故家庭科医生林文忠生前时常免费为贫困病人看诊。为纪念他乐善好施的精神,家人从他的遗产拨款2400万元设立慈善基金会,援助年长及末期病人,也资助癌症研究。

林文忠是一名敬业乐业的家庭科医生。他在70多岁时被诊断患上前列腺癌,坚持行医至80岁才退休。林文忠晚年笃信天主教。他于2002年逝世,享年84岁。

新加坡社区基金会受询时说,林文忠生前多年的行医经验,以及他晚年患病的经历,促使他生前非常希望能援助弱势年长者及泌尿科疾病患者。

据林文忠的女儿林春娘透露,她的祖父生前也患前列腺疾病,父亲当年对祖父的病情爱莫能助,为此感到懊恼,当父亲患病后,更希望尽一己之力,推展泌尿科癌症方面的研究,以造福癌症患者。

林文忠两个女儿林春娘和林素真按照他的遗愿,于2018年咨询CFS,以父亲的名义设立基金,支持父亲生前关心的慈善和医疗研究项目。林文忠医生基金会也是“捐献者指示基金”,由CFS负责管理。基金会并不开放让公众捐款。

CFS指出,林春娘和林素真对父亲希望这个基金能发挥怎么样的社会影响力有清楚的概念,CFS提供专业咨询协助她们设立基金会,并建议基金会可资助的项目。


新加坡国立大学医院的“林文忠医生泌尿科癌症研究”是其中一个受益的项目。林文忠医生基金会捐赠700万元资助这个项目进行临床试验研究,以提升泌尿科癌症患者的护理及医疗水平。

经营三家疗养院的天主教福利协会(Catholic Welfare Services)获基金会捐赠800万元,作为提升其疗养院设施和运作的经费,让院内年长住户受惠。

此外,基金会也捐赠800万元资助雅西西慈怀病院(Assisi Hospice),帮助该病院拥有16个床位的圣迈克病房减轻提供住院护理方面的开销,让有需要的末期病患获得慈怀护理。

信用:联合早报©新加坡报业控股有限公司。复制需要许可

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Stories Of Impact

Make An Impact Beyond Your Lifetime

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Francis Goh in a suit and tie

This article first appeared on CFS’s Legacy Giving Website. To find out more about Legacy Giving, please click here.

As a legal advisor on wills and trusts, I enjoy helping my clients make an impact beyond their lifetime. With legacy giving, one plans to make a gift to benefit future generations. It’s never too early to start planning, and it’s never too early to start giving.

Francis Goh encourages his clients to think of their Last Will and Testament as their love letter to the ones that they are leaving behind. “When a person realises that he or she is a beneficiary of your giving, it is that moment when that person whom you have chosen to bless feels the depth of your love and care,” says Francis, “If you choose to leave a gift to a charitable cause, it is also an expression of your concern for society.”

With nearly 30 years in active legal practice, Francis is currently a partner at Harry Elias Partnership. He heads both the firm’s Private Client Advisory and International Arbitration practices. In his work involving wills and trusts, he reveals, “I love helping people put their lives in order and to know that they have done their best to plan for those whom they leave behind.”

Apart from his legal work, Francis is also passionate about sharing his legal expertise with the wider public. A frequent speaker on subjects related to wills, probate, foundations and trusts, he also volunteers regularly with Law Society Pro Bono Services. 

Having advised individuals and business organisations on estate as well as business succession planning, Francis is an advocate for early and proper planning for those intending to make a legacy gift in their will. “Giving has to be part of an overall plan, taking into account the relative needs and your responsibilities,” remarks Francis, “Then the giving is meaningful. It becomes a joyous occasion and something to be remembered.”

These conversations will grow in importance, as more Singaporeans become mindful of their social responsibilities. “We’re seeing a generation in Singapore that has grown up in the good years. Many here have enjoyed a good life and they are now looking for purpose and meaning through sharing their wealth,” says Francis. 

