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Four teachers recognised for excellence in early childhood, special needs education
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Four teachers recognised for excellence in early childhood, special needs education

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four teachers receiving an award

Ms Sulochanah Kanapathy’s pupil was already four years old but he could not say a word.

But Ms Sulochanah, 47, was determined to help, and taught the child with special needs to speak his first words.

The teacher from Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten went the extra mile by conducting home visits, giving the child additional teaching materials, and training his parents to better manage his learning.

That incident from seven years ago drove her to take a course in special needs education to understand children with such challenges better.

On Wednesday (Nov 24), she received the Leading Foundation Teacher Award, in the Early Childhood Educator category, at the National Institute of Education (NIE) in Nanyang Technological University.

Besides Ms Sulochanah, Ms A. Neshanthini Neelamohan, 33, from Sparkletots Preschool @ Braddell Heights Block 246, also received the Leading Foundation Award in the same category.

Ms Wong Jia Min, 34, from Fei Yue Community Services and Mrs Lee E-Lyn, 47, from Methodist Girls’ School (Primary) received the Leading Foundation Award in the Special Needs Educator Category.

The Leading Foundation Teacher Award, established in 2013, recognises excellence in early childhood, special needs and allied educators who have made significant contributions to the well-being and teaching of their students. It is administered by NIE and the Community Foundation of Singapore.

The four were selected through appraisals and interviews by the judging panel, which comprised members from NIE, the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Early Childhood Development.

This year, there were a total of 57 nominations.

Among the winners was Ms Neshanthini,who is a firm believer in ensuring that her lessons appeal to all types of learners.

There is always something for her pupils, be it visual, auditory or tactile. For instance, she often uses food essence to stimulate her pupils’ senses as part of sensory play, she said.

As for Ms Wong Jia Min, she believes parental support is key to a child’s development.

For example, Ms Wong brought in a professional sign language interpreter so that a student with behavioural issues could communicate more effectively with her deaf parents.

Many house visits later, Ms Wong and a social worker noticed a major positive change in the student’s behaviour.

Mrs Lee, on the other hand, uses humour in her classes to allow her students to express themselves and to feel relaxed in a safe environment.

For instance, she records the children’s voices and plays the recordings back during oral practice. She focuses heavily on celebrating small successes and encouraging them.

“I’m not just their teacher, but their cheerleader too,” she said.

The awards are sponsored by The Leading Foundation, which was co-founded by Mr Lim Siong Guan, a professor in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, and a former head of the Singapore Civil Service, with Ms Joanne H. Lim, founder of a communications consultancy.

Mrs Jennifer Lim, Prof Lim’s wife and the guest of honour, presented the awards to the winners, who also received a cash award of $2,500 and a certificate each.

Winners list
Early Childhood Educator category
Ms A. Neshanthini Neelamohan, 33, PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Braddell Heights Blk 246
Ms Sulochanah Kanapathy, 47, Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten

Special Needs Educator category
Mrs Lee E-Lyn, 47, Methodist Girls’ School (Primary)
Ms Wong Jia Min, 34, Fei Yue Community Services

If you would like to begin your giving journey with us at CFS, please read more here

This article was originally published in The Straits Times here. Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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Opinion

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

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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

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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

S’pore couple plan to leave money to charity after their death in new campaign to promote legacy giving

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A man and woman posing for a photo against a beige background, capturing a joyful moment together.

SINGAPORE – It was their son’s degenerative eye disease that set ophthalmologist Dr Audrey Looi and her neurosurgeon husband Dr Ang Beng Ti on the path of philanthropy.

The couple were devastated around a decade ago to find out that James, now 19, suffers from Stargardt’s which causes progressive vision loss, when he was in primary school.

To make matters worse, there was a serious lack of programmes then to support children with low vision in their educational and other needs, Dr Ang, 51, said.

In 2011, the couple set up the charity iC2 PrepHouse, which teaches children with low vision the skills to cope with daily life and supports them to remain in mainstream schools.

They now plan to leave $200,000 or more in their wills to set up an endowment fund to support the iC2 PrepHouse’s work and to fund scholarships for needy undergraduates of the Singapore Management University (SMU).

James is now a business undergraduate at the SMU. The Angs have two other children, aged 13 and 21.

Dr Looi, 50, said: “So instead of giving it (our wealth) all to our children, we have started thinking about putting aside a part of it for charity. I think we have to be a little less self-focused and to give back to society.

“We told our children that they can contribute to the fund (in future). And I would like to think that our kids can manage without this sum we are giving to charity.

“Long after we are gone, we have this charity that continues to provide help for children with low vision. iC2 PrepHouse is our family legacy.”

