News
Learning Initiatives for Employment (LIFT) Community Impact Fund – Training and placing marginalised individuals into stable jobs
wavy line banner

News

News

Learning Initiatives for Employment (LIFT) Community Impact Fund – Training and placing marginalised individuals into stable jobs

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
People in masks and aprons preparing food in a restaurant.

The Learning Initiatives for Employment (LIFT) Community Impact Fund (CIF) was launched in 2019 by The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), which provides vocational training and socio-emotional support for marginalised individuals in Singapore before placing them into jobs.

CIFs are flagship programmes established by CFS in partnership with charities to address unmet needs or under-supported social issues in Singapore. It takes a ground-up approach to understand the needs of care recipients and outcomes they care about to ensure that they would truly benefit from these programmes.

LIFT is designed to leverage the expertise of social enterprises in terms of job coaching and job matching. These programmes support persons with disabilities, persons recovering from mental illnesses, disadvantaged women and youth-at-risk who face challenges finding jobs and keeping them. 

In partnership with Bettr Barista and Project Dignity, LIFT saw 115 people receiving training at Bettr Barista Coffee Academy or Dignity Kitchen from April 2020 to March 2021. Ninety-one participants completed the training, and of those who had completed the course, 73 people were successfully hired, with 55 managing to remain employed for more than three months.

To support the LIFT Community Impact Fund, visit here. Read the media release here.

 

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.

Stories Of Impact

Shining a light on early childhood literacy

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
a group of children sitting around a table with books

Our donors have long been a pillar of support for the charity SHINE Children and Youth Services, especially their Reading Odyssey. This programme builds reading skills and confidence in disadvantaged children. CFS is commemorating 15 years of giving and this story is one of a three-part series that highlights the strong relationships CFS has fostered with charities over the years.

While most children in Singapore are able to read when they start primary school, some have very limited literacy skills. This could be due to challenging personal circumstances or undiagnosed learning difficulties in their earlier years. The problem is that this limitation immediately sets them back from their peers academically.  

Reading Odyssey to the rescue

SHINE Children and Youth Services bridges this gap through a volunteer-supported reading programme called Reading Odyssey. The programme struck a chord with us at the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) and with several of our donors keen to support educational causes. It goes beyond nurturing skills like word recognition. It also builds confidence and hope for these children, who tend to suffer from low self-esteem. 

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

“Through CFS’s strategic efforts in garnering support from funders, the programme was able to partner with more community groups and agencies to expand its reach from four to seven communities in 2018,” notes Geraldine Low, Director of SHINE’s Educational Psychology Service. 

By 2022, this empowering initiative had grown to cover 13 communities, benefitting over 800 primary school students. It amassed a formidable pool of over 800 volunteers, who patiently guide the children with their reading, widen their exposure to genres and topics, and spur them to become lifelong learners. Reading Odyssey also draws on learning support experts to provide specialised guidance to children who may have conditions like dyslexia.

A partnership that works

It can be a challenge to seek support for children in the community with learning or reading difficulties that are ‘hidden’ and whose needs are easily misunderstood. We appreciate CFS who has been open and committed to journey alongside the team to seek clarity on needs and programme intervention, provide feedback, and actively position the programme to relevant funders.

CFS’s partnership with SHINE dates back to 2010, during our formative years as the nation’s first community foundation. The charity, founded in 1976, provides an array of services including educational psychology, school-based social work, therapy and mental health. To date, a total of 105 contributions amounting to over $5.5 million have been made by generous CFS donors. 

“The donations from CFS have provided a stable and reliable source of funding. This has allowed SHINE to continue operating and delivering vital services to children and youth without interruption,” says Geraldine, adding that the money has also helped SHINE develop new initiatives and explore innovative approaches to their programmes.

A common vision

The powerful work done by SHINE falls under one of our five focal areas for grant making: Accessing Quality Education. We believe holistic, quality education can help break the poverty cycle for low-income families and improve social mobility. We partner with a wide range of charities and educational institutions to help every child receive a good, well-rounded education. 

For donors who want to make a difference in early childhood education, we introduce them to programmes like Reading Odyssey, which advances child literacy as well as social inclusivity in Singapore.

“By pooling knowledge and experiences, initiatives that are evidence-based, culturally sensitive and tailored to the unique needs of the beneficiaries can be designed and implemented,” says Geraldine.

That is why SHINE hopes to continue working closely with CFS and to explore long-term funding strategies with CFS, so it can make even more of a lasting impact.

We are proud of our long-term relationship with SHINE and are committed to working with like-minded charities to create a greater impact on the lives of children in underserved communities under the CFS cause Accessing Quality Education. 

CFS is celebrating our anniversary throughout 2023—15 years of empowering donors to make a meaningful impact. Since our inception in 2008, we have received over S$292 million in donations in Singapore and disbursed over S$157 million in grants to over 400 charity partners.  

