News
Our Annual Report 2022 is now available for download
wavy line banner

News

News

Our Annual Report 2022 is now available for download

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
a cover of cfs annual report 2022

We are proud to announce that the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) Annual Report 2022 has been published.

Download your copy here to learn more about the year’s highlights and our impact on the community.

Amid continued disruption from COVID-19 and the uneven recovery that followed, we took transformative action to push forward with our donors, charities and partners. We saw a record number of new funds and unprecedented donor generosity. Together, our grantmaking supported the immediate and emergent needs of our beneficiaries and partners.

For the financial year ended 31 March 2022, CFS received a record of $46.6 million in donations. We welcomed 37 givers to our community through the establishment of 24 new donor-advised funds (DAFs). $18.3 million in grants was made to 240 organisations and 14 individuals during the financial year.

The Annual Report contains the following information:

  • Corporate Information
  • Growth in Recent Years
  • Impact Highlights and Transformation
  • Corporate Sustainability
  • Forward Vision
  • Governance and Policies
  • Financial Statements
  • Grantees List

CFS is committed to working with donors, charities, partners and various sector leaders in the ecosystem to build a more vibrant, inclusive and caring Singapore. To find out more about CFS, get in touch with us.

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.

Opinion

4 Critical Educational Gaps for Disadvantaged Children & Youth in Singapore

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
a group of people sitting at a table with a group of children

While abilities and talents are distributed equally across the population, access to educational resources is often not. Children from low-income families are the ones who pay the price. Without the right educational opportunities, they underperform in school and end up with lower-paying jobs. Studies show that students from low-income families are more than four times as likely to be low performers than their affluent peers. (OECD, 2016) Without intervention, this cycle of income inequality will persist.

The growing special needs community is also in need of our urgent attention. One key area that we highlight is the need for integration with mainstream students. There needs to be greater awareness about creating better school and work opportunities for this community while preparing them to function independently as adults.

In this article, we highlight critical educational gaps for disadvantaged and vulnerable children and ways to level the playing field and improve their opportunities for social mobility.

#1 Funding for Early Education

The pre-school landscape presents over 1,900 childcare centres and kindergartens. They offer a wide-ranging fee structure that can range from a few dollars to over S$2,000 a month, depending on whether they are full or half-day programmes and with or without subsidies. 

During these early childhood years, pre-school education provides the foundation for children. It helps them develop the confidence and social skills to get them ready for formal education. However, low-income families may struggle even with subsidised fees. 

Children from families that can set aside additional resources for pre-school education have more opportunities to strengthen their social and behavioural skills than those from disadvantaged backgrounds. As the child is placed into a learning environment earlier in pre-school, they are weaned into the academic lifestyle earlier, which also aids their performance in formal education. Studies show that social-economically advantaged children in Singapore outperformed disadvantaged students in reading by 104 points. (PISA, 2018

While pre-school education is not compulsory, it is critical to ensure that all children get off the starting block of formal school without too much difficulty. Therefore, parents must understand the importance of pre-school education and available financial assistance schemes. It ensures that the children have access to critical education in their formative years.

#2 Developing Life Skills

A child’s home environment has a powerful impact on school readiness. Parents or caregivers in low-income homes tend to be busy working or absent; they have little time to support their children’s learning needs. Children often do not receive the stimulation they need and do not learn the social skills required to prepare them for school.

The resulting lower self-confidence, lower motivation, and reduced resilience pose further obstacles in their struggle for social mobility.

Activities such as team sports, drama, and public speaking encourage interaction. They are great for boosting confidence, self-esteem, and socio-emotional skills. We need funding for programmes to provide alternative avenues for these children to develop these essential skills.

#3 Rising Cost of Higher Education

Education has not been spared, with consumer prices increasing steadily over the years. 

Singapore’s average annual education inflation rate from 2001 to 2021 was 2.87%. Higher education, specifically polytechnic diploma fees, rose 20% between 2015 and 2022. The average cost of a 3-year polytechnic education is close to $37,000. (MOE 2022)

Although statistics show that a polytechnic graduate earns 1.4 times more than an ITE graduate, many students will not choose to study at a polytechnic. One reason for this is due to the high school fees. Those who do may drop out of school for the same reason. 

Even with existing public financial aid programmes, students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds still struggle to pay their school and living expenses. More financial assistance from the private sector, in the form of pocket money, bursaries, or scholarships, will help these students bolster the shortfall in higher education expenses.

#4 Lack of Integration

For the special needs community, a critical piece that is sorely lacking is inclusivity. Special education schools are separate from mainstream schools in Singapore, and students do not intermingle.  However, research shows that special needs children benefit from interacting with peers with stronger academic abilities. This benefit goes both ways, as children who have interacted with people with special needs from young develop greater empathy and respect for diversity. (Association for Psychological Science, 2014).

This is a strong push for special education and mainstream schools to work together to create opportunities for meaningful interaction between their students. Children with disabilities are given a chance to develop their potential and thrive in the same environment as their peers.

Funding is required to beef up resources, training and partnerships to facilitate exchange among educators from different backgrounds. We could achieve greater harmonisation across mainstream primary schools, special education, pre-schools and early intervention sectors. An inclusive educational environment would offer a curriculum that caters to different needs, paces of learning as well as provide the facilities and resources required.

Other than school, these children tend to spend less time in public spaces or in recreational activities. Sometimes it is due to practical reasons like access difficulties, which is a great pity as they miss out on opportunities to connect to the larger community. Funding can be directed towards the intentional design of public spaces, sports, and cultural activities so that those with special needs can feel that they are truly a part of society.

