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Our Annual Report 2021 is now available for download
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Our Annual Report 2021 is now available for download

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We are pleased to share that the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) Annual Report 2021 has been published. Download your copy here to learn more about the year’s highlights and our impact on the community. 

Even as the pandemic gripped our nation, we are humbled to report that – together with our donors, charities, and partners – CFS delivered a year of bold action and made tremendous progress on our mission to facilitate impactful giving.

CFS delivered a record of $24 million in grants – the highest since our inception – disbursed to 291 organisations and 13 individuals, and a total of $5.7 million via the establishment of 19 new funds for the financial year ended 31 March 2021.

The Annual Report contains the following information:

  • Corporate Information 
  • Key Highlights
  • Forward Vision
  • Governance and Policies
  • Financial Statements
  • Grantees List

Regarding the year under review, the report reflects the information contained in CFS’ annual results, as well as the audited consolidated financial statements. 

CFS stands ready to work alongside all of you to champion greater giving and create a better world for future generations. To find out more about CFS, get in touch with us.

About CFS

The Community Foundation of Singapore is a non-profit organisation founded in 2008 to encourage and enable philanthropy in Singapore. We match donors’ interests with causes and offer ways for them to make a greater impact through their charitable funds. We also collaborate with charity partners to identify and develop programmes that support diverse communities. 

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Stories Of Impact

#MyGivingJourney x Hauw Soo Hoon: Insuring the future for vulnerable students 

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#MyGivingJourney is a series by CFS to celebrate women and their work in philanthropy. This story features Hauw Soo Hoon, Programme Director at Ulu Pandan Stars and a member of CFS’s Programmes & Grants Committee.  

Hauw Soo Hoon has always loved mathematics. So when she discovered some students in her estate were struggling with the subject, getting just 15 marks out of 100, her heart plummeted. She wanted to help them and even get them to love numbers. An opportunity came through her grassroots contacts who were looking for someone to helm a programme to tutor children from rental flats and troubled families.  

That was in 2008 and the qualified actuary had just retired after a 30-year career in the insurance industry, which included senior roles at the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Great Eastern Life Assurance. Together with five volunteers, Soo Hoon started up Ulu Pandan Stars (UP Stars), an initiative of the PAP Community Foundation and Ulu Pandan Citizen Consultative Committee.  

UP Stars began with maths tuition but classes have since expanded to reading, phonics, science and computer applications. It also runs non-academic activities such as sports, social-emotional learning and digital literacy. Every year, UP Stars have about 60 students and its pool of volunteers has swelled to 110. Most are youths from tertiary institutions.  

Soo Hoon was blown away by the commitment and big-heartedness of these young Singaporeans. “But having a good heart is not enough. You need to equip them with skills or you will have volunteer fatigue,” she says. She brings her wealth of public and corporate sector experience of managing teams, developing talent and running an organisation to UP Stars. Volunteers, meanwhile, come away learning about project management, human resources, leadership – as well as empathy. 

“Our youth volunteers truly understand what poverty means and how education is no longer a social leveller,” says Soo Hoon. Her fervent hope is that her volunteers become future leaders who are compassionate and that the ones who choose public service roles will create sound policies that benefit the vulnerable in society. 

Aside from UP Stars, Soo Hoon is on the board of the Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC), a charity that provides affordable trust services for people with special needs. She also serves on the Medishield Life Council and the CPF Advisory Panel, besides being a partner at iGlobe Partners, a venture capital company. For her services with SNTC, Soo Hoon received the 2019 MSF Outstanding Volunteer Award.  

Soo Hoon and her husband also give back regularly with the help of CFS. The couple decided to donate via CFS as it can pinpoint causes that best fit a donor’s area of interest. “CFS can also identify charities which are under-resourced as they will check on reserves and funding and do the necessary due diligence,” she adds. “When there is proper matching, giving back becomes more fulfilling and effective.” While education is the focus of their giving, they have also donated generously to support needy families.  

Begin your own journey of giving with CFS. Read more stories about the #MyGivingJourney series here. 

This article was written by Sunita Sue Leng, a former financial analyst and journalist, who believes that the written word can be a force for good. She hopes to someday write something worth plagiarising. 

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News

New office for S’poreans to partner the Government and give ideas

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CFS is pleased to be a part of Forward SG, as we build our shared future, together.

We know that collective effort – through financial support, knowledge-sharing, and community collaboration – is the bedrock of a stronger, more inclusive society.

As part of the Forward SG movement, CFS will rev up our mission to forge stronger connections between generous donors and local communities, inspiring those who’ve thrived to give back, create a positive ripple effect in our community – and strengthen our social compact.

