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938Now: Night Chat with Susan Ng
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938Now: Night Chat with Susan Ng

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(From 938Now’s Facebook post on 23 October 2018):

Join us on #NightChatWithSusanNg from 9pm-10pm

Leading our conversation tonight – the work of the Community Foundation of Singapore. Their vision is to inspire giving. And they do this by partnering donors and charities to enhance giving in Singapore.

Catherine Loh, Chief Executive Officer, Community Foundation of Singapore tells us more about the work they’ve done over the last 10 years and how they’ve encouraged philanthropy in Singapore.

Ten years after Lim Wei-Jen founded his wealth management company Liontrust, he started the Liontrust Charity Fund with the Community Foundation of Singapore. This was his personal long-term goal – to give back to the community when the company started doing well. Managing Director Ashley Ong also believes in helping people, a value that is important to the company.

Liontrust supports charities focusing on children from disadvantaged backgrounds and with special needs. https://liontrust.com.sg/

Community Foundation of Singapore is a registered charity with Institution of Public Character status. For more information visit www.cf.org.sg.

Encore broadcast of the interview will be on Saturday 27 October 2018, 9–10pm.

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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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Stories Of Impact

The power of the collective: CapitaLand Hope Foundation joins hands with AIC and CFS to bring cheer to seniors

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How do you combat loneliness among older folk? The FUN! Fund – a partnership between Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) – hopes to do this by piloting activities that encourage play, generate laughter and build connections. It’s a fresh approach towards reframing the ageing challenge and a promising effort at collaborative philanthropy.

The brand-new fund has struck a chord with CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), the philanthropic arm of CapitaLand Group. Established in 2005, the foundation seeks to improve the quality of life of seniors. It also aims to nurture and inspire the young and protect the environment for future generations.

“We believe that each older person deserves to live life to the fullest as they age in place and in the community. However, there are vulnerable seniors in the community who face daily life challenges such as mobility difficulties, isolation, and lack of adequate support due to family circumstances,” says Ms Lydia Ang, General Manager of CapitaLand Hope Foundation.

Loneliness is a serious issue for our elderly. It erodes mental and physical well-being and can even reduce lifespans. In mid-2021, a study by the Centre for Ageing Research and Education at Duke-NUS found that those aged 60 and above who see themselves as lonely can expect to live three to five years less compared to their peers who don’t feel lonely. The study, also found that a third of aged 60–69 years and 40% of those aged 80 and above perceived themselves as lonely. Those are sobering statistics indeed.

Two years of living under COVID-19 pandemic restrictions made things much worse. Many older folks stayed home. Being less tech-savvy, they had to grapple with severe social isolation. Those in nursing and care homes saw a stark drop in visitors. Many caregiving staff shows increased burnout and psychological distress in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The FUN! Fund plans to empower community care organisations to collaborate with different stakeholder to develop fun and meaningful activities that seniors can look forward to. There will be development of playbook and post running workshops to share learnings for other organisations to replicate and implement.

CHF got to know about the FUN! Fund through its previous links with AIC and CFS. In 2020, when the pandemic struck, the foundation generously contributed S$700,000 to provide emergency support for community care providers and affected seniors and family members. For CHF, the FUN! Fund dovetails with its efforts to help seniors age in place through its #LoveOurSeniors initiative, which provides the vulnerable elderly with better nutrition, enhanced well-being and improved living conditions.

Tapping on its experience from #LoveOurSeniors, and by working jointly with AIC and CFS, the foundation believes it can help develop innovative programmes that bring cheer to isolated seniors. It also hopes to rally more like-minded partners and the community to join in this effort.

“Through FUN! Fund, multiple donors from different sectors are galvanised to pool and align funding against an agreed set of criteria within a short period of time. This has allowed smaller enterprises to leverage the larger network and platform of FUN! Fund to do good together, as they might not have sufficient resources to effectively contribute to the community on their own,” says Ms Ang.

The FUN! Fund is an example of a pooled fund spearheaded by CFS. Our collective impact funds are designed to raise capital from across the giving spectrum and unite partners to drive positive change. We bring together charities and donors, experience and insights, which amplifies the impact of giving and fosters new solutions.