To discover how you can make a difference, please visit www.cf.org.sg/contact-us/get-in-touch/ 

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.

News

COVID-19: Community Foundation of Singapore commits up to S$300,000 to extend student meal subsidies during circuit breaker

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
School children walking on the pavement.

SINGAPORE: The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) has committed up to S$300,000 in funding to extend the Recess@Home programme until the end of the “circuit breaker” on Jun 1, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Thursday (May 14).

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”。

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.

News

‘I thought I couldn’t go through any more of it’: Cancer patient gets help after insurer says ‘no’ to $33k bill

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
a person wearing a cap and a person with a red dress

Good Samaritans have stepped forward to help a cancer patient, who hopes to spend more quality time with her 15-year-old daughter while keeping the disease at bay.

The drug that Ms Koh Ee Miang, 45, needs to control the spread of her cancer is expensive, and her insurance company has refused to pay for it – leaving her with an outstanding bill of more than $33,000 for treatment carried out between November and January.

Hard-pressed to pay for the drug, she stopped the treatment in January and reverted to basic chemotherapy. Her cancer markers jumped 50 per cent and her tumour grew.

Her oncologist, Dr Choo Su Pin of Curie Oncology, put her back on the targeted therapy treatment and offered to let her pay in instalments. Said Dr Choo: “The treatment works. Do I stop her medicine?”

The drug not only slows the spread of the cancer, it also reduces pain and has fewer side effects than chemotherapy.

Both patient and doctor were in a quandary over the high cost of the treatment after insurers rejected the claim.

Ms Koh is a housewife who says she hopes to take her 15-year-old daughter on a holiday to leave her with “happy memories” since the prognosis for her cancer, which is fourth stage, is not good – with only 2 per cent surviving five years.

The story of her plight in The Straits Times has resulted in several offers of help.

The Community Foundation of Singapore, set up in 2008 to encourage and enable philanthropy, reached out to the Emma Yong Fund – named after one of the stars of the musical cabaret group Dim Sum Dollies, who died of stomach cancer at the age of 36 – for help.

The Fund agreed to pay the $33,000 bill that was outstanding.

Fund administrator Selena Tan said though the fund was set up to help theatre practitioners, she was happy to extend the help to Ms Koh.

“Knowing Emma’s legacy and desire to help patients with cancer, it felt right to help cover 100 per cent of Ms Koh’s medical bills so that she can focus on her treatment and recovery, and not feel distressed by her bills,” she said.

Several readers also offered smaller sums to help defray the cost.

And AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company that produces the Enhertu drug she now needs, has offered to provide her with it. It costs about $10,000 per treatment. However, this is subject to certain compliance issues, which Dr Choo is hoping to resolve.

A grateful Ms Koh said: “Their kindness helps me feel less alone. And just when I thought I couldn’t go through anymore of it (it has been two years of chemotherapy treatment and its side effects), they help me push on in spite of weariness.”

She would like to thank all the “generous people whom I’ve never met” for their kind offers. She will not be accepting their offers, since help from the Emma Yong Fund and AstraZeneca is enough for her to continue with the treatment.

Ms Koh suffers from a rare cancer – human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive (HER2+) bile duct cancer – which afflicts about one in 3,500 cancer patients.

After it was diagnosed in June 2020, Dr Choo first put Ms Koh on standard chemotherapy treatment. When she stopped responding to the treatment, a second choice was used, but this too was not able to stop the spread of the cancer.

Oncologists say there are no standard treatments beyond this.

Dr Choo decided to put her on a drug that targets the HER2 protein, which causes cancers to spread much faster, to try to contain the disease. It worked.

But Great Eastern, the insurer with whom Ms Koh has a private hospital as-charged Integrated Shield Plan (IP), as well as a rider that pays the full cost of her portion of the bill, refused to pay for the new treatment.

GE said the IP contract has a clause saying it covers only drugs that have been approved for specific illnesses. The drug she was put on has only been approved by the Health Sciences Authority for HER+ breast cancer, and not for bile duct cancer.

More than a dozen oncologists The Straits Times spoke to said it is difficult to conduct large scale clinical trials for rare cancers – since patient numbers are low. And all said they do use drugs “off-label” – meaning the drug has been approved here, but not for that specific cancer, especially for the less common cancers.

Drug companies often feel the returns are not worth the cost and work required to seek approvals from regulators for such low numbers.

Dr Choo, who was chief of Gastrointestinal Oncology at National Cancer Centre Singapore before leaving for private practice in 2018, said there are some small-scale studies showing that the drug does work on the type of cancer Ms Koh has.

Insurers offering IP plans, which are integrated with MediShield Life, are divided on coverage of drugs which doctors think might help, but which are not specifically approved by the HSA.

At least three – AIA, Income and AXA – say they would cover such drugs. The Ministry of Health (MOH) said the basic MediShield Life national health insurance would also pay, subject to a monthly cap of $3,000.