Donations will be channelled to where they’re needed most, paving the way for enduring, meaningful change. Read the news below to learn more about the latest Forward SG updates.

To spur civic participation, a new office will be set up to create more space for Singaporeans to work with the Government.

The Singapore Government Partnerships Office, one of the recommendations of the Forward Singapore report, will lead national efforts to engage citizens who want to contribute, by facilitating interactions between them and relevant government agencies.

The office is part of a broader shift to empower people to take individual and collective actions, in the hope that building a shared future will foster unity.

“We recognise that there are some areas where it may be better for the Government to step back and allow more space for citizen participation,” said the report. 

“We will therefore introduce new ways to promote civic participation. We will also support more ground-up efforts by Singaporeans to shape and improve their communities.”

The Government will actively seek input and work closely with all stakeholders and partners, said the report prepared by the fourth-generation political leaders led by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.

Besides creating more avenues for civic participation and ground-up efforts, the report also sketched out ways to nurture a stronger culture of giving and for people to support their fellow Singaporeans.

The recommendations follow the 16-month-long Forward Singapore exercise that saw more than 200,000 Singaporeans contribute their suggestions. 

At a press conference on Friday, Mr Wong said: “This is more than just an engagement exercise. It’s really a partnership effort… between Government, people, community groups, employers, businesses, (it) encompasses our tripartite partnership.

“It’s really a whole-of-Singapore partnership, and that’s the only way that we can implement these big moves and these big shifts together.”

Ultimately, the aim is to build a vibrant, thriving and resilient society where the broad middle enjoys progress, the vulnerable receive care, and the better-off do their part to improve the lives of fellow citizens, said the report.

“We ask that Singaporeans step forward to give back to our society, especially those who have done well and benefited from the system,” it added. 

This could be through financial donations, contributing knowledge, or working with community organisations. 

To this end, a new programme will be introduced to better connect donors to local communities and channel donations to where they are needed over a sustained period.

This will be done in collaboration with the Community Foundation of Singapore and Community Chest.

For example, a donor could support the educational needs of children from several lower-income families not just financially, but also in the areas of mentorship, internship and job opportunities, to help build their social capital and networks.

Businesses can also do more for the wider community, said the report.

It held up business leaders-turned-philanthropists such as Hajjah Fatimah, who donated land to build the Hajjah Fatimah Mosque, Govindasamy Pillai who set up the Ramakrishna Mission charity, and Tan Tock Seng, who donated money towards the building of what became Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

To guide companies in designing business practices and operations that can benefit society, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre has set up the new Company of Good strategy, and 55 companies have adopted this corporate purpose framework.

Young people can give their views on policies through youth panels that were launched in May. These panels will look into financial security, careers and lifelong learning, digital well-being, and environment and sustainability. 

Mr Wong said some of the top issues for youth that surfaced during the Forward SG exercise were jobs and career choices, mental wellness and sustainability.

“There was a very strong sense of wanting to give back and support others who are less fortunate,” he said, adding that a group of young people worked closely with the Ministry of Social and Family Development team to come up with recommendations to uplift lower-income families.

Another aspect of fostering unity involves strengthening multiracialism and the Singaporean identity, said the report, adding that the Government will do its part by continuing to expand spaces for more interactions between different groups. 

More will be done to promote collaborations between the various self-help groups, and to encourage more Singaporeans to be involved in racial harmony programmes in the community, said the report.

It noted that sustained effort to sensitively manage the difficult issues on race and to create shared experiences through school, and community and national events, has allowed Singapore to enjoy several decades of racial and religious harmony.

“But we must have the humility to acknowledge that our multiracialism is still a work in progress,” it said.

Even as more avenues will be provided for people to contribute ideas, the report said, not all ideas can be accepted and, sometimes, there may be differing views on how to achieve an outcome.

In such cases, the Government will explain its considerations, and take the “practical and pragmatic” approach by looking at data and evidence and considering the circumstances and context before deciding on a way forward.

“Such differences are not so fundamental because our ends are the same, and it is a matter of working out the best approach to take,” said the report.

From Friday to Sunday, Singaporeans will be able to learn more about the initiatives in the report at the Forward Singapore Festival at Silver Garden – Silver Leaf at Gardens by the Bay. After this, the festival roadshow will make its way to various heartland locations until Jan 28, 2024.

There will be exhibition booths on the key policy shifts highlighted in the report, an interactive booth where people can create their own avatars to discover what the shared future holds, and a holographic booth where they can make pledges for Singapore.

Read more about the Forward Singapore report.

