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Epoch Times: Corporate philanthropy? When a company truly cares
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Epoch Times: Corporate philanthropy? When a company truly cares

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By Li Yen, October 2016

Download Epoch Times article – ‘Corporate Philanthropy? When a Company Truly Cares’

Corporate giving, or corporate philanthropy, has been gaining momentum in the Republic over the past decade, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong in parliament on Nov 3, 2014. Donations by corporations to Institutions of a Public Character (IPC) have increased two-fold from S$325 million in 2004 to S$644.4 million in 2013, he added.

Looking back at Singapore’s history, charitable donations from corporations is not a recent trend. During the pivotal ‘60s, the tenacity to rebuild Singapore had kindled the philanthropic spirit of some corporations. They offered monetary donations to aid the newly independent nation to battle its problems.

According to a research paper entitled ‘Philanthropy on the Road to Nationhood in Singapore’ by Roshini Prakash and Pauline Tan, the Medical Progress Fund launched in 1965 collected a total of S$4.75 million, with donations from Singapore Turf Club (S$100,000), Singapore Tobacco Company (S$30,000) and The Straits Times (S$12,500).

Other imperative fund-raising projects like the National Defence Fund raised S$8.29 million by 1969. Donations came from big corporations, namely Fraser and Neave (F&N) (S$20,000), F&N’s Board Chairman Tan Chin Tuan (S$50,000), Overseas United Bank (S$150,000), Chinese Chamber of Commerce (S$63,325), and Sheng Huo Enterprise (S$25,000).

Why Should Companies Build a Culture of Giving Back?

Let us take a closer look at corporate philanthropy and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The two concepts are closely linked, just that philanthropy is a portion of the bigger corporate social responsibility pie.

Typically, corporate philanthropy comprises monetary donations or resources such as facilities or volunteer time put in by the company’s employees.

Nonetheless, while the motive of corporate philanthropy is altruistic, corporations have begun to foresee the need to initiate philanthropic schemes as corporate investment, to gain a better positioning edge over their competitors.

Corporate philanthropy denotes a company’s values. As Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, said at the NVPC Corporate Giving Practitioner Roundtable 2015: “Corporate Giving is a deeply important endeavour. When corporate organisations embark on volunteering or philanthropic efforts, it sends a strong message to all both inside and outside the company that they are more than just about bottom lines.”

Corporate philanthropy can be integrated into a corporation’s mission and corporate social responsibility to steer the company in the right direction. Not contradictory to their business interests, the company itself and the employees can reap the benefits of doing good while benefiting the communities it serves.

Catherine Loh, CEO of Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), told Epoch Times: “Companies who do good and build a culture of giving back reap benefits like inspiring and engaging their staff, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Companies are also more likely to grow a positive brand image and attract and retain talent.”

Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) is a non-profit organisation founded in 2008 to encourage and enable philanthropy in Singapore by enabling donors to set up their own named charitable funds.

CFS helps to bridge individual and corporate donors with charitable organisations to develop programmes and give out grants that support a wide range of needs in the community. Currently, CFS manages more than 80 donor funds, giving out S$10 million every year to make a positive change in many ways.

Ms Loh added that there are numerous benefits for companies looking to partake in corporate philanthropy, such as:

  1. Increasing staff morale and employee retention
  2. Attracting and retaining talent
  3. Growing a positive reputation with the media and the public
  4. Reinforcing corporate culture and identity
  5. Generating business development opportunities
  6. Improving customer retention and brand recall

For instance, Douglas Conant, who was President and CEO of Campbell Soup Company until 2011, noted that the more Campbell allocated their resources to developing philanthropic initiatives to serve the communities, the more engaged and productive their employees were.

Their meaningful mission of “building the world’s most extraordinary food company by nourishing people’s lives everywhere, every day” laid the foundation for the firm’s success.

In another example, American production firm DreamWorks SKG joined hands with schools to devise training programmes that taught low-income students in Los Angeles essential skills in the entertainment industry. This in turn contributes to a better education system that boosts the employability of these low-income students. In addition, having more specially trained graduates helps to strengthen the entertainment industry that it relies on.

However, companies engaging in corporate philanthropy should also comply with other ethical issues concerning environment, consumers, human rights, supply-chain sustainability and transparency, or they cannot be said to be practising good CSR even if they make huge donations to charities. Doing otherwise is just sheer hypocrisy and falsehood, said Gerard Ee, Chairman of Charity Council.

“First and foremost, you got to believe you have a broader responsibility than just making money,” stressed Mr Lee Poh Wah, CEO of Lien Foundation.

How Corporations Can Start Giving
Corporations wishing to kick-start their philanthropy effectively can approach the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS).

