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Including the Excluded: Everyone Plays a Part
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Including the Excluded: Everyone Plays a Part

John Doe
John Doe
Standing man in blue shirt with wooden wall backdrop.

Through working and volunteering in the non-profit sector, I often meet people living in dire circumstances. I vividly remember one incident while distributing breakfast to families living in public rental units. Speaking in simple English, the mother thanked us profusely for the warm porridge and noodles – generously contributed by a donor – so the money saved could go towards their monthly transport.

Giving goes a long way. But recognising and acknowledging the realities of those in need may be just as important.

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.

Look around the world and it is not hard to see how the unmet needs of marginalised groups can lead to tension and ruptures in the social fabric. In Singapore, social exclusion and by default, inclusion, has become a hot subject – not the least because of our incredibly diverse society, aging population and the widening inequality.

Responding to these challenges require us to think more deeply and tangibly about the ways we respond to the disenfranchised. I believe developing empathy and simply taking time to understand the challenges of others, will play a critical first step.

I was encouraged to see in a 2016 study of Singaporeans’ attitudes towards social inclusion, that many saw the importance of ‘celebrating diversity’ and making a greater effort to understand vulnerable groups; be it the disabled, the mentally ill, migrant workers or disadvantaged households. The message is clear: we all play a part in making Singapore more inclusive.

At the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), it is our mission to identify underserved needs – and then empower donors to give meaningfully to meet them. In this issue of Change Matters, I’m happy to share several developments that will enable you to contribute to a wide range of social causes.

You might have seen the recent news about the launch of the LIFT (Learning Initiatives for Employment) Community Impact Fund. LIFT supports programmes that provide vocational training, social support and suitable job placements in the open market for disadvantaged persons.  Through LIFT, you’ll be able to help people with disabilities, persons recovering from mental illnesses, disadvantaged women and youth-at-risk to make a better life.

We also highlight the incredible dedication of HOME (or the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics). Amidst the challenges, HOME has steadfastly championed the well-being of migrant workers in Singapore over the last decade. Learn about how your support to CFS’s Migrants Emergency Assistance and Support (MEANS) Fund helps HOME provide vital financial assistance in a migrant worker’s time of crisis.

With your continued support, I believe we can help to foster a sense of belonging and empathy towards those who have less, enabling them greater opportunities to participate meaningfully in our society.

Joseph Lua

Assistant Director

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

Indonesia’s Karim Family Foundation raises S$200,000 to support badminton world champion Loh Kean Yew

John Doe
John Doe
picture of loh kean yew holding his medal

An Indonesian tycoon’s family foundation, the Karim Family Foundation, has raised S$200,000 to support badminton player Loh Kean Yew, the first Singaporean to win the Badminton World Federation World Championships.  

The Karim Family Foundation – set up by the family of Indonesian tycoon Bachtiar Karim and his wife Dewi Sukwanto – wanted to congratulate Loh for his win at the championships in December 2021, according to Zaobao. 

Previously, a crowdfunding initiative Ray of Hope as well as donations from 5 business leaders in Singapore also raised over S$158,000 for the badminton player. 

Bachtiar Karim is the executive chairman of Singapore-headquartered oil conglomerate Musim Mas. In 2021, the Karim family had a net worth of around US$3.5 billion, making it the 10th richest in Indonesia, according to Forbes. 

Cindy Karim, principal at the Karim Family Foundation, said the family was “inspired” by Loh’s perseverance and humility “even after such an amazing feat”. 

Noting that the foundation has had a focus on sports development, art and culture, mental health and education, she added: “We hope to inspire future Loh Kean Yews in Singapore.” 

The donation is being made through a donor-advised fund with The Community Foundation of Singapore. 

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

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

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Stories Of Impact

2023 Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award Winner Megan Low: Music is her Ikigai

John Doe
John Doe
A woman in a white dress sits on stairs, gracefully holding a violin.