 

Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction

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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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Events

Giving through the generations

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Increasingly, individuals and family businesses are consciously looking at ways to create positive social impact through philanthropy – but in today’s world, what does creating a legacy mean from divergent perspectives, from individuals to families, from parent to child?

Last November, the CRIB x CFS Legacy and Impact cocktail event brought two prominent families, with extensive histories of giving, together with philanthropists and social capital investors to reflect upon these questions.

Moderated by Patsian Low, the panelists included Richard Eu, Chairman of Eu Yan Sang and his daughter Rebecca; and Keith Chua, Executive Chairman of ABR Holdings (and CFS board member), and his daughter Sharon.

To kick off the evening, Catherine Loh, CEO of the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), reflected upon the challenge facing families today. “When it comes to creating a family legacy, it’s about understanding how to bridge the different concerns and interests of each generation, and trying to align giving to key values,” she commented.

While members of the older generation might be more focused on passing on family values, Catherine observed, the younger generation is keen to explore new approaches to giving. “Many of our next generation donors have a strong social consciousness and feel they don’t need to wait until they’re richer, older and retired to start thinking about giving back,” she said.

Though her family has traditionally supported education and healthcare, Rebecca Eu struck a chord when she shared how she started social enterprise Love, Mei in a vastly different field, helping victims of human trafficking in the Phillipines. “I don’t think legacy is limited to your blood ties,” she proposed, “Instead, legacy moves on with the project you adopt and the people that you work with.”

Reflecting today’s shift towards strategic philanthropy, Sharon Chua shared how her professional experience with philanthropy advisory has empowered her to become a better steward of her family’s wealth. “I learnt how to evaluate impact, the sustainability of projects, and how to forage good partnerships, and that helps with my own family’s philanthropy. I’ve always believed philanthropy is something you need to be personally engaged and committed to,” she shared.

One audience member posed a question to both fathers on how they would manage their children’s future giving decisions to avoid conflict.

Richard espoused offering broad guidelines to one’s children and suggested “storytelling” as a way of passing on family values. “When your family is used to hearing stories, such as why your great grandfather did certain things, it becomes ingrained in your family’s DNA. The legacy you leave behind is not about having a building or place named after you, but the lives that you impact.”

Keith reflected on his role as a trustee for the giving of earlier generations, and proposed older family members play a key role in “setting mechanisms in place” for the next generation.

Keith said, “CFS provided us with an avenue to create a fund to leave something behind for the next generation and share it with our wider family. Under this structure, the funds will carry on for a certain period of time. Once you’ve set certain things in place, you can bring the next generation along for the ride, and trust them with the responsibility when it’s their turn.”

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News

Fewer homeless people sleeping on S’pore streets last year; city area has highest number

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The number of homeless people in Singapore fell slightly last year, at a time when homelessness was on the rise in many countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the issue of homelessness also became less visible, as more people who would have slept on the streets went to stay at temporary shelters.
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.

The second nationwide street count of the homeless here found 1,036 people last year – 7 per cent less than the 1,115 people during the first such count in 2019.

That first nationwide street count has been described as a landmark study of an issue that was hidden from public discourse until recent years.

While the overall number has fallen slightly, where the homeless make their bed for the night has also changed.

The second street count found that those sleeping on the streets fell by 41 per cent from 1,050 in 2019 to 616 last year, while those staying at a temporary shelter for the homeless shot up from 65 to 420 in the same time period.

Dr Ng Kok Hoe, a senior research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, led a team of researchers at the school’s Social Inclusion Project to do the street count. They were aided by over 200 volunteers who pounded the streets, including combing 12,000 blocks of flats, late at night between February and April last year to count the number of people sleeping in public spaces.

The data on the number staying at temporary shelters for the homeless, which was provided by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), was included for the first time in last year’s count for a fuller understanding of the state of homelessness here.

The 78-page report was released on Thursday (Aug 11). The project was not commissioned by the Government and was funded by the Community Foundation of Singapore, Dr Ng said.

He said government agencies and volunteers reached out to those sleeping rough during the circuit breaker in 2020 to refer them to shelters and many of the homeless, who were also concerned about their health and safety, decided to go into one.

Some religious and charity groups opened their premises for the homeless for the night, as demand for places in such Safe Sound Sleeping Places soared. Two new transitional shelters, which offer a longer stay, also started operation in January last year, the report said.

These factors led to more staying at shelters and fewer on the streets, Dr Ng said.

From the second street count, the homeless were found sleeping in most parts of Singapore, from Bedok to Jurong West to Yishun. But more of them were found in larger, older and poorer neighbourhoods.

Some 72 persons were found sleeping in the City area, or downtown, which has the largest number of homeless persons.

