News
Around 7,000 school children in need of support for meals
wavy line banner

News

News

Around 7,000 school children in need of support for meals

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
Children happily sitting on the floor, smiling and radiating joy.

A four-week ‘circuit breaker’ is the latest challenge to hit Singapore, as a pre-emptive strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19. As students transition to over three weeks of learning at home, about 7,000 children will miss access to food they would normally get in school, compounding difficulties in continuing their education at home.

As mentioned in Parliament by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat on 7 April 2020, CFS today bolstered efforts to generate support for the Sayang Sayang Fund (SSF). Donations to this fund will complement the work of local public health, non-profit and government entities with emergency support.

CFS now seeks another $3 million for the SSF, to meet evolving and urgent needs of the community. This includes the launch of Recess@Home, a meal programme that will provide disadvantaged students with support for their meals and ensure that children do not go hungry.

Speaking on the SSF, Chief Executive Officer of the Community Foundation of Singapore, Ms Catherine Loh shared, “During these tough times, we hope that the Sayang Sayang Fund will be able to provide immediate and longer-term support not just for the frontline workers but also the vulnerable groups like low-income families and elderly. With programmes such as Recess@Home, we want to help the children whose families are already dealing with many other difficulties due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Community Foundation of Singapore and the Sayang Sayang Fund remain sensitive to the needs of the community and we urge everyone to rally together to overcome this challenging period.”

CFS raised $1.1 million earlier after the launch of SSF in February. However, the increasing severity of the COVID-19 situation and more adverse impact on the economy and society have seen a surge in the demand for charity services.

Donors wishing to donate can do so via PayNow or visit our SSF campaign at giving.sg. Should you require any assistance or if you would like to set up your personal giving campaign in support of the SSF, please visit https://www.cf.org.sg/ or contact us at contactus@cf.org.sg.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor

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”。

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Stories Of Impact

Life after winning the 2020 Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award: Natalie Koh’s pursuit of a career in musical excellence

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
a woman playing a violin

Winning the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award in 2020 was a pleasant surprise for talented violinist Natalie Koh, who was not usually recognised for her solo performances and had to prepare for the Award’s audition just after last year’s circuit breaker without any formal instruction.

“I am deeply honoured to have received the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award in 2020. Violin playing has always been something that I am very passionate about, although my growth and achievements have not always been a given,” says Natalie. 

“A lot of conscientious and diligent work was put into moulding myself into the musician that I am currently and that I am proud to be.”

Since then, the budding musician has kept herself busy and forged determinedly ahead in her musical career. These included performing in digital concert recordings, teaching the violin at Forte Musicademy as a private violin teacher, and engaging with the special needs community through various community art activities.

Apart from keeping a hectic schedule as a performer, Natalie also spends much time imparting her love of music to the next generation of budding musicians — serving as a Teaching Assistant in her Alma Mater, the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, and as an Assistant Director for classical music concert recordings and productions by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, alongside other local organisations.

The promising young musician was also able to present her solo recital at the Awards, for which she was extremely excited and thankful for, as her graduation recital was put off last year due to the pandemic’s restrictions. “Overall, I would say that my recital was a success, and I hope that I fared well as a representative on behalf of the Award and the music community,” Natalie recalls with pride.

The Award’s prize money has enabled Natalie to realise her dreams of going overseas to attain a Master’s in Violin Performance, which will broaden her horizons as a performing violinist, music educator and community artist. She hopes to take the experience and knowledge gained from the two years abroad and expand her musical practice upon her return to Singapore.

Natalie recognises that living and studying in Chicago will prove to be expensive, but with the $10,000 award money, she will be able to defray some of her living costs. With the reduced financial burden, the young musician will be able to focus on learning to the fullest of her abilities in the States.

The Goh Soon Tioe Award has supported yet another promising young musician in paving her way to a brighter future towards a career in music, and adding another valuable gem to the flourishing music scene in Singapore.

“I am deeply thankful for the recognition and the support from the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award and the Community Foundation of Singapore. This Award has raised my profile as an emerging musician in Singapore, and I sincerely hope that I can be one to shape and grow the classical music scene in Singapore,” says Natalie.

Read and learn more about Natalie’s first steps into music and how she grew to become the talented musician that she is here.