Congratulations to Megan Low, this year’s winner of the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award, which supports young Singaporean musicians who have consistently demonstrated outstanding musicianship and performance. The Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Fund, a donor-advised fund which CFS has managed for over a decade, honours the legacy of Mr. Goh Soon Tioe, a pioneering and accomplished violinist, conductor, and teacher.

Megan is thrilled to be joining the community of previous award winners and is excited about the performance opportunities that come with the award. The prize money will help defray the cost of a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance, which Megan hopes to pursue after graduation.  She is currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree in Violin Performance at the prestigious Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, under the tutelage of internationally-renowned violinist Zuo Jun.

Of her success, she says, “My parents have been my biggest inspiration in my music journey and have supported me every step of the way. They taught me that success only comes with hard work. They also taught me the concept of Ikigai – where one’s passion, mission, vocation, and profession overlap and becomes your reason for being.”

It was her parents who filled their home with classical music and inspired her to ask for violin lessons at the age of three and then piano lessons at seven. At sixteen, she made her solo debut with the Orchestra of the Music Makers.

Megan’s passion for performance has taken her to many stages locally and abroad, from Asia to Europe and the US. Most recently, her piano trio won the first prize at the 17th Cecilia International Music Competition 2023 in Japan.

The young musician is most accomplished at playing Romantic music, yet her most memorable experience was performing the complex Baroque masterpiece, Bach’s ‘St John’s Passion’. Megan says, “I most enjoy collaborative music-making in chamber music and small ensemble groups. I would love to dive deeper into that in the future.”

A believer in the restorative power of music, Megan also harnesses her musical talent as a gift to uplift others. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she and her peers held a workshop for the staff at Sengkang General Hospital, in which they introduced music as an avenue for stress relief and creative expression. The tunes created during the workshop were sampled and turned into an original soundtrack, which was then played in the hospital lobby. During the Christmas season, Megan and her friends also brought cheer to the residents at the All Saints Home by performing familiar tunes.

As she embarks on a promising music career, this young lady hopes to continue performing and teaching music – her ikigai – for as long as she can.

Learn how you can work with CFS to support talented musicians like Megan and boost Singapore’s arts scene –  https://www.cf.org.sg/giving/ways-to-give/

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Events

A review to keep improving outings for the elderly

John Doe
John Doe
Group of individuals sitting in chairs indoors.

It has been 10 years since the Outing for Seniors Community Impact Fund was started to enable nursing homes, day care centres, hospitals and hospices to bring seniors with medical conditions or mobility challenges on regular, organised excursions around Singapore.

To date, some 10,000 seniors have been on over 700 outings organised by more than 60 charitable organisations, with Changi Airport and Gardens by the Bay topping the list as favourite destinations.

In January, some 70 representatives from 28 charitable organisations who received grants from the fund gathered for a review session organised by CFS. At the event, attendees were updated on the fund’s streamlined application guidelines and processes. Breakout sessions were also conducted to gather feedback, exchange views and gain a better understanding of the profiles of seniors, types of outings and activities, volunteer to senior ratios and fund utilisation.

Representatives from the Esplanade and National Heritage Board were present to share their specially curated, senior-friendly arts, culture and heritage programmes. These include nostalgic concerts and performances, heritage trails, guided museum gallery tours, events and festivals which are all designed to promote active ageing.

All in, it was a productive afternoon for everyone. It is hoped that the fund and the outings it supports will continue to grow from strength to strength, as we can all agree that the joy that it brings to seniors makes its purpose all worthwhile.

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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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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

Pragmatic reasons to engage In philanthropy

John Doe
John Doe
Elderly man lying on grass with sign.

Educator George Jacobs became involved in philanthropy because he wanted to put his money where his mouth is. As someone who feels strongly about contributing to greater food security in Singapore, the passionate advocate for a vegan lifestyle established the Relaxed Fund to promote horticulture in the little red dot.