No individual or organisation can solve complex social issues independently, and private foundations like CHF are embracing collaborative philanthropy. “We believe in the power of the collective, where different stakeholders with respective expertise, knowledge and skills come together as one, leveraging each other’s strengths and resources for the common good. Through the years, we have been rallying our employees, tenants, customers and the wider community to do good together,” says Ms Ang.

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News

CFS Chairperson receives National Award for COVID-19 – The Public Service Medal

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The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) is honoured to announce that our Chairperson, Ms. Christine Ong, has received the National Awards (COVID-19) under the category of The Public Service Medal (COVID-19). This award recognises the Chairperson’s leadership and CFS’s efforts to serve the Singapore community during the pandemic.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, CFS has provided assistance to those in need through the distribution of grants to individuals and organisations. Under Christine’s direction, CFS disbursed a total of $57 million from March 2020 to December 2022, with $32 million going to the social & welfare and health sectors.

One of our key initiatives was the Sayang Sayang Fund. Established in February 2020 as an emergency response fund to support frontline healthcare workers, the Sayang Sayang Fund expanded its support to a range of vulnerable groups and launched nine initiatives. With the help of 891 grantee organizations, CFS delivered resources and support to nearly 400,000 beneficiaries with the $9.6 million raised from multiple platforms, including a successful campaign on Giving.sg that collected $1 million in public donations. The Sayang Sayang Fund continued to introduce new initiatives in 2021 to support ground-up groups and the community health sector in Singapore.

Thanks to Christine and the Board, CFS has become a leading grant-maker in the country during a time of increased community needs. The CFS team has risen to the challenge, working together to address complex issues exacerbated by the pandemic. This award recognizes the collective effort and represents a proud moment for everyone at CFS.

CFS remains committed to excellence and will continue to strive for greater impact in serving the community. Further information on the National Awards (COVID-19) and the recipients is available here.

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News

Make Your Donations More Impactful

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Donating to a worthy cause seems easy. Many people simply give to a charity that asks, give where they gave before or talk with friends. By being more strategic with your money, though, you can make sure your donation has more impact, regardless of whether it is small or large.

Strategic Giving

It is indeed easy to give to charities that you know or that friends recommend. Ad hoc donations without doing a bit of research and deciding on your strategic purpose may, though, have less impact or not fully align with your values.

Starting with a clear giving strategy can enhance the impact of your giving, the Singapore EDB observes. It is better to clarify your goals before considering any donation by considering what you want to change, how much effort you want to put in, the amount you wish to give and the means you have to achieve them. “While data, best practices and tools are available, philanthropy is inherently personal and driven by passions and interests.

Along with giving to causes you support, it is important to ensure that the organization you donate to is reputable. “Better Ask, Better Check, Give Better,” the Charity Portal suggests. You can ask for details such as how your donation will be used, who the beneficiaries are and how much of your donation goes to the beneficiary. Not being able to get this basic information may be a red flag. You can also verify that the beneficiary is a registered charity or provides information to the Commissioner of Charities.

If you need advice, a variety of organizations can assist. Asia Community Foundation, for instance, says it provides donors with support and expertise to make confident and purposeful giving decisions.

Finding the Right Organization for your Philanthropy

One easy way to find reputable organizations to donate to is to use giving.sg, part of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), lists more than 500 non-profits and categorizes them into “causes”. You can select the type of organization, look for ones in that category, click on ones of interest to “learn more,” and donate directly once you have found an impactful organization that aligns with your goals. You can usually also receive a tax benefit.

An alternative for people who want to make a larger donation is to set up a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). You can establish a fund with a donation and use the money to make future gifts to charities. Along with the administrative services that the manager provides, you can get a tax donation for your donation even though you’ll actually give funds to charities later.