The city area, or downtown, has the largest number of homeless people, though it fell last year from the 2019 count.

Most of the homeless are elderly men and the report pointed out that few women sleep on the streets due to safety concerns.

Last year’s count found a sharp decline in those sleeping rough in commercial buildings, like shopping malls and office blocks, and more slept at places like void decks, parks and playgrounds.

The report pointed out that while the pandemic triggered their admission into a shelter, the homeless person’s housing woes started long before Covid-19 struck.

Highly subsidised public rental housing will always be the last safety net for the most vulnerable, Dr Ng said.

However, he singled out the design of the Joint Singles Scheme, which is under the public rental housing scheme, as a “significant contributing factor to homelessness”. This is because two singles, who are often strangers, share a tiny HDB rental flat which usually have no bedrooms, and the lack of privacy or personal space may lead to conflict.

And some would rather sleep on the streets instead, he said.

The HDB and the Ministry of National Development (MND) recognise the challenges some have applying for or sharing a rental flat and they have been reviewing and adjusting the Joint Singles Scheme in recent years, the MSF said in a statement in response to the street count.

For example, since December last year (2021), the HDB and MND started a pilot scheme where social service agencies match tenants with similar preferences and habits to share a flat. Under this pilot, singles can apply for a public rental flat by themselves, without having to find a flatmate first.

Flats under this pilot come with partitions installed

Applicants’ eligibility and rent are assessed individually.

The HDB and MND are assessing the effectiveness of this pilot project to see whether to scale it up over time, the statement said.

The MSF said there has been a steady and collective progress in whole-of-society efforts to reach out to and support rough sleepers, to help them off the streets and into shelters.

It cited the 57-member Partners Engaging and Empowering Rough Sleepers (Peers) Network, which comprises government agencies, religious groups and charities working together to ensure better coordination and synergy in the delivery of services to help the homeless.

The network’s partners have set up Safe Sound Sleeping Places. There are now about  20 such Places, which shelter about 100 homeless individuals. In addition, there are currently six transitional shelters serving families and about 270 individuals.

Since April 2020, over 680 homeless individuals who stayed at the various shelters have moved on to longer-term housing.

And since April this year, the MSF has been working with partners from the Peers Network and academic advisers to plan regular street counts. The first such coordinated street count will take place by the end of the year.

It said: “The street count will help us to collectively better understand the scale and geographical spread of rough sleeping in Singapore and render coordinated support to rough sleepers in need.”

Who were the homeless during the pandemic

Long-term homeless (those who were homeless before the pandemic) Newly homeless (those who had not slept rough before the pandemic) Transnational homeless (Singaporeans who live in Indonesia and Malaysia but travel to Singapore for work)
Sex  More men than women • Mix of men and women • Almost all men
Age • From 30s to 70s • From 30s to 70s • Mostly in their 50s
Family relationships • Almost all divorced, separated or never married • Having past conflict and estrangement, with many having lost contact with their family • Almost all divorced, separated or never married • Family relationships distant and strained, but connection remains • Long-term drift and overseas travel • Some had a spouse and young children in their adoptive countries whom they are still connected to
Work and finances • Low-wage and insecure jobs • Extreme poverty • Low-wage and insecure jobs, with a few having had better paying jobs in the past • Difficulty meeting basic needs • Regular border crossings for low-wage and insecure jobs in Singapore • A few did informal work outside Singapore • Low income
Housing histories • Lost matrimonial home or never purchased housing • Encountered barriers in public rental system • Episodes of low- cost market rentals • Lost matrimonial home or never purchased housing • Moved frequently to stay with family, friends • In low-cost market rental units • Lived in Malaysia or Indonesia • Encountered difficulties obtaining public housing in Singapore for non-citizen family members
Rough sleeping • From a few months to many years • No more than a few days when displaced during the pandemic • A mix of experiences, from rough sleeping to staying in homeless shelters
How they entered a shelter* • Found by volunteers or field workers while rough sleeping during pandemic • Some self-referrals • Self-referrals when pandemic disrupted housing arrangements • Most were stopped at immigration checkpoints and directed to a shelter after border closures**

*Homelessness counts usually include both rough sleepers (primary homelessness) and persons in homeless shelters (secondary homelessness).

**Those entering Singapore from Malaysia just before the borders were closed were identified as having no housing and referred for assistance so they could comply with Covid-19 rules on staying indoors

Table: STRAITS TIMES GRAPHICS  Source: LEE KUAN YEW SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY

If you would like to know more about the Sayang Sayang Fund, please visit here. This article was originally published in The Straits Times here. Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.
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