If you would like to contribute towards the arts or support causes that you are passionate about, please visit our website at https://www.cf.org.sg/

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Opinion

Speech by Chairman Laurence Lien at CFS’s 10th anniversary celebrations

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
Chairman Laurence Lien Speaking in front of the stage

Thank you all for joining us in this celebration.

CFS was first incorporated on 8 September 2008; hence our 10th birthday celebrations now. Lehman Brother collapsed on 15 September 2008, so we are also commemorating 10 years of the Global Financial Crisis.

I spoke of how we were born in bad times at our Chinese New Year luncheon in March. I will not repeat what I said, except to emphasise again how difficult it was to start up. It was difficult to hire, because we were a start-up doing something novel here. Donors didn’t want to talk to us. And there were even people in the sector who did not want us to exist, as they saw us as competition for funds.

Surviving those early days was a minor miracle. I was there at the start so I have my war stories. Frankly, before I became the CEO of NVPC in 2008, the first job that then Chairman of NVPC, Stanley Tan, offered me was not the NVPC one, but to be the first CEO of CFS.  I rejected it, and took the NVPC one instead. But little did I know that after the first six months, I was to do both jobs, and became the acting CEO for nearly four years.

So there we were at the start helping donors give strategically, bridging them with charities, providing donor advice, grantmaking expertise and back end administration. What we still do today.

Writing a cheque is not difficult at all; but giving well is. In my years at NVPC, I kept hearing from people that they wanted to give, but did not know how. They didn’t know where the social needs were, or how to assess charities and programmes. So we helped them, cut out the hassle and thereby increasing the joy of giving.

But being a good idea is not enough. People had to believe that we could do what we said we would. We spent the best of our first five years just building credibility. And 10 years on, I am very proud of what we have built.

Catherine has already mentioned the numbers. Let me just include two more. One, at least three of our donors have gone on to form their own foundations. This to me is a sign that we have helped these donors learn and mature, and we can let them go on to do greater things. Two, when we conducted a comprehensive ‘Donor and Grantee Perception Survey’ a few years back, we had very high donor satisfaction ratings – with 83% satisfaction rates and 93% saying that they would recommend CFS services to others. But satisfaction among our grantee charities was even better: 94% rated CFS as efficient and effective. This shows that we are able to be close to the charities and help them bridge effectively to our donors.

As someone who has been so actively involved in the growing CFS, I am extremely proud of what we have achieved in these 10 years.

To come this far, there are many people I would like to thank, especially those who were there during our early years:

  • Our first Chairman Stanley Tan who not only was the architect and founding chair of CFS for its first five years till 22 Aug 2013, but he was also single-handedly responsible for bringing in the first $15 million in pledges.
  • The other founding board members – J Y Pillay, David Lim, Mary Ann Tsao, Kwek Siew Jin. As a young start-up, donors would typically ask who is on the board. When we mention J Y Pillay, they would immediately say, okay, I know I can trust you.
  • All staff who have helped make CFS’s first 1,000 days, without whom, we could not possibly be successful I would like to single out two amongst us today. Yvonne Yu who joined us in January 2009 and Joyce Teo who joined us in March 2009.
  • All our donors, particularly our founding donors who gave us a chance like Stanley Tan and MILK Fund, William and Mary Bird, Simon Cheong and UBS. We also have in our midst Yeoh Keng Joon, Vivien Goh, Changi Airport Group, Ascendas-Singbridge and the family of former President S R Nathan, who have all been strong supporters of CFS for many years. In fact, Mr Nathan officially launched CFS in February 2009, and subsequently trusted us with his S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund which is now over $10 million in size and has helped over 1000 students.
  • Our international advisory council members – Clare Brooks, Eileen Heisman, Anne Boyd and Bob Edgar. These people had so much experience, and they were incredibly generous to give us time to share and guide us. Whenever we had a difficult question, we would shoot it to one of them, and we would almost always get a detailed and insightful reply within 24 hours. They were simply amazing.

And the many others who came along and played their invaluable role in making us the success that we are today. Thank you all of you. This has truly been a community effort, and I am privileged to have been part of that journey.

