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Business Times: As they received, they now give
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Business Times: As they received, they now give

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A snapshot of a newspaper Business Times: As they received, they now give

Education is a force for good and a cause that Trina Liang-Lin and Edmund Lin are passionate about supporting.

Education has been pivotal in both their lives, paving stones to their successful careers. Ms Liang-Lin, 47, is the managing director of investment research consulting firm Templebridge Investments, and married to Mr Lin, 49, partner and founding member of Bain & Company’s Singapore office.

She is known for her passion for women’s empowerment. The past-president of the Singapore Committee for UN Women sits on the boards of several non-profits including the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations and Victoria Junior College. He has devoted time and expertise to the Singapore Management University (SMU), serving on its boards.

“Both of us, we see education as the ultimate leveller. We saw it in both our lives,” says Ms Liang-Lin.

A giving shaped by education
Thinking back to her days as a St Joseph’s Convent schoolgirl, Ms Liang-Lin recalls walking through the school compound each morning, climbing the flight of stairs to the school hall and seeing a bronze plaque bearing the name of philanthropist Tan Kah Kee who had given money to build that hall.

“It made an impression on me,” she says, that someone with no obvious ties to the school and its students would decide to give. For that school still means much to her today. It was where some of her deepest friendships were forged.

That plaque led her to notice similar plaques elsewhere, such as a list of donors and their donations towards the building of what is today’s Singapore Art Museum. The three-digit figures seem insignificant now, yet, helped raise buildings of such significance. “It impressed upon me that for a sum like that you can leave such an important legacy,” says Ms Liang-Lin.

Later, she would receive a scholarship to study abroad – an opportunity that would have been out of reach without a scholarship. “It did change my life,” she says.

Education, and the generosity of others, changed Mr Lin’s life too.

His parents arrived in the United States as struggling graduate students from Taiwan and Hong Kong. But they were shown hospitality and care. Mr Lin remembers one American couple that looked out for his mother, offered their backyard as a venue for his parents’ wedding, and then hosted his family for numerous Thanksgiving dinners.

“From a young age, I always felt that my parents, my brother and I all benefitted from the kindness of others,” he says.

His parents’ education was a gateway to a comfortable life in the U.S. for their family. And eventually, Mr Lin himself was awarded scholarships that secured him a high-quality college education without any financial burden.

How much is enough?
The couple acknowledge that the volunteering they did during their college years – Ms Liang-Lin served at nursing homes while Mr Lin volunteered as a mentor at college and with San Francisco’s Chinatown YMCA – came to a halt when they first joined the workforce in demanding jobs.

Their 20s were intensely focused on work and establishing their careers. “It was really more in our early to mid-30s that we said, okay, we’re at a certain level of accomplishment and comfort. Now is a good time to have a more purposeful life,” says Mr Lin.

One question they had discussed, Ms Liang-Lin says, was: how much is enough? “I think the secret of success in a lifetime is knowing when enough is enough for you.”

“Enough” is not about an amount, nor a specific age. “It is very different from person to person, family to family, but it’s a state of mind – that you feel you are content and it is now time to give back to the society that allowed you to become who you are,” she says.

And so, they began giving their time and resources.

Six years into working life, Ms Liang-Lin helped found the Financial Women’s Association Singapore to provide women in finance with a support network. The association soon searched for charities to support, kicking off her philanthropic work in earnest. Mr Lin too, began contributing his time and expertise, starting with SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business Advisory Board and subsequently joining the SMU Board of Trustees.

And as a couple, they began giving to causes they felt strongly about: education, gender equality, animal welfare and the arts.

The multiplier effect of structured giving
It was while they were looking for a meaningful way to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary that Ms Liang-Lin and Mr Lin began to mull over taking things a step further to formalise their giving.

“We spoke with Mr Teng Ngiek Lian of the Silent Foundation, who encouraged us to start our philanthropy journey now, rather than wait. He also gave us a better sense of what was needed to set up a private foundation – staffing, resources, expertise and governance,” says Ms Liang-Lin.

They also had a serious chat with Laurence Lien, chairman of the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), and eventually decided to set up the Lin Foundation, a fund managed by CFS, with an initial six-figure sum.

“As busy professionals and younger philanthropists, CFS saves us the work and resources needed to set up our Lin Foundation. CFS provides us with philanthropy management and grant-making expertise, ensuring that our grants are effective and meaningful,” says Ms Liang-Lin.

