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CFS Receives National Award – COVID-19 Resilience Certificate
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CFS Receives National Award – COVID-19 Resilience Certificate

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National Awards COVID-19 Investee: Celebrating outstanding achievements during the pandemic.

CFS has been awarded the COVID-19 Resilience Certificate, which recognises the contributions of organisations that played a vital role in addressing the challenges posed by COVID-19. Our CEO, Catherine Loh, received the award at the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Family National Day COVID-19 Investiture on October 10, 2023.

How We Pooled Resources for Singapore

As COVID-19 cases began to rise in February 2020, a member of the CFS board was deeply disturbed by reports of mistreatment towards healthcare workers. Anticipating the imminent health and economic challenges that lay ahead, CFS quickly recognised that action was needed.

“On February 11, 2020, we launched a Community Impact Fund which we named the “Sayang Sayang Fund”,” said Catherine Loh, CEO. “We felt this was the best and fastest way to respond to emerging needs as the crisis unfolded. It provided an easy way for donors to support those in need while CFS worked with sector partners to determine the type of support each community needed.”

The amount of support that poured in was heartening. We attained our initial target of $500,000 in just 10 days, and ultimately received $9.7 million from over 5,000 donors.

Thanks to our generous donors, we were able to collaborate with charities, ministries and social service agencies to deliver urgent assistance to those in need.

Making a Positive Impact on Affected Communities

In response to rapidly shifting circumstances, CFS acted through a wide array of initiatives and programmes, disbursing $9.7 million to aid 401,000 beneficiaries and 276 community organisations between 2020 to 2023. Here’s a glimpse into our efforts:

Healthcare Workers: Our initial action was to lift the spirits of nurses, doctors and ancillary healthcare workers by providing taxi vouchers and care packages sponsored by donations from the public and transport companies, ComfortDelGro, Gojek and Grab.

Elderly: When social distancing measures were mandated, the Sayang Sayang Fund (SSF) provided funds to several charity programmes to ensure the well-being of the elderly. These included educating them on infection control, reducing loneliness among elderly living alone, and ensuring low-income seniors had access to food despite disruptions in the supply chain.

Students: During school closure and home-based learning, students on financial assistance lost access to subsidised school meals. In partnership with the Ministry of Education, the SSF supplemented their allowances to ensure they continued to receive proper nutrition.

Migrant Workers: During the circuit breaker period, the SSF distributed mobile phone top-ups to migrant workers in lockdown who had insufficient balances in their accounts, so they could stay in contact with their families.

Rough Sleepers: Funds were disbursed to AMKFSC Community Services, Good News Community Services, Methodist Welfare Services, and New Hope Community Services to establish more shelters and assist in relocating rough sleepers to safe accommodations.

Learn more about the Sayang Sayang Fund.

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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

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

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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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Stories Of Impact

Karim Family Foundation: Donor-Advised Fund Raises $200,000 to Support Local Sports Champion Loh Kean Yew 印尼富商林益洲家族基金拨20万元奖励骆建佑

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picture of loh kean yew holding medal with another person

In December 2021, 24-year-old Loh Kean Yew became the first Singaporean to win the Badminton World Federation World Championships in Huelva, Spain. 

With his unyielding fighting spirit and humble personality, Loh took the spotlight and became a sporting legend. Loh’s commitment to his sports attracted the attention of many – including those around the world and region.

Underscoring his rising popularity in Indonesia, the Karim Family Foundation, set up by the Indonesian-Chinese tycoon Bachtiar Karim’s family with The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), awarded Loh with a donation of $200,000 for winning the Badminton World Federation World Championships. 

The Karim Family Foundation wanted to congratulate Loh, now ranked as the world’s number 15 in men’s singles, for his win and hoped that the cash would motivate him to continue pursuing his sporting dreams. 

The foundation contacted the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) through the Singapore Press Holding Media Trust’s Chinese Media Group and under the stewardship of CFS.

Bachtiar Karim is the Group Executive Chairman of Singapore-headquartered oil conglomerate, Musim Mas. Musim Mas is an integrated palm oil firm run by Bachtiar Karim with his brothers, Burhan and Bahari. In 2021, according to Forbes, the Karim family had a cumulative net worth of around US$3.5 billion (S$4.7 billion), ranked 10th richest in Indonesia.

