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Media release: The first Singapore Youth Impact Collective to empower disadvantaged youths
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Media release: The first Singapore Youth Impact Collective to empower disadvantaged youths

John Doe
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A group of people posing (From left) James Tan, Tan-Wu Mei Ling, Justina Tan, Joyce Teo, Dr Ang Kiam Wee, Pang Sze Khai and Jacky Ang
  • This is the first initiative in Singapore that uses the collective impact model, which enables funders and non-profits to own and address complex social issues in a coordinated manner.
  • The Collective aims to increase the ability of disadvantaged youths to progress to working life through training and skills development.

Singapore, 9 October 2018 – The Singapore Youth Impact Collective (the “Collective”) launched two youth empowerment programmes and opened a new A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E. Centre at ITE College Central today, to help disadvantaged youths transition more successfully from the classroom to working life.

The Collective was formed when its members attended a Colabs series on Children & Youth in 2017, and realised that multiple stakeholders are needed to work together to find effective ways to help disadvantaged youths across various life stages.

They recognise that while education can help bridge social gaps, the environment and other socio-economic factors can affect some youths’ socio-emotional development, academic performance, aspirations and employability. This may hinder them in reaching their full potential and transitioning into independent working adults

The Collective comprises six members, namely Changi Foundation, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), Credit Suisse, Octava Foundation, SHINE Children & Youth Services (SHINE) and TOUCH Community Services (TOUCH). To date, the funders have pledged close to $1 million towards the programmes.

“The Singapore Youth Impact Collective is the first such collaboration in Singapore to use the collective impact model,” highlighted Joyce Teo, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, CFS. “This approach acknowledges the value of collaboration in the face of complex social issues that requires the coordinated efforts of multiple entities, usually from different sectors.

“CFS is glad to contribute as a backbone organisation by providing dedicated staff and resources to support this initiative and its participating partners to act in concert along mutual goals.”

Members of the Collective were drawn together through a common vision for change and formed an action plan that coordinates mutually agreed-upon activities which allow members to leverage on each other’s expertise and resources to achieve a set of shared outcomes.

The Collective aims to understand and establish the elements within its programmes that are effective in improving work-readiness for disadvantaged youths. It hopes that non-profits working with youths can then use this knowledge to achieve better outcomes in the future.

They also want to advocate for organisations across different sectors to adopt a collaborative ownership of social issues and be an example or model on how financial and non-financial resources can be provided to complement and build non-profits’ capabilities.

The Collective’s programmes are curated for youths aged 17 to 25 who may require support in school or after graduation as they seek employment. Their aim is to empower 230 youths to be work-ready over the next three years.

“It is a strategic decision for Changi Foundation to join the Collective,” said Ivy Choo, Head, Changi Foundation. “Apart from deepening our learning in the giving space, more importantly, it allows us to better address current needs in the community. By aligning our efforts with that of the other members in the Collective, we can create greater impact for the youths and their future.”

Jacky Ang, Singapore COO and Branch Manager of Credit Suisse AG, Singapore Branch,shared that Credit Suisse is a strong advocate for the collective impact model, having seen success in HK and Malaysia. “The Collective enables companies like Credit Suisse to play an active role as a corporate citizen beyond funding. Every member brings something different to the Collective, be it expertise, networks or in-kind contribution, thus increasing efficiency and avoiding duplication of efforts.”

“Apart from providing funding, Octava Foundation has discovered other ways to contribute towards work-readiness for disadvantaged youth. We realise that there are opportunities to connect the non-profits to businesses that we work with—some of these companies may be potential industry partners for SHINE and TOUCH,” noted Debbie Fang, Head, Octava Foundation.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for TOUCH to work together with like-minded partners to enhance youth development work and develop better training programmes,” shared Anita Low-Lim, Senior Director (Children and Youth Group), TOUCH. “We value the culture of open communication and trust because it allows everyone at the table to learn from each other and explore better ways of working.”

“Through the Collective, SHINE hopes to extend its work to address needs that we were not previously able to on our own,” affirmed Benjamin Teo, Centre Director for Yishun Centre, SHINE. “The collective impact model brings us all to the table equitably, and allows non-profits to tackle operational challenges alongside funders. I believe this will help us work towards a more lasting impact for our youths and their families.”

With the launch of the programmes, TOUCH and SHINE welcome moreindustry partners andcompanies who are willing to provide opportunities for internships and job immersion experiences for the youths.