What would the next 10 years look like for CFS? Moving forward, I believe there is still much work there needs to be done. I think CFS has only reached out to a small fraction of our addressable market. CFS has grown rapidly, but the number of people with significant means and who want to give strategically have increased substantially.

What is my own vision for CFS in 2028?

One, that we be at the forefront of community philanthropy, that we build this sense that the many communities in Singapore can come together to solve our own problems, without always looking to the government. I hope that in 2028, we will see mini community foundations in our neighbourhoods, in places like Toa Payoh, Queenstown and Punggol.

Two, that we have democratised giving. Giving is not only for the rich; everyone should and can give. I hope to see young adults start donor advised funds with us, at smaller amounts of commitment, and our collective funds grow with widespread contributions.

Three, I hope to see CFS raise $1 billion in donor funds, maybe not in 10 years’ time, but at some point in the future.  I believe we are at an inflection point. As we grow legacy giving, we are planting seeds for growth that will bear fruit in the future. I hope to encourage Singaporeans to give when we are alive and able to enjoy giving.

But this is my own vision. Over the next few months, we will be transitioning to a new chair.  We already know who the new chair is but will announce only a little later. So the new chair, together with the board, will develop and own the vision for the next 10 years. I can only step back and cheer them on.

All I know is this. CFS has come so far. Moving forward, CFS is well-positioned to continue to grow from strength to strength. We count on you present today, to continue journeying with us, to grow this community of givers. We all are part owners of CFS because we are all the part of the Singapore community. Be engaged. Broaden and deepen our community. Give more. And invite me back in 2028.

Thank you.

Laurence Lien
Chairman
Community Foundation of Singapore

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor

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”。

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Stories Of Impact

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

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
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

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Stories Of Impact

The Spooner Road Project – Reaching children and youths at the margins

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
a group of adults and children posing for a picture

For vulnerable children and youths from disadvantaged families, daily life is often filled with myriad challenges. Many ‘troubled’ children and youths become at risk for delinquency and fail to complete school. Naturally, most of them don’t realise their full potential and may suffer from poor self-esteem or mental health issues.

As one of the few social work agencies with an added competency in educational psychology, Students Care Service (SCS) has an established track record of tackling issues faced by children and youths living at the margins. Today, it reaches over 6,500 children and youths each year through its centres and intervention programmes.

The unique challenges faced by one community along Spooner Road captured SCS’s attention, and led them to start the Spooner Road Project in mid-2015. At a recent site visit, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) and other partners observed the dedication and efforts that are steadily impacting the Spooner Road community.

Located in an enclave of public rented flats in central Singapore, the Spooner Road centre is housed amidst a transient, vulnerable community of over 300 families. Many families often arrive here after losing their home due to financial issues. The physical isolation of these flats, which once served as the dormitories of railway workers, means everyday resources from healthcare to Family Service Centres (FSCs) are not easily accessible here. To help alleviate the difficulties faced by these families, CFS’s donor UBS funded a Foodshare programme where packed groceries were delivered to their doorsteps.

Many of the young living here struggle to access resources to support them as they learn and grow, exacerbated by the lack of spaces for play and constructive supervision by their caregivers.

To address the issues faced in this complex environment, the Spooner Road Centre offers a conducive, homely space for the young to spend time. The centre runs a range of supervised play sessions, study skills sessions, student football and special events, helping to keep these children and youths engaged in positive activities and decrease their risk of delinquency.

Another key area of impact is addressing the school readiness of the children living here. With some falling as far as two years behind their peers, the team at SCS identifies candidates for its Reading Odyssey Programme to help increase reading ability. SCS Social worker Tok Kheng Leng highlights the importance of these timely interventions, “When children first go to school already lagging behind their peers, it’s difficult for them to catch up. One side effect is they start to misbehave. It’s then a downward spiral of being labeled as deviant child.”

In early 2018, the team is looking forward to further bolster their existing efforts in improving school readiness. It’s looking to pilot a new programme, based on recent research, to empower students from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve academic success. As Centre Director Lee Seng Meng explains, “We’re excited to be piloting these new strategies. If we can garner positive results, it would be very helpful when we work with other communities facing similar challenges.”

Photo: Students Care Service.

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Trending Stories

Scroll to Top