Other draws were how CFS works with a broad range of charities, offers donors a structured charitable vehicle that provides relevant tax deductions on donations, and, importantly, offers the flexibility to grow their fund over time.

Mr Lin cites the Lin Foundation’s scholarship for SMU students lacking the finances to pursue a semester abroad, as one initiative that could be scaled up. “CFS helped us with the selection of candidates, disbursement, administration, etcetera. I can imagine, with the help of CFS, expanding on homegrown initiatives like this, scaling them up.”

They may have chosen to set up their foundation at a relatively young age, but Ms Liang-Lin believes they are a part of a growing trend.

“Increasingly, people are realising that they don’t have to wait till they are older and richer to give back and make an impact. The proliferation of new media platforms is reshaping attitudes and approaches to giving. There is a growing awareness of social problems, and how these can be tackled by contributing funding support, knowledge and expertise,” she says.

To Mr Lin, giving adds much to his life. “Giving creates for me a lot of meaning in my life. The pursuit of economic goals will only take you so far. The time one spends giving back to a community creates great energy. Yes, it takes time. But this is time that creates more energy and the capacity to do more.”

And, he likes being able to give together with his wife. “We both, professionally, have quite a lot going on. But this is one thing we can share, do together, and find great pride and meaning in.”

Source: Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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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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Events

CFS Donor Learning Trip Series: The transformative power of early intervention by the Dyslexia Association of Singapore

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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.

Imagine not being able to read because the letters and words are mixed up. Imagine struggling to spell or write, being labelled slow and falling behind at school. These are the realities students with dyslexia face, realities that empathetic donors from CFS got to better understand during a visit to the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS). 

“It was an eye-opening experience that left a lasting impact on us,” said Mr Sim Willing, President of the IFPAS Love Fund. The IFPAS Love Fund is one of four donor-advised funds (DAFs) that joined our Donor Learning Trip in July 2023 to the DAS Learning Centre at Serangoon Central. The social service organisation provides dyslexia screenings, psychological assessments and remediation. 

Accessing Quality Education is one of CFS’s five focal areas for grantmaking, where we curate programmes that ensure everyone has access to quality, holistic education and opportunities for them to function and thrive academically.

During the visit, donors had the valuable opportunity to hear from and talk with DAS Vice-Chairman Mr Kevin Kwek, DAS CEO Mr Lee Siang, Senior Specialist Psychologist Ms Scarlett Leong and other staff members.

One key takeaway for our donors was that dyslexia is more common than they thought. Dyslexia is a neurological condition where the brain is wired to handle information differently. It is lifelong and tends to be hereditary. Studies indicate that it affects around 10% of the population, 4% severely. 

In Singapore, there are an estimated 20,000 students with dyslexia severe enough to need intervention, says Mr Lee. Children with dyslexia, moreover, may also have co-occurring difficulties. These include problems with memory, attention, time management and sequencing.  DAS currently serves around 3,500 preschool, primary and secondary school students across 12 centres. 

Poverty significantly compounds the challenge for students with learning difficulties. Undiagnosed children who slip through the cracks find it hard to break out of poverty. As Mr Lee points out, “International research suggests that 30-60% of prison populations may have dyslexia. Specialist intervention can help break a vicious cycle for those with special needs.” At DAS, 52% of its students come from lower-income families. This is where intervention—supported by donor generosity— can be transformative. 

Intervention requires significant resources. DAS gets some funding for screenings but none for psychological assessments. Such assessments are crucial to ascertain if a child has a learning difficulty, its severity and to identify areas of learning needs. Each assessment must be carried out by a highly trained psychologist and takes considerable time, making it costly. This can put it out of reach of the less well-off.

To bridge this gap, DAS collaborates with like-minded partners like CFS. For the charity, CFS has been critical in bringing in donors such as the IPFAS Love Fund. Their grants directly help children from lower-income families access this much-needed service.

IFPAS set up the IFPAS Love Fund in 2017, choosing CFS for its strong track record in managing charitable funds. “A dedicated advisor at CFS takes the time to understand our giving goals and guides us to make well-informed decisions on where to direct resources for maximum effect. Administration is also easy as CFS handles legal and financial compliance, fund management, and grant distribution,” adds Mr Sim

As our relationship with CFS has grown, so has the depth and breadth of our giving. Over time, we have gained a better understanding of social issues and community needs, and CFS has played a pivotal role in keeping us updated on emerging trends and impactful projects. This ongoing learning process has led to the evolution of our giving strategies, allowing us to be more strategic, responsive, and effective in addressing the changing needs of the community.