The first DAF manager in Singapore and perhaps the most easily accessible one is the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), established in 2008. At CFS, said CEO Catherine Loh, “we aim to inspire and enable strategic philanthropy.” Donors can enjoy an upfront tax deduction when they make their contribution and disburse grants over time. CFS takes care of the administrative work, and it provides advisory and grant-making services. “We work with the donors to understand their philanthropic goals,” Loh said “and help them achieve their objectives. As needs become more complex, we aspire to help our donors to make the leap from ad hoc reactive charitable giving to strategic philanthropy which has clear goals and evidence-informed plans and attempts to tackle the roots of complex problems.” CFS scans Singapore’s charity sector to find worthy programs to fund, conducts due diligence and helps donors disburse grants to charities, social enterprises or ground-up groups.

Measure the Impact 

To ensure your donation has the intended impact, it is important to assess the results of what the charity actually does. You can do it yourself, or a DAF such as CFS can help with impact measurement.

The Tan Chin Tuan Foundation, one of the early movers in impact measurement, provides insights on what to measure. It explains that a donation is a social investment, and each donation should generate a social return in order to be effective. “The outcome would answer questions such as “How far has this donation gone to help, change or improve society?” and “Can the social investment be given differently to achieve a better outcome?”

Rather than just looking at how many people show up for events, for instance, you can look at how the organization changes lives, how it is a catalyst for change in a particular sector, whether it has long-term impact or just organizes events with limited impact, and other outcomes. If they don’t provide information, it may be preferable to look for other beneficiaries.

There is plenty of need in Singapore. By determining your strategy, finding the right beneficiary and measuring what you achieve, you can ensure you have the intended impact.

This article is written by Richard Hartung and is originally published in the November/December 2023 issue of Living In Singapore, a magazine by the American Association of Singapore.

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Events

Giving through the generations

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Increasingly, individuals and family businesses are consciously looking at ways to create positive social impact through philanthropy – but in today’s world, what does creating a legacy mean from divergent perspectives, from individuals to families, from parent to child?

Last November, the CRIB x CFS Legacy and Impact cocktail event brought two prominent families, with extensive histories of giving, together with philanthropists and social capital investors to reflect upon these questions.

Moderated by Patsian Low, the panelists included Richard Eu, Chairman of Eu Yan Sang and his daughter Rebecca; and Keith Chua, Executive Chairman of ABR Holdings (and CFS board member), and his daughter Sharon.

To kick off the evening, Catherine Loh, CEO of the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), reflected upon the challenge facing families today. “When it comes to creating a family legacy, it’s about understanding how to bridge the different concerns and interests of each generation, and trying to align giving to key values,” she commented.

While members of the older generation might be more focused on passing on family values, Catherine observed, the younger generation is keen to explore new approaches to giving. “Many of our next generation donors have a strong social consciousness and feel they don’t need to wait until they’re richer, older and retired to start thinking about giving back,” she said.

Though her family has traditionally supported education and healthcare, Rebecca Eu struck a chord when she shared how she started social enterprise Love, Mei in a vastly different field, helping victims of human trafficking in the Phillipines. “I don’t think legacy is limited to your blood ties,” she proposed, “Instead, legacy moves on with the project you adopt and the people that you work with.”

Reflecting today’s shift towards strategic philanthropy, Sharon Chua shared how her professional experience with philanthropy advisory has empowered her to become a better steward of her family’s wealth. “I learnt how to evaluate impact, the sustainability of projects, and how to forage good partnerships, and that helps with my own family’s philanthropy. I’ve always believed philanthropy is something you need to be personally engaged and committed to,” she shared.

One audience member posed a question to both fathers on how they would manage their children’s future giving decisions to avoid conflict.

Richard espoused offering broad guidelines to one’s children and suggested “storytelling” as a way of passing on family values. “When your family is used to hearing stories, such as why your great grandfather did certain things, it becomes ingrained in your family’s DNA. The legacy you leave behind is not about having a building or place named after you, but the lives that you impact.”

Keith reflected on his role as a trustee for the giving of earlier generations, and proposed older family members play a key role in “setting mechanisms in place” for the next generation.

Keith said, “CFS provided us with an avenue to create a fund to leave something behind for the next generation and share it with our wider family. Under this structure, the funds will carry on for a certain period of time. Once you’ve set certain things in place, you can bring the next generation along for the ride, and trust them with the responsibility when it’s their turn.”

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