“For companies that approach CFS, we help to kick-start their philanthropic journey by aligning their core values and intent with the needs of the local community,” said Ms Catherine Loh. “By setting a charitable fund with us, companies are actively involved in deciding how to make the most impact with their philanthropic money.”

CFS, which has a vision of growing a sustained culture of giving for generations to come, has worked alongside a number of corporations in Singapore – for example, Changi Foundation, Ascendas-Singbridge, Estate Developers Association (REDAS) and UBS – on their corporate philanthropy, which involves grantmaking that supports community projects.

A notable example is the Diversity in Abilities programme co-managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore with UBS, which aims to develop and showcase the artistic talents of children and youths with special needs.

As there are more than 2,000 charities in Singapore, CFS can “narrow down and identify charities that are aligned with their philanthropic objectives, given their knowledge and expertise, and we can identify gaps and opportunities to enable companies to make more strategic and effective giving,” said Ms Loh.

To ensure full transparency and accountability, CFS also assists donors in keeping an eye on how their philanthropic money is impacting the beneficiaries, the output, and outcomes through a rigorous programme evaluation and robust grantmaking process, as well as concise reporting.

“Companies find our services useful as they often have to report back to the shareholders on how their philanthropic money has been used.”

She added: “We can also help companies identify charities that can better accommodate their employees for volunteering activities. For example, we introduced a bank with many foreign employees to a charity that runs an English reading programme for children from low-income families. These native English-speaking employees could actively contribute by reading aloud to these children.”

“Companies can contribute time, treasure and/or talent. There is no one best way to give back,” she asserted.

CFS’s sister agency, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NPVC), whose mantra is “Goodness is the Business of Every Organisation”, has a programme called the Company of Good that aims to help companies give better and holistically. For information, visit https://companyofgood.sg/

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Events

Celebrating a decade of inspiring and enabling philanthropy in Singapore

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Two female individuals can be seen in the picture, both dressed in red shirts and holding a volleyball ball.

After months of anticipation, CFS’s year-long 10th anniversary celebrations came to a high point on 5 September 2018 at a gala event held at The Arts House. Guest of honour, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, and 120 guests including donors, charities and other partners, came together to commemorate this major milestone in CFS’s history.

In her keynote speech, Minister Fu reflected on philanthropy’s important role in Singapore’s history and its continued relevance in building a culture of care. She thanked CFS for “its excellent work in raising funds and giving out grants, as well as in inspiring and enabling giving in Singapore” and that “as Singapore’s only community foundation, CFS plays an important role as a bridge builder between local communities and the larger charitable ecosystem.”

CEO Catherine Loh spoke of how CFS had “much to prove” when she joined six years ago, but that’s she proud to see CFS having a much wider reach in the public sphere today. “The entrance of a community foundation like CFS has transformed how philanthropy is approached,” she remarked, signaling future plans to grow legacy giving, collaboration and impact.

Outgoing chairman Laurence Lien took the occasion to leave CFS with an audacious goal – to raise $1 billion in our donor funds at some point in the future. He expressed, “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.”

Guests were also treated to a violin performance by Joey Lau, winner of the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award 2017, a fund managed by CFS.

Amidst dinner and cocktails, the mood was buoyant, as many offered their enthusiastic congratulation. “It’s fantastic to see tonight that the achievements of CFS get celebrated,” said Sebastien Lamy, Director of Keppel Corporation and CFS board member. “I look forward to an even stronger partnership with CFS moving forward,” remarked Tui Jurn Mun, Republic Polytechnic.

The evening ended on a jubilant note as we savoured, shared and reflected on an amazing journey over the last decade. Here’s to the next 10 years of giving!

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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

新保集团推出300万元基金 助医疗行政人员职业发展

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John Doe
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新保集团和ACE团队基金会启动一项300万元的基金,促进 新保集团医疗行政人员的职业发 展,除了培养专业技能,也让他 们有机会到海外进行交流和学术研讨。 

这项医疗行政人员发展基金(Healthcare Administrators Fund)是首次针对新保集团医疗行政人员而设的基金,由新保集团和ACE团队基金会(ACE Team Foundation)分别贡献150万元。 

新保集团旗下约有4600名医疗行政人员,占员工总数的15%。他们负责支持医疗保健系 统的日常运作和行政框架,包括研究、运营、财务、人力资源、教育和通讯等多个领域。 

符合条件的医疗行政人员将由上司提名,并接受评估。成功获得提名者可以申请培训基金。医疗行政人员可以通过教育与培训提升自己,也可以到海外跟其他国家的行政人员进行学术交流,然后把所学的带回新加坡。 

2023年新加坡医疗管理大会在星期三(8月16日)举办,社会及家庭发展部长兼卫生部第二部长马善高致辞时指出,在医疗保健管理方面采取更有效、更创新的战略是必须的,为确保医疗保健系统的可持续发展,新加坡必须发展医疗服务和管理模式。他说,医疗保健管理并不局限于机构的四面围墙内,必须跨学科合作,包括医疗行政人员与其他伙伴的广泛合作。 