Francis believes that “legal professionals have a big role to play in educating their clients about how they can leave a legacy and the impact that their gift can make beyond their lifetime.”

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Stories Of Impact

Leading Foundation Teacher Award – Recognising outstanding teachers in early childhood and special needs education

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a group of teachers posing with their awards

Winners of the 2016 Leading Foundation Teacher Award together with representatives from the Leading Foundation, National Education of Singapore, Ministry of Education and Community Foundation of Singapore.

The Leading Foundation Teacher Award was established in 2014 by Lim Siong Guan and Joanne Lim – co-authors of ‘The Leader, The Teacher & You’ and ‘Winning with Honour’ – to honour passionate and dedicated teachers in early childhood and special needs education. 

Organised by the National Institute of Education (NIE) and managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore, the Leading Foundation Teacher Award is the first award in Singapore to recognise excellence in early childhood and special needs educators. To date, a total of 25 teachers have received the award. 

Said Joanne Lim, co-founder of the Leading Foundation: “Coming from a family of teachers, we knew firsthand how much hard work, dedication, sacrifice and passion educators put in to make a positive impact on the lives of their students so we wanted to honour those who embody these values. After we published the first book, we established the Leading Foundation with the Community Foundation of Singapore. CFS went on to identify the lack of recognition for teachers in early childhood and special needs education and so the Leading Foundation Teacher Award was established to plug this gap.”

It is often said that the best teachers teach from the heart, not from a book – and that is exactly what has motivated recipients of the Leading Foundation Teacher Award who often go beyond the call of duty to make a difference in the lives of their students. To date, 21 teachers have received the award.

For allied educator Tutek Alauyah Amir who won the award in 2015, she makes the extra effort to put in place a comprehensive support system to ease special needs students’ first step into primary school.

As for fellow award recipient preschool teacher Jenny Tan, she believes that every child is different and hence tailors her teaching instructions to cater to every child’s learning style, needs and pace.

Another allied educator – 2016 award recipient Jeyaram Kadivan – laboured tirelessly with his visually impaired student to overcome daunting learning hurdles in secondary school. His support enabled the student to score seven distinctions at O levels.

For these exceptional educators, it is hoped that the Leading Foundation Teacher Award will spur them on to greater heights in their field of work, as well as inspire others to excel like them.

Photo: National Institute of Education, Singapore

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Events

Donor Learning Trip Series: The Art of Mental Well-Being

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This initiative is part of CFS’s Donor Learning Trips, a series of engagement opportunities that enable donors to personally connect with charities and gain insights into how they support communities in need.

On the afternoon of October 19, 2023, 17 of our donors visited the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and learned about the work they do. 

Established in 1968, SAMH has been a stalwart in Singapore’s mental health community, improving the lives of persons with mental health issues through rehabilitation and reintegration.  

SAMH Space2Connect is a newly established integrated wellness centre that provides mental health services to individuals aged 10 and above, families, and communities. The centre aims to empower clients, improving their well-being and walking with them on their road to recovery; while also serving as a collaborative hub for partners to come together and strengthen community mental health and resilience.

Confronting the realities of youth mental health

SAMH strives to destigmatise mental health amidst rising numbers of youths requiring support, encouraging them to seek help. Statistics highlight the severity of the issue, with suicide being the primary cause of death among 10 to 29-year-olds in Singapore in recent years. According to Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), out of the 476 suicides in 2022, 125 involved those in this age group. This is 13 more than in 2021 and the highest since 2000, which marks SOS’ earliest recorded data.

A substantial number of youths admit they are grappling with mental health symptoms, emphasising the pressing need for support. A recent study conducted by the National University of Singapore reported that one in 10, or 12% of adolescents met full diagnostic criteria for having at least one current mental health disorder. About one in three youth in Singapore reported internalising mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety and loneliness, with those aged 14 to 16 reporting more serious symptoms. Meanwhile, roughly one in six young people said they experienced externalising mental health symptoms, such as hyperactivity, rule-breaking and aggression.