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

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.

Stories Of Impact

Healing and hope for migrant workers

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
a group of people posing for a photo

Our decade-long partnership with HealthServe has helped Singapore’s only medical charity for migrant workers bring healthcare, mental health support and social assistance to this underserved community. CFS is commemorating 15 years of giving and this story is one of a three-part series that highlights the strong relationships CFS has fostered with charities over the years. 

They have helped me with everything. If I ever had a problem at the hospital, with my company or dormitory, they would step in. Here, I don’t have family. But HealthServe has helped me like family.

Like many migrant workers, Shah* came to Singapore to provide a better life for his family in Bangladesh. But soon after he arrived, he was struck with inflammatory bowel disease, causing gastric issues, skin problems and chest pain. All this came on top of the devastating diagnosis of his father’s cancer and his wife’s stomach ulcers. 

Shah was under immense pressure to take on loans to pay for multiple mounting medical bills in excess of $16,000. The financial and emotional stress caused his health to worsen. He is not alone in facing unexpected hardships while trying to provide for family back home. Close to one million low-wage foreign workers reside in Singapore. Access to affordable healthcare is limited for many of them and none were prepared, mentally or physically, for the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Joining forces to help an underserved community

Thousands of migrant workers were quarantined in cruise ships, hotels and dormitories when Covid-19 hit Singapore’s shores. Many struggled mentally, feeling helpless. Others needed medical care. These hardships became the catalyst for the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) to join hands with our long-time charity partner, HealthServe, and help this underserved community. CFS decided to pool donations into a Collective Impact Fund called the Sayang Sayang Fund. With a grant from this fund and other funders, HealthServe was able to deliver much-needed medical attention, mental health support and social assistance to approximately 7,500 workers. For these foreign workers on the margins of society, HealthServe offered healing and hope.

Alongside these grants, CFS supported HealthServe with grants from the KrisFam Fund and the Kampong Spirit Fund. The KrisFam Fund grant enabled HealthServe to treat workers with serious chronic health conditions and extend financial aid to those in need while the Kampong Spirit Fund grant allowed the charity to provide the migrant community with meals and groceries amid the on-off pandemic lockdowns in 2021. For beneficiaries whose illness or injuries made it impossible for them to work, the much-needed help and donations came as a huge relief. In all, HealthServe made about 470 visits to foreign worker dormitories across Singapore.

The continuation of a long and rewarding partnership 

HealthServe started as a small clinic providing medical and dental services to the vulnerable migrant-worker community in 2006. Today, HealthServe offers a range of expanded services comprising mental health programmes and counselling, casework support for injuries and salary-related issues, and other forms of social assistance, much of it supported by grants and donations facilitated by CFS.  Our partnership with this unique charity goes back to 2013.

Over the past 16 years, HealthServe has remained mission-focused in serving low-wage migrant workers who fall through the cracks, even as we tackle constant challenges and headwinds such as post-pandemic dips in both donations and volunteers. Only with your continued trust and support can we do more. We look forward to actively leading every migrant worker in need towards a life of health, well-being, and dignity, with you.

Dr Benjamin Kuan, CEO, HealthServe Ltd

HealthServe’s commitment to migrant workers’ holistic health, well-being and dignity aligns with our focus on promoting mental well-being and healthcare to marginalised communities.

“CFS has helped educate donors and stakeholders about the plight of this very underserved segment of society. As a result, HealthServe’s mission is more well understood,” says Dr Benjamin Kuan, CEO of HealthServe. “The partnership between HealthServe and CFS has grown, with CFS shifting its vision to long-term outcomes, aligning with HealthServe’s goal of preventive care, which is also in line with the nation’s Healthier SG strategy.” 

Philanthropic support is critical

Largely volunteer run, HealthServe operates with a small staff team and hundreds of medical and non-medical volunteers and interns. Fundraising can be a challenge, especially now that reduced charitable dollars tend to go towards causes supporting Singapore citizens post-pandemic. Philanthropic support from CFS donors therefore remains crucial. 

“Over the years, CFS has demonstrated its ability to form strategic partnerships to deliver funds to the community in the fastest and most effective way and HealthServe is confident that our partnership with CFS will remain relevant in serving the underserved segments in society,” says Dr Kuan.

We are proud to maintain a long-term partnership with HealthServe and are committed to working with other like-minded charities to bring greater support to Mental Well-being as a cause and to create greater impact for the underserved communities.

CFS is celebrating our anniversary throughout 2023—15 years of empowering donors to make a meaningful impact. Since our inception in 2008, we have received over S$292 million in donations in Singapore and disbursed over S$157 million in grants to over 400 charity partners.  

To discover how you can make a difference, please visit www.cf.org.sg/contact-us/get-in-touch/ 

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.

Trending Stories

Scroll to Top