Through the decades, the Karim Family Foundation has donated to local charities and has had a focus on sports development, arts and culture, education and mental health sectors. The businessman is known for his philanthropy, having gifted S$2.27 million to his alma mater, the National University of Singapore, to start a professorship in sustainability in its business school in 2010 and another S$5 million to various causes, including the Singapore General Hospital and the Alzheimer’s Disease Association, in 2020. Despite his justified bragging rights, the businessman himself prefers to keep a low profile with his philanthropic work.

On behalf of the Karim Family Foundation, Chayadi Karim, son of Bachtiar Karim and the main manager of the family fund, told Lianhe Zaobao: “We have always believed in giving back to society. The purpose of the Karim Family Foundation Fund is to support all kinds of meaningful social activities. This time we want to reward Loh Kean Yew, and we hope that youths will set him as a role model. I think Loh Kean Yew is amazing. Badminton competitions are very fierce, in addition to skills, winning also depends on strong willpower. I have observed this young man for a long time, and I admire his never-say-die fighting spirit.”

Chayadi Karim expressed his and his family’s support for Loh in nine words: ‘play badminton well, play badminton well, play badminton well (好打球,打好球,打球好)’, hoping that Loh will continue to give his best and play well without worries, bringing back more glory for himself. “It also proves that it is good to play sports, not just a hobby, but also as a career. It inspires more young people to devote themselves to sports, so that the standard of sports in Singapore will continue to improve,” Chayadi Karim adds.

Bachtiar’s daughter, Cindy Karim, another key administrator of the fund, said: “Our family is inspired by Loh Kean Yew’s tenacity, and it is also touching that he remains humble after such an impressive achievement. Through the Community Foundation of Singapore, we will try my best to inspire more youths to be future ‘Loh Kean Yew’s in Singapore.”

Commenting on the award, Loh who is currently playing in India for the India Open, told Lianhe Zaobao: “After I won the World Championships, well-wishers and sponsors such as Mr Karim sent me many rewards and encouragement, and I feel touched and immense gratitude for what I received. For athletes, this is a recognition of our hard work and sacrifice. Giving my best for my country has always been my number one priority. Knowing that there are so many generous people out there who are very supportive and encouraging local athletes is great and very important to me. There are so many people who have helped me in my life that I can’t thank them individually. I would not be on the podium without the support and encouragement of so many.”

Lawrence Leow, President of SBA, said: “We are deeply grateful to Mr Karim for his care and support for Kean Yew. Kean Yew’s performance on the court has inspired the imagination of a new generation of badminton fans and conveys an important message. Even though we are a small country, with the support of the many, we can still achieve good results.”

The Badminton World Championships is an event that only counts points and does not offer bonuses. The competition is not part of the “Major Games Award Programme” of the Singapore Olympic Council and therefore, Loh Kean Yew did not receive any monetary rewards despite his glorious return home.

On top of the latest S$200,000 awarded to Loh by the Karim Family Foundation, SBA revealed last week that Loh has been rewarded with an amount over S$250,000, combining a donation from local business people and public crowdfunding. Chinese sports brand Li-Ning, a sponsor of SBA, is also negotiating a long-term sponsorship contract for Loh, worth over six figures.

Previously, five local businesspeople in Singapore also raised S$50,000 for Loh after he was conferred the title of world champion and awarded the gold medal. The five businesspeople are Ang Kiam Meng, executive director and group chief executive officer (CEO) of Jumbo Group, Daryl Neo, co-founder and CEO of DC Frontiers, Dora Hoan, group CEO and co-chairman of Best World International, Eugene Ang, managing director of JK Technology, and Wei Chan, managing director of Pine Garden’s Cake. 

Subsequently, Chan, who led the first fundraising, set up another donation fund called the ‘Low Kean Yew Encouragement Fund’ via Ray of Hope earlier this year to allow contributions from the members of the public to contribute. Chan started the new initiative after many members of the public approached him hoping to show their gratitude in a similar way. Collectively, at the time of this writing, the two funds have raised over S$210,000. 

If you too, would like to support a meaningful cause of your choice, please read more here.

This translated article was adapted from the feature within Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报 here. Source: Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报 © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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News

Sayang Sayang Fund – Let’s do more together!

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Healthcare professionals in scrubs engaged in a variety of tasks.

The Sayang Sayang Fund has reached our initial target of $500,000!

A big thank you to our generous donors, who helped us reach this amount in less than seven days.