Interested parties who would like to help with training and work opportunities are invited to contact youthcollective@cf.org.sg for more information on how they can support this programme.

ABOUT THE PROGRAMMES

The Collective’s goal is to improve work-readiness for disadvantaged young persons by:
–      encouraging their attainment of educational or vocational qualifications;
–      developing their socio-emotional skills and personal assets; and
–      changing their aspirations and providing them access to employment opportunities.

TOUCH and SHINE’s programmes include these elements in their programme design, and are targeted at youth at different stages of transition to work. TOUCH works with students in school, while SHINE will work with youth who may have finished their national service or graduated from school, who can benefit from additional support in gaining employment.

A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E @ ITE College Central
TOUCH’s A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E is based in ITE College Central. The programme complements the vocational training that ITE students are learning in school. It develops students’ interests into practical market skills through close mentorship from industry experts and TOUCH youth coaches.

Through this framework, the students are able to form a secure attachment with mentors and be guided in the right direction in terms of developing their passions into practical market skills. A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E involves seven Interest Groups in areas such as Barista, Adventure Facilitation, Adventure Sports, Outdoor Events Management, Wedding Planning, Culinary Arts and Photography.

YOUTH FORTE
SHINE’s YOUTH FORTE programme targets youths 17 to 21 years’ old who are not in school or training, or sustainable employment of longer than six months, and are facing transition issues to workforce.

YOUTH FORTE takes the youths through various stages including evaluation, individual coaching, socio-emotional training, employability skills training, internships or project-based experience, and vocational training leading to WSQ certification. Throughout the process, youths receive individual life coaching.

Youths are deemed to have completed the programme when, armed with better socio-emotional competencies and the confidence to deal with work challenges, they stay in employment for at least six months.

ABOUT THE SINGAPORE YOUTH IMPACT COLLECTIVE MEMBERS

Changi Foundation
Changi Foundation was launched in April 2012 to support and reach out to disadvantaged youths, a social cause that Changi Airport Group (CAG) has supported since 2010. Each year, CAG allocates a percentage of its net profit to the Changi Foundation, which supports youth community efforts. Through the programmes and projects funded by the Changi Foundation, CAG aims to touch the lives of 600 youths each year.

Community Foundation of Singapore
The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) is a non-profit organisation founded in 2008 to encourage and enable philanthropy in Singapore. CFS matches donors’ interests with causes and offer ways for them to make a greater impact through their charitable funds. CFS also collaborates with charity partners to identify programmes that support diverse communities. Its purpose is to enable real and meaningful change while inspiring a philanthropic culture in Singapore. CFS is a registered charity with Institution of a Public Character status.

Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse AG is one of the world’s leading financial services providers. At Credit Suisse, we believe that education is one of the keys to inclusive economic growth. Credit Suisse’s Global Education Initiative and our regional education activities support a variety of programs improving access to education and quality educational opportunities. At Credit Suisse Asia Pacific, our philanthropy work supports selected organisations that provide disadvantaged children and youth with access to quality education and employability skills that pave their entry to the workforce. We also support programs that build the entrepreneurial mindset in young people across all societal groups.

Octava Foundation
Founded in 2016, Octava Foundation seeks to provide access to education and opportunities for children and youth from economically disadvantaged families to enable them to have sustainable livelihoods, achieve their aspirations and achieve self-efficacy.

SHINE Children & Youth Services
SHINE believes in the right of every child and youth to shine. Towards this end, it reaches out to children, youth and their families through school-based, centre-based and community-based social work and educational psychology programmes so as to enable children and youth to maximise their potential.

TOUCH Community Services
TOUCH Community Services is a not-for-profit charitable organisation, dedicated to meeting the needs of children from low-income or single parent families, youths-at-risk, needy families, people with special and healthcare needs, and frail elderly. Through its network of 18 services, TOUCH is committed to serving people of all ages, races, religions and backgrounds. Each year, its programmes and services meet the needs of more than 31,000 clients.

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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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The Straits Times: Legacy of giving lives on

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John Doe
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In his final year as president, Mr S R Nathan – together with a few of his close friends – started discussing with me the idea of starting a philanthropic fund to help “uplift” children from poor families.

Coinciding with the launch of Mr Nathan’s memoir An Unexpected Journey: Path To The Presidency in 2011, the S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund was established to provide financial support to disadvantaged young people by helping them complete their education.

Despite Mr Nathan’s initial reluctance on naming the fund after himself (the humble and unassuming man that he was), we were glad he eventually relented, as it would help promote the concept of community ownership and inspire others to do the same.