在新保集团公共联系部门服务的高级执行员曾芳琳(30岁)说,作为一名年轻的医疗行政人员,她对新启动的医疗行政人员发展基金感到兴奋。有了这项基金,她就可以寻找机会学习新技能、增加见识包括加深了解不断发展的医疗保健管理领域。 

44岁的新保集团营运部门副主任林志忠也在受访时说:“医疗保健系统内的业务要求是高度专业的,必须提升医疗行政人员的职业发展,让大家有可持续的就业技能,也为塑造医疗保健领域带来重要的作用。”

另一方面,ACE团队基金会也会额外拨款150万元给新保集团所属的职场乐趣提升措施(Joy at Work initiatives),以支持医疗工作人员维持身心健康。 

ACE团队基金会由本地科技公司Grab的联合创办人兼总裁陈炳耀与太太童维创立,从2021年创立至今捐助不少医疗组织,如 广惠肇留医院、儿童癌症基金会和全国肾脏基金会等。

信用:联合早报©新报业媒体有限公司。复制需要许可

This article was originally published in Zaobao here. Source: Zaobao © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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Stories Of Impact

Giving back through art

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John Doe
Woman standing next to a large flower painting.

When Lebanese painter Marie-jose Jed was looking to adopt a charity for her art exhibition, a chance conversation with a friend turned into an opportunity to collaborate with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS).

Having lived in Singapore since 2008, Marie-jose believes in giving back to the place she now calls home. “Singapore has given me so much. The least I can do is to give back in any way I can,” she said.

Imbued with a strong sense of social consciousness, the self-taught artist has also volunteered with the Red Cross in Lebanon, participated in charity auctions and collaborated with Deutsche Bank for their Dream Beyond charity programme in Singapore.

In seeking out a potential charity to collaborate with, CFS attracted her due to its understanding of community needs. “I love the fact that CFS is so diverse – that CFS doesn’t work with just one kind of charity but covers many needs,” said Marie-jose.

Reflecting her travels, memories and passion for the region, in late 2019, Marie-jose exhibited a collection of paintings, Symbols of Asia, featuring numerous iconic symbols found across Asia at the Fullerton Hotel, Singapore.

While discussing possible beneficiaries for her exhibition proceeds, CFS’s Outing for Seniors Community Impact Fund emerged as an appropriate fit – marrying Marie-jose’s artistic background and benefiting local communities through art.

10% of exhibition proceeds will go towards the Outing for Seniors Fund. The fund enables seniors and their caregivers to visit places around Singapore, including museums and other places of beauty such as Gardens by the Bay.

On giving back as a way of life, Marie-jose said, “I live life with a tiny objective. Every year, I look back and ask myself what I have done to make a difference to the lives of others. If every person lived with tiny habit, I believe the world will be a better place.”

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.

Opinion

A turning point for community philanthropy

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John Doe
Woman delivering a speech at a podium, inspiring the audience with her words.

In the life of any organisation, there are special moments that will be remembered as being turning points.

Last month, CFS held our Philanthropy Forum 2019, where we were extremely privileged to have keynote speaker Ms Eileen Heisman share with us several crucial moments in her career that fueled the growth of National Philanthropic Trust (NPT). As its President and CEO, Eileen has been responsible for steering NPT to raising an incredible US$13 billion in charitable contributions over the last 22 years.

Some of you might know Eileen was a founding member of CFS’s international advisory committee 10 years ago. As we come full circle, Eileen was once again in town to encourage, challenge and inspire us with a vision of what CFS can achieve.

Stepping into a new phase of growing philanthropy in Singapore, I believe this time will be remembered as a turning point in CFS’s history, in more ways than one.

We know that community philanthropy is poised for exponential growth in the next decade. The past year has been a phenomenal year for CFS– in financial year 2018, CFS achieved a year-on-year, four-fold increase in donations amounting to S$35 million. A big thank you to our donors, community partners and collaborators for helping to make this possible.

But what else is needed to create lasting social change? How can we grow from smaller, ad hoc and fragmented giving to bigger, better and smarter giving? Donor advised funds are the way to go as they enable smarter, better giving by helping donors give more thought to the purpose of their charitable dollars.

To take CFS into the future, CFS also welcomed our new Chairman Christine Ong on 1 April, taking over the reins from Laurence Lien. I am deeply honoured to have worked closely with Laurence to build a strong foundation for CFS and confident Christine’s extensive experience in banking and finance, corporate social responsibility and the community will usher CFS into a new phase of growth.

It may be another 10 or 20 years before we look back again at this moment, but I’m sure it will be one we will all be proud of.

Catherine Loh
CEO
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.

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