From the $500,000 raised, CFS will be distributing transport vouchers to healthcare institutions from 19 February 2020. Grants will also be distributed to charities that help disadvantaged individuals who have been further challenged by the heightened precautionary measures, such as vulnerable seniors and low income families.

The heart-warming outpouring of love and support has motivated us to extend our target to raise another $150,000, to support healthcare professionals like home care nurses, as well as those in nursing homes and shelters. The money will be used to appreciate these equally selfless heroes, who are committed to continuing their services for the vulnerable.

Launched on 11 February, CFS has designated the Sayang Sayang Fund a community impact fund that will support the vulnerable in our community during times of national crises.

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.

Opinion

Four critical gaps in improving employability for all

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Four people in green shirts working on soil in a gardening project.

A person in a wheelchair with much to give. A stay-at-home mum who misses working. An ex-offender who yearns for a second chance. A senior forced to retire early. These are some examples of people who want to work. They believe they can contribute to society. They also deserve the basic right to work and should not be denied from doing so.

Yet, many of them face difficulties in securing decent jobs. In recent years, the gig economy opened up opportunities for individuals facing barriers to traditional employment or those who need flexibility. However, gig work comes with its own set of challenges, such as unstable income and a lack of employment benefits.

Through our years on the ground partnering with local charities, social service agencies and research organisations, we at CFS have identified four groups – ex-inmates, persons with disabilities (PWDs), seniors, and women – that face challenges in securing gainful employment due to bias, unfair practices, or lack of accessibility. This, in turn, can lock them and their families in a vicious cycle of hardship. 

Employment needs to become more inclusive and provide fair opportunities to everyone. In Singapore, workplace anti-discrimination guidelines are being enshrined into law, but there is still more work to be done. This is where philanthropy can make a significant difference. At CFS, we connect donors with charities and programmes that uplift the employability of marginalised people.

We work with charities that build awareness of individual and structural barriers in the workplace and advocate for change. They are also empowering disenfranchised job seekers by providing skills training, job matching, mentoring and more. Read on to learn about the realities faced by disadvantaged people and how you can help.

Building Disability-Inclusive Workplaces 

About 15 per cent of the global population, or over one billion individuals, have a disability. This makes persons with disabilities (PWDs) one of the world’s biggest minority groups (World Bank, 2023). In Singapore, only 30 per cent of PWDs of working age are employed. The government hopes to raise this figure to 40 per cent by 2030 (The Straits Times, 17 August 2022). Barriers include the prevailing bias that disabled people are less productive and troublesome to accommodate in the workplace.  

Organisations like the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) and SG Enable, an agency for disability, are striving to change attitudes and help employers create disability-friendly workplaces. Companies are also encouraged to open up work-from-home opportunities to those who are less mobile. Hiring more PWDs and giving them meaningful careers will translate to overall gains in labour force productivity for Singapore going forward.  

Attracting Female Talent to Close the Gender Gap 

Better education and changes in attitudes towards gender-based roles have paved the way for more women to have careers. Between 2012 and 2021, Singapore’s female labour force participation grew from 57.7 per cent to 64.2 per cent. However, it still remains lower than men’s at 77.2 per cent (Statista). 

The gender gap emerges when women enter their 30s. This is typically the age when they assume more care responsibilities (Ministry of Manpower, 2022). Women continue to bear the brunt of caregiving and domestic responsibilities while juggling work. The gap, unfortunately, widens over time. Taking time off work can complicate re-entry into the workplace, creating knock-on effects throughout a women’s career. 

Yet, there is a clear business imperative to leveraging female talent. Gender diversity benefits companies as women often contribute different skills and perspectives, boosting growth, innovation, and productivity (International Monetary Fund, 2018).

While a growing number of organisations are waking up to this, there is much more room for female-friendly recruitment and retention practices. This includes flexible working arrangements, opportunities for progression and leadership, and help for mothers returning to work.

Reintegrating Ex-offenders into the Economy  

Ex-offenders are among the most marginalised and stigmatised people in our community. They face unique challenges in finding and sustaining gainful employment. Just 53 per cent of ex-offenders found jobs three months after their release – a figure that has stayed stagnant between 2017 and 2019 (Ministry of Home Affairs, 2020).

One reason is that ex-offenders who spend long periods in jail may not have the skills that are in demand, such as digital expertise. Moreover, with their limited social networks, they tend to be disconnected from market trends, knowledge of training opportunities and subsidies. That instantly puts them on a weaker footing.