Administered by the Community Foundation of Singapore, the fund has since supported close to 1,000 Institute of Technical Education, polytechnic and university students by providing them bursaries, scholarships and monthly financial assistance.

The fund resonated with Mr Nathan’s beliefs and conviction about giving and receiving kindness, which we witnessed first-hand while working with him to manage the grants.

He was always involved and would make time to meet the many recipients – getting to know them and their families. He would even follow up by sending handwritten notes of thanks and encouragement.

Mr Nathan has touched many young lives through this fund. His death leaves a void, but his legacy of giving lives on. I hope that in time to come, those whom he has helped will do the same by reaching out to help others.

Laurence Lien Tsung Chern
Chairman
Community Foundation of Singapore

Link to story: http://www.straitstimes.com/forum/letters-in-print/legacy-of-giving-lives-on

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The New Age Parents: Interview With Leading Foundation Teacher Award Winners Jenny Tan And Chen Yit Toun

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One has been an early childhood educator for over a decade, while the other works with children with special needs. TNAP speaks to two early childhood educators on the biggest misconception people have about their jobs and what inspires them. Read more.

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Stories Of Impact

Championing inclusive employment for youths with special needs

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John Doe
a person in a mask mixing food in a mixer

For more than 10 years, CFS donors have supported the Metta Welfare Association and its trailblazing Metta Café through the Work Readiness Programme, which equips youths with special needs with the vocational and soft skills they need for the workplace. 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.

I am grateful to my trainers for guiding me along patiently. I’ve learnt many things here and I hope to become a baker one day.

Toh Ming Yi hopes to become a baker one day. The 26-year-old is an apprentice at Metta Café. Under the guidance of patient teachers, he is learning to make cookies, muffins and other baked goods. He is also picking up valuable and complementary life skills like managing money and communicating with customers, which will help him in the working world. 

Like the other Metta School graduates with mild intellectual disability and/or autism who work at this inclusive café, cheerful Ming Yi has the right support to help make his dreams come true.

Building a long and fulfilling relationship

Metta Café is part of Metta Welfare Association (MWA), a charity set up in 1992 which has uplifted countless lives of those with special needs. The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) has had a long and valuable relationship with MWA since 2011. To date, CFS donors have generously contributed over $736,000 to MWA and have been a pillar of support for Metta Café’s Work Readiness Programme.  

CFS’ continued support has enabled us to continue empowering more individuals in need. Besides equipping our youths with life skills that will better facilitate their integration into society, we were also able to fund programmes that develop social and communication skills to increase their employment opportunities.

Felicia Wee, Deputy Executive Director

Creating employment opportunities through the Work Readiness Programme

The Work Readiness Programme provides apprenticeship opportunities, on-the-job training, job attachments, life-skills training, internship training and open employment to young adults with special needs to prepare them to contribute to the workforce. 

Initially offered solely to Metta School graduates, the programme has delivered such positive outcomes that students with special educational needs from other institutes such as the Institution of Higher Learning and the Institute of Technical Education also seek out internships at Metta Café. 

In 2020, the café became a WSQ In-house Approved Organisation to conduct the Food Safety Level 1 certification. This enables a wider range of participants to upgrade their skills, creating greater inclusiveness and opportunities for them in society. 

Metta Café’s Work Readiness Programme resonates with CFS as it is designed to improve employability, one of our key focal areas for grant making. We look for causes that empower marginalised job seekers to become contributing members of society. This can be through education, exposure to career pathways or advocating for more inclusivity.

CFS has been giving out grants to the programme since it began in 2016 and this enduring support has enabled Metta Café to increase its apprenticeship numbers.

“We value CFS as our long-term partner,” says Felicia Wee, Deputy Executive Director of MWA. “Their donors’ contributions to MWA have been significant. With their collective support, we have been able to help more youths with special needs maximise their potential.”

Encouraging long-term support through legacy giving

More recently, CFS and Metta have been working closely to encourage more legacy giving. Legacy gifts are planned future gifts such as bequests of assets or memorial funds, which offer a more sustainable and reliable source of fundraising for charities. It also opens up ways for donors to create an impact well beyond their lifetime.

With guidance from CFS, Metta has been actively engaging donors on its long-term plans and accepting all forms of legacy gifts including CPF and insurance nominations.

We are proud to maintain a long-term relationship with Metta and are committed to working with other like-minded charities to bring greater impact to youth with special needs under the CFS cause Improving Employability.

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/. 

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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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