Through the afternoon, donors heard beneficiaries tell their stories and toured the space. They learnt how their contributions have supported youths particularly through SAMH YouthReach, which offers psychosocial support and recovery programmes for youths aged 12 to 21 facing emotional, psychological, and psychiatric issues. Mental health recovery is often not linear, and SAMH provides ongoing support for clients beyond treatment completion.

“It was inspiring to learn how our giving was making a difference to the lives of the youths supported by SAMH YouthReach, and to understand more about the good work that SAMH is doing,” said a donor from the CKY Foundation, who has been giving with CFS since 2022 after being introduced by the Economic Development Board. 

“CFS has helped us work towards our philanthropic goals by making an impact across a range of causes and charities through the insights provided by our fund’s dedicated philanthropy advisor. It is heartening to witness the impact of one’s philanthropy in person, and to meet the people that you have helped.”

A place for community and self-expression

In addition to learning about SAMH’s programmes and services, donors had a chance to experience a therapeutic art activity for themselves as they joined two young adult clients of SAMH YouthReach in an interactive hands-on session. Through the fun, laughter and unleashed creativity, they discovered the potential of creative pursuits as a tool for promoting mental wellbeing.

With funding support, SAMH plans to expand their outreach further, with initiatives focusing on the impact of sleep, nutrition and movement on mental health.

We are grateful for the opportunity to meet the CFS donors, showcase SAMH facilities and programmes to them, and facilitate direct engagement with our beneficiaries. Their contributions empower us in our mission to help and support individuals in our community who face mental health challenges

CFS would like to express our deep appreciation to SAMH for the remarkable work that they do, and acknowledge our donors for their invaluable support. To find out more about how you can contribute, visit https://www.cf.org.sg/giving/ways-to-give/

References

HIGHEST RECORDED SUICIDE NUMBERS IN SINGAPORE SINCE 2000

https://medicine.nus.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/PRESS-RELEASE-YEAR-Study-26APR2023-IMMEDIATE-RELEASE.pdf 

In 2023, CFS proudly marks our 15-year milestone on a journey dedicated to empowering donors to create meaningful impact. Since its establishment in 2008, we have received over S$292 million in donations and disbursed over S$157 million in grants to support more than 400 charitable partners in Singapore. Join us in shaping a brighter future for worthy causes by becoming a valued donor. Your contribution can make a substantial difference.

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Stories Of Impact

The Tabung Project – Saving together for a better future

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Launched in 2013, the Tabung Project is a simple yet inventive micro-savings programme by the Healthy Start Child Development Centre (HSCDC), a childcare centre by Beyond Social Services serving children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

With generous support from a donor through the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), families who take part in the Tabung Project are encouraged to save in an innovative way. The idea is simple: every child brings home a tabung (“savings bank” in Malay) where family members and even the child are encouraged to contribute. Each month, Tabung Counting Days are conducted, and each child’s savings is then poured into a community savings pool.

Through a multiplier strategy, the collective savings are matched by the donor and government, yielding a greater savings deposit. The impact of the programme is that every dollar saved multiplies into much more as a result of this generous funding support. As an initiative which involves the whole family, the Tabung Project also inculcates an appreciation of the importance and benefits of saving together.

Today, over 84% of students at HSCDC are involved in the project. Based on review sessions, 70% of the participating parents have developed a positive mindset and culture of saving. Many of them have also expressed their gratitude for the project, which both motivates and helps them kickstart savings for their children, and enables them to tap the CDA funds for their children’s childcare and healthcare expenses.

“The Tabung Project is a small gesture toward a more inclusive society,” explains Gerard Ee, Executive Director of Beyond Social Services, “For low-income families who find it difficult to meet household expenses let alone save, their children will not have much in their Child Development Account (CDA) to meet their educational and healthcare expenses. This project is trying to help them meet practical expenses for their children’s well-being.”

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