Dyslexia is a hidden disability but with timely intervention, many can go on to contribute significantly to society. Through targeted and thoughtful philanthropy, we can extend professional support to more children with dyslexia, allowing them to reach their full potential and lead more fulfilling lives.  

CFS assists charities and their underprivileged communities by connecting them with donors seeking to support causes and crucial needs that resonate with them deeply.

To find out more about the causes we support, please visit www.cf.org.sg/what-we-support/.

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News

Singapore Tatler: Kith and Kin

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Family relaxing on couch, on a magazine. (Singapore Tatler Upfront)

The family behind Naumi Hotels and Rang Mahal Restaurants, Surya, Ritu and Gaurang Jhunjhnuwala, shares how its late patriarch Shyam Sundar Jhunjhnuwala’s spirit of entrepreneurship and giving lives on through the generations with the S S Jhunjhuwala Charity Fund established with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS). With philanthropic advice from CFS, the family continues its patriarch’s legacies and focuses on education, welfare initiatives, as well as health-related issues for underprivileged women and children in Singapore. Read more.

Courtesy of Singapore Tatler, February 2019

Speaking after the association’s annual general meeting at Kallang Netball Centre on Friday, Liang-Lin, a fund manager for a US$7 billion (S$9.5 billion) firm focused on green real estate investments in Asia, hopes to bring her expertise to the table and increase the amount of financial support for Singapore netball during her four-year term.

The 53-year-old took over from Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jessica Tan, who has been the association’s president since 2012. Tan had reached the end of her tenure, which saw the national team make several breakthroughs, including a gold medal at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.

Liang-Lin holds various appointments such as being Singapore’s representative to the G20 for Women appointed by the Ministry of Finance. She is also a board member of the Community Foundation of Singapore, which promotes philanthropy through facilitating the establishment of charitable funds.

She said: “One of the things that is overlooked when we look at philanthropy and fundraising is that sport is not really part of the things that people will automatically think about.

“Less than one per cent of the funds that we raise in the Community Foundation goes to sport. The values that sport brings need to be amplified more, so that corporates… see the need to support sport. I think that link needs to be stronger so that we get not just more corporate sponsors, but also they can come in for longer periods of time.”

While national agency Sport Singapore provides funding to netball, corporates can also do their part, she added.

She said: “If we play our cards correctly, we can get corporates to come in and hopefully support them, to see the wider purpose of sport and bring the nation together.”

She also hopes the association can be proactive in looking for financial support, adding: “We must work more strategically with governing bodies on educating corporates on the importance of really supporting sport.”

The former netball player also made references to the recent Women’s World Cup for football, noting the “ability for a game that focuses on women in the sport to bring global attention”.

She said: “I want that kind of trajectory of the limelight going to women’s sport. I think that is a trend that will continue, and I hope that netball will be part of that trend.”

Meanwhile, Tan was satisfied that she has achieved the three objectives she had set out to do when she came on board – to improve quality of play, build a fan base and create an ecosystem which involves coaches and players.

The 57-year-old added: “As much as I do feel sad about having to step down, but at the same time, leadership renewal is very important.

“I think Trina will help to galvanise the team together, and bring a lot of new perspectives and quality to the association.”

Join us in making an impact on Singapore sports scene! Reach out to us for more information.

Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction

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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

Coutts million dollar donor report 2015

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Coutts Logo

The Coutts Million Dollar Report produced in association with the Community Foundation of Singapore tracks trends in donations of $1 million and above made by individuals, foundations and corporations in Singapore and around the world. The findings of the 2015 report provide valuable insight into major giving over the course of 2014. While the combined figures did not match those of the previous year, the overall message of major philanthropy remains a positive one, with education being a popular recipient of donations across the world. In addition to presenting and analysing the findings, the report also includes case studies of million dollar donors including our Board member Keith Chua

Speaking after the association’s annual general meeting at Kallang Netball Centre on Friday, Liang-Lin, a fund manager for a US$7 billion (S$9.5 billion) firm focused on green real estate investments in Asia, hopes to bring her expertise to the table and increase the amount of financial support for Singapore netball during her four-year term.

The 53-year-old took over from Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jessica Tan, who has been the association’s president since 2012. Tan had reached the end of her tenure, which saw the national team make several breakthroughs, including a gold medal at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.