The couple are among the donors fronting the “A Greater Gift” campaign in a three-month drive to promote legacy giving that was launched on Tuesday (Nov 24) morning.

The campaign was started by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), a charity which promotes philanthropy here.

Legacy giving is broadly defined as future donations to charity, such as in the form of leaving money or property to charitable causes after one’s death.

Ms Catherine Loh, chief executive of the CFS, said the charity has seen more interest in legacy giving in the past few years, by people from different demographic groups including singles and married couples without children.

However, she added that Singaporeans’ interest in legacy giving lags behind Western societies, noting that it is taboo in Asian cultures to talk about death and even writing wills.

She said it is changing though.

“People think that legacy giving is only for the very rich. But we want to tell people, nothing is too small. We want to change this concept that it’s only for the very rich.

“Another thing people think is that if they give a legacy gift, their children will not have anything. We want to say it’s not an either-or (situation) and they can consider leaving a part of it (their wealth) to charity,” added Ms Loh.

While there are the uber rich who are leaving millions to charity after their death, some charities have also received as little as $10,000 from a person’s estate, she said.

The CFS will provide resources to help charities engage their donors on legacy giving, among its efforts to boost this form of philanthropy here.

Besides the Angs, the other donors who are part of the campaign include MP and lawyer Nadia Ahmad Samdin, 30, and venture capitalist Hian Goh, 46.

In their campaign video, Ms Nadia said she went to school with the help of financial assistance and now wants to help at-risk young people, while Mr Goh wants to create opportunities for innovators to reach their full potential.

Mr Goh is a co-founder of the Asian Food Channel, a pay-television channel now known as the Asian Food Network.

Source: The Straits Times

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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

The Peak Singapore: How responsible businesses can make their philanthropic dollars travel further

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picture of CFS CEO Catherine Loh sitting on a chair

While more companies are heeding the call to give back to the community, selecting a worthy cause and monitoring the use of donations may be a complex task. That’s where the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) comes in. It helps corporations develop a long-term philanthropy strategy, find suitable charity partners, and track the outcome of donations.

“We help donors go beyond what they can do on their own, and identify charity partners who can provide accountability,” says Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS.

One way of creating greater impact is to look at fresh ways of addressing community needs, suggests Loh. Take UBS’ Diversity in Abilities arts education programme, which aims to develop the talents of children and youth with special needs. After attending the programme, participants are able to concentrate better and have an overall improvement in the pace of learning. Such potentially beneficial initiatives can be made possible only by corporations that have a higher appetite for risk and are willing to support them, says Loh.

In terms of managing charitable dollars, both donor and recipient must agree on how the money will be used, the duration of the funding and the kind/depth of reporting required, Loh says. More importantly, she adds, companies should adopt the mindset of a partner and view philanthropy as a “learning journey”.

“Just like any business project, things can go wrong. Sometimes, it could be a misreading of community needs, or there could be physical or manpower constraints faced by the charity. We hope to take corporates on a philanthropic journey, to help them gain insight into what it takes to make a meaningful change.” Read more.

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News

Campaign Brief Asia: Community Foundation of Singapore partners with DDB Group to inspire philanthropy

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"My Cho Cho Ma She started our family's journey of giving" Keith Chua

DDB Group Singapore has lent a helping hand to the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) to develop an integrated marketing communications campaign to raise awareness for the philanthropic organisation among individual and corporate donors. The appointment and campaign coincide with the 10th anniversary celebration of CFS this year. Founded in 2008, CFS matches donors with philanthropic causes to drive positive change and create a lasting impact within communities.

“It’s a pleasure to partner an organisation like CFS – a hugely dedicated group of people working hard to enhance the lives of Singaporeans,” said Neil Johnson, Creative Chairman, DDB Group Singapore. “The campaign is rooted in our belief that true acts of giving is a culmination of life experiences, lessons and reflection.”

A multimedia combination of video, digital, and print initiatives, the campaign titled ‘Portraits of generosity‘ features five donor stories, each sharing the motivation behind their decision to give, and why they chose CFS to manage their giving and achieve their goals in helping others. The DDB campaign sets out to inspire the same generosity in others and build a culture of giving in Singapore.

“DDB has done a wonderful job of creating a very relatable and engaging campaign,” said Yuen Yee Foong, Head of Marketing at CFS. “We are grateful to our donors for stepping up to tell their stories and hope that through these first-hand accounts of giving, others will realise that they too, have it in them to open their hearts and give back,” she added.

Since its launch in 2008, CFS has received over S$100 million in donations, set up more than 110 charitable funds, and given out S$60 million in grants in collaboration with over 400 charities supporting programmes that impact diverse communities. Donors are required to pledge a minimum of S$200,000 to establish a fund which can support charities and preferred causes across the sectors in 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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