Progress has been made through the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Employment Preparation Scheme, which allows ex-offenders to attend training and educational activities outside of prison during their sentences. But more can be done to help ex-offenders avoid a vicious circle. Without good jobs and long-term employment prospects, it will be harder for ex-offenders to rebuild their lives, placing them at a high risk of reoffending. 

Addressing Age-Based Employment Discrimination  

Three in four workers in Singapore do not intend to retire before 65 (The Straits Times, 3 July 2022). For many older people, working provides income and purpose and bolsters their physical and mental well-being.

Despite this, age was cited as the top reason for prejudice towards older jobseekers in a Ministry of Manpower survey (Today, 23 March 2022). Older people are stereotyped as “slow” and “less trainable”. Some may be less educated, putting them at risk of being displaced by technology. Employers may prefer to train younger employees, who are seen as having more room to grow.

The issue is especially pressing as Singapore is fast becoming a super-aged society. While upcoming anti-discrimination laws will help, companies should also take the lead and build a multigenerational workforce. Older workers bring experience and a diversity of views to the table, which will be a source of strength.  

How You Can Help

With your generosity, you could help fund programmes that improve the employability of disadvantaged Singaporeans struggling to find work. As a cause-neutral philanthropic advisor, CFS is well-placed to help you navigate the various programmes available and tailor a giving plan based on your goals and interests. 

Efforts to address barriers to employment fall into three broad areas:

  • Development of skillsets (educational, technical/vocational training, and soft skills development) 
  • Exposure to career pathways (employer engagement and career support) 
  • Encouraging sustainable careers (getting supervisors and colleagues to accommodate marginalised individuals)

The simplest and most cost-effective way to help fund different programmes that tackle employability is by setting up a donor-advised fund (DAF). An individual, a beneficiary of a will, a trust, or a family office can set up a DAF. CFS will handle all fund administration and leverage our experience and network to ensure your giving is targeted, accountable and impactful.  

As a donor, you will save on legal expenses and enjoy upfront tax deductions at the prevailing rate on eligible donations. Donors will also receive regular statements tracking incoming donations to their DAF and outgoing disbursements to charities. CFS has an established track record when it comes to setting up DAFs. CFS is the first to bring in DAFs into Singapore and is currently the largest provider with over 220 DAFs and Community Impact Funds.  

If you would like to begin your giving journey with CFS, do get in touch with us.

References

International Monetary Fund. (28 November 2018). Economic Gains from Gender Inclusion: Even Greater than You Thoughthttps://www.imf.org/en/Blogs/Articles/2018/11/28/blog-economic-gains-from-gender-inclusion-even-greater-than-you-thought

Ministry of Home Affairs. (14 October 2020). Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on the Employment Rate of Ex-offenders, by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law. https://www.mha.gov.sg/mediaroom/parliamentary/written-reply-to-parliamentary-question-on-the-employment-rate-of-ex-offenders-by-mr-k-shanmugam-minister-for-home-affairs-and-minister-for-law/ 

Ministry of Manpower. (1 December 2022). Summary Table: Labour Force. https://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Labour-Force-Summary-Table.aspx 

Statista. Labor force participation rate of women in Singapore from 2012 to 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/951113/singapore-female-labor-force-participation-rate/

The Straits Times. (17 August 2022). Singapore aims to have 40% of working-age persons with disabilities employed by 2030. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singapore-aims-to-have-40-per-cent-of-working-age-persons-with-disabilities-employed-by-2030

The Straits Times. (3 July 2022). 3 in 4 older workers don’t intend to retire before 65; reasons include staying active, having purpose. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/jobs/3-in-4-older-workers-dont-intend-to-retire-before-65-reasons-include-staying-active-having-purpose 

Today. (23 March 2022). Discrimination against workers and jobseekers declined, but ageism still prevalent: MOM survey. https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/discrimination-workers-jobseekers-declined-ageism-prevalent-mom-survey-1851551

World Bank. (3 April 2023). Disability Inclusion.
https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/disability#:~:text=Persons%20with%20disabilities%2C%20on%20average,outcomes%20than%20persons%20without%20disabilities.&text=Results-,One%20billion%20people%2C%20or%2015%25%20of%20the%20world’s%20population%2C,is%20higher%20for%20developing%20countries.

 

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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”。

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.

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