Liang-Lin holds various appointments such as being Singapore’s representative to the G20 for Women appointed by the Ministry of Finance. She is also a board member of the Community Foundation of Singapore, which promotes philanthropy through facilitating the establishment of charitable funds.

She said: “One of the things that is overlooked when we look at philanthropy and fundraising is that sport is not really part of the things that people will automatically think about.

“Less than one per cent of the funds that we raise in the Community Foundation goes to sport. The values that sport brings need to be amplified more, so that corporates… see the need to support sport. I think that link needs to be stronger so that we get not just more corporate sponsors, but also they can come in for longer periods of time.”

While national agency Sport Singapore provides funding to netball, corporates can also do their part, she added.

She said: “If we play our cards correctly, we can get corporates to come in and hopefully support them, to see the wider purpose of sport and bring the nation together.”

She also hopes the association can be proactive in looking for financial support, adding: “We must work more strategically with governing bodies on educating corporates on the importance of really supporting sport.”

The former netball player also made references to the recent Women’s World Cup for football, noting the “ability for a game that focuses on women in the sport to bring global attention”.

She said: “I want that kind of trajectory of the limelight going to women’s sport. I think that is a trend that will continue, and I hope that netball will be part of that trend.”

Meanwhile, Tan was satisfied that she has achieved the three objectives she had set out to do when she came on board – to improve quality of play, build a fan base and create an ecosystem which involves coaches and players.

The 57-year-old added: “As much as I do feel sad about having to step down, but at the same time, leadership renewal is very important.

“I think Trina will help to galvanise the team together, and bring a lot of new perspectives and quality to the association.”

Join us in making an impact on Singapore sports scene! Reach out to us for more information.

Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction

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”。

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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

#MyGivingJourney x Trina Liang-Lin: Investing in a sustainable future 

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#MyGivingJourney is a series by CFS to celebrate inspiring women and their work in the philanthropy sector. We are proud to feature Trina Liang-Lin, Managing Director at Templebridge Investments and Board of Director at CFS. 

Trina had a back to nature, farm to table experience growing up. Right up to the late 80s, her father’s family-owned farms in Lim Chu Kang, raising chickens, ducks and cultivating vegetables. That gave her a front row seat to the benefits of producing our own food and using natural resources thoughtfully.  

Today, Trina is investing her time and resources to push eco-consciousness to the top of our agenda. In November 2021, she led the launch of Women in Sustainability and Environment (WISE), the first women’s society in Singapore to focus concerted gender action towards Singapore’s Green Plan 2030 and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 12. 

WISE hopes to educate and empower a community of women who, in their roles as consumers, business owners and professionals, can move the needle on creating a greener world. This will be done through lectures, mentorships and awards. “Climate change disproportionately affects women and girls around the world so it is important for women to be represented in eco leadership circles and in green economy jobs. We need greater participation, inclusiveness and visibility of key female stakeholders in sustainability and climate advocacy,” says Trina, who works for a US$5 billion global fund where she focuses on clean energy investments in Southeast Asia. 

Trina has been elbow-deep in social and community work for much of her professional life. The causes she champions are decidedly diverse: she has given her time and expertise to uplift women, the arts, education and animal welfare. She helped found the Financial Women’s Association Singapore, which offers women in finance a support network, and was a past-President of UN Women (Singapore). She is currently Singapore’s representative to the G20 for Women.  

Her giving journey has seen her serve on the boards of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy CentreSingapore Council of Women’s Organisations and Sentosa Development Corporation. In line with her passion for conserving wild species and their habitat, she currently volunteers on the boards of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF-Singapore) and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. That’s not all: Trina is also a board member of Victoria Junior College and the Singapore Repertory Theatre.  

For their 20th wedding anniversary in 2016, Trina and her husband Edmund Lin established a foundation to give back in a more strategic and effective way. They explored different avenues but opted to go with CFS as it works closely with over 400 charities across a wide spectrum and can establish philanthropic funds seamlessly and quickly. Their Lin Foundation has supported causes that resonate with them, such as education, where they fund scholarships at Singapore Management University.   

“We decided to start giving back relatively early as we want to start making an impact now rather than later,” says Trina. “This is a long-term commitment for us and with CFS expertly guiding us in managing a foundation and making grants, our giving is optimised and can be scaled up further.” 

Begin your own journey of giving with CFS. Read more stories about the #MyGivingJourney series here. 

This article was written by Sunita Sue Leng, a former financial analyst and journalist, who believes that the written word can be a force for good. She hopes to someday write something worth plagiarising. 

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