“My wife and I wanted to encourage people to eat more plant-based foods, as these foods boost human health and address global warming issues. One way to convince people to change their diets is to immerse them in growing greens themselves, so they feel a sense of ownership. Thus, they want the greens to find a good home — in their stomachs,” he says.

In partnership with the Community Foundation of Singapore, which enables philanthropy by matching donors’ interests with causes, the Relaxed Fund has thus far spearheaded the launch of three edible community gardens. Jacobs regards these gardens as a tangible step towards increasing the country’s self-reliance on food, saying, “The government has a 30 by 30 goal, for Singapore to produce 30 per cent of our food needs by 2030. Everyone needs to help if we are to reach this goal and home and community gardening is one method of achieving the target.”

Practically speaking, there is a need for the wealthy, particularly in Asia, to step forward the way Jacobs has. “Asia has amassed one-third of the world’s wealth, but still has two-thirds of the world’s poor,” says Dr Ruth Shapiro, chief executive officer of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS).

Practically speaking, there is a need for the wealthy, particularly in Asia, to step forward the way Jacobs has. “Asia has amassed one-third of the world’s wealth, but still has two-thirds of the world’s poor,” says Dr Ruth Shapiro, chief executive officer of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS).

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, international support is on a gradual decline, which means an “Asia for Asia” centric philanthropy has to fill the gap, the Doing Good Index, the latest study by CAPS indicates. “There is now a unique opportunity to use this newly created wealth to alleviate poverty, protect the environment and promote societal resilience,” Dr Shapiro adds.

The advantage of philanthropy in its various forms is that it enables donors to steer the impact they hope to achieve in their field of interest. “Many donors who come to us already have a passion for a particular cause,” explains Catherine Loh, chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS). To date, its donors have given about $70 million to over 400 non-profit organisations in the areas of education, health, social and welfare, arts, culture, environment and more. “While charity is a natural, emotional impulse to an immediate situation and giving usually occurs in the short-term, philanthropy addresses the root cause of social issues and requires a more strategic, long-term approach.”

She cites former president SR Nathan, who established an education endowment fund with CFS after he stepped down as president, spurred by his personal experiences of overcoming hardships. The endowment fund has since helped many beneficiaries graduate with diplomas and degrees, hence securing a better future for these individuals and their families, an outcome that was close to his heart.

There are also business imperatives that spur some to engage in philanthropy. For starters, Singapore has the highest tax subsidy for charitable giving in the world at a rate of 250 percent for individuals and companies, which offers a strong incentive to give.

It also bodes well that many companies do care about the communities in which they operate, observes Dr Ruth Shapiro of CAPS — and philanthropy gives them an avenue to engage with these local communities in various ways. Funding social delivery organisations is one straightforward way of doing so. According to the Doing Good Index, the average social organisation in Singapore only receives 16 percent of their budget from companies, indicating there is potential for further monetary contributions.

“Businesses can encourage their employees to volunteer and sit on boards of non-profit organisations and social enterprises,” Dr Shapiro adds. She notes that in Singapore, only 55 percent of non-profit board members have corporate experience, hence encouraging volunteering in this form would allow important skills and business rigor to transfer to the social sector. Taking on such roles may also provide individuals with an additional opportunity to develop leadership skills that can benefit the business in turn.

Philanthropy via the establishment of a foundation dedicated to a specific cause can also be instrumental in uniting successors of a business or a family with shared purposes. “This is one way to pass on one’s interests and values and an opportunity to make an impact now in their lifetime and beyond,” says Loh.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, the oft uttered trope that by doing good, one feels good too might be the most powerful motivating factor. This concept, which is advocated by French neuroscientist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, has been proven in many studies that show people who give are significantly happier than those who spend only on themselves.

Jacobs of the Relaxed Fund could not agree more. He says, “My wife and I have already lived for over sixty comfortable years. Taking a little time from our schedules instead of watching Netflix and spending a little of the funds we have accumulated, instead of using them for some products we do not need, is a sweet feeling.”

Source: a.com

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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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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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