Do more with your giving—how CFS can help

To enable every child to shine to their fullest potential and better support the disadvantaged, CFS can help you make a positive impact by aligning your donations with the needs of this community. 

CFS is a cause-neutral organisation that enables us to support grant-making to a wide range of charitable areas that match the donors’ interests and uplift diverse communities in Singapore. These charitable areas include children, youth, education, families, seniors, persons with disabilities, sports, health, animal welfare, environment to arts and heritage.

We partner with charities that focus on clearly identified problem areas or social gaps which might be under-supported. Charities must also demonstrate measurable outcomes and good stewardship of funds.

A simple and effective way to contribute to a variety of causes in Singapore is by setting up a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF). A DAF can be set up by an individual, a beneficiary of a will, a trust, or a family office. CFS will handle all fund administration and leverage our unparalleled insight into Singapore’s charitable landscape to provide philanthropy advice that ensures your giving is targeted, accountable and impactful. CFS strives to ensure that every grant which goes out creates positive change.

As a donor, you will save on legal expenses and enjoy upfront tax deductions at the prevailing rate on eligible donations. Donors will also receive regular statements tracking incoming donations to the DAF and outgoing disbursements to charities. CFS has an established track record when it comes to setting up DAFs and our DAF payout rates outperformed the entire US DAF industry by 12% and their community foundations by two times.

If you would like to begin your giving journey with CFS, get in touch with us.

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.

Opinion

How Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) present an innovative and structured solution to Singapore’s philanthropic landscape

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
a hands holding small wooden blocks with letters on them

A history of giving in Singapore and its philanthropic landscape

Philanthropy has seen an evolution over the years, which saw a corresponding increase in family support services due to the development of more HDBs to house our growing population.

As the philanthropic landscape developed and progressed, there was a more targeted response in the 90s by philanthropists seeking to fill in the gaps in philanthropy and wanting to have more of a say in order to shake up the system.

As a result, CFS was founded to promote philanthropy, seeing as philanthropists were stepping up and starting family foundations, and how Singapore has a very active philanthropy landscape in spite of its size.

To date, the current number of charities in Singapore stands at over 2000. However, it was not only charities that received donations but also social enterprises and ground-up groups, especially during the Covid-19 period.

There are very stringent processes to achieve a charity status, charities in Singapore are generally well managed and of the 2000 charities, 600 have attained an IPC status.

“Singaporeans have also been extremely generous thus far, and gave a total of 1.9 billion in 2019. This generosity is an important focal point, as there is an onus and more incentives for charities to work directly with philanthropists and givers to come up with new and innovative programmes,” says Catherine, CEO of CFS.

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) and CFS’s role as a community foundation in Singapore

CFS’s role as a community foundation in the philanthropic ecosystem is to enable philanthropy, foster giving and promote values such as the Legacy Giving Initiative (LGI). The LGI is a concept that anyone in Singapore, regardless of status and wealth, can leave a legacy by giving to a cause close to their heart.

As philanthropy continues to evolve, donors have become more discerning and want to know how the impact of their philanthropy is measured.

There is also a need for philanthropy in Singapore despite it being a wealthy city state, as there is still relative poverty and thus a need to uplift every segment of the nation. There are key issues that need support and funding in Singapore, three areas of which are our rapidly aging society, social income inequality, and inclusivity and sustainability; where people with disabilities and environmental issues need support.

CFS is also seeing an increase in international donors in Singapore, which could be Singaporeans looking to expand their overseas businesses in Singapore, or foreigners setting up family offices in Singapore.

By partnering with CFS, a donor can establish a named donor-advised fund (DAF), a modern philanthropy tool.

A DAF is a simple and cost-effective way to support a wide range of charities in Singapore. CFS will handle the fund administration and provide philanthropy advice to ensure that our donor’s giving makes a strategic impact to the causes that our donors support. 

With a DAF, donors can enjoy upfront tax deductions in Singapore at the prevailing tax deduction rate1 on eligible donations.

1Subject to IRAS regulations. 

How to get started? 

DAFs can be set up by an individual, a beneficiary of a will, a trust, or by a family office. 

CFS philanthropy advisors will inquire about the donor’s interests and leveraging on deep understanding of local issues and extensive network, CFS has unparalleled insight into Singapore’s charitable landscape and community needs to translate the donor’s interests and goals into a defined plan.

CFS handles all the administration required in managing the DAF, donors will save on legal expenses and enjoy tax deductions upfront. Donors will also receive regular statements tracking incoming donations to the DAF and outgoing disbursements to charities.

CEO Catherine Loh gives a WMI-GFO Circle Impact Masterclass on CFS’s role in philanthropy in Singapore 

CFS’s CEO Catherine Loh was invited as a guest speaker and part of the panel to speak about CFS and philanthropy in a WMI-GFO Circle Impact Masterclass webinar organised by the Wealth Management Institute (WMI) titled ‘Global Giving, Asian Innovation’.

The webinar’s aim is to address how philanthropy can support the greatest issues of our times, including issues stemming from ever-rising income inequality and climate change, to the health of our civil society and the pandemic.

The panel presentation hopes to empower family office principals, representatives and philanthropy advisors to help their clients achieve their philanthropic goals, and offer best practices, tips, and considerations for advisors serving philanthropists and their family offices.

If you would like to begin your giving journey with CFS, get in touch with us.

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

The Business Times: DAFs still quite new concept: charities index

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
A snapshot of the innovative charities index, showcasing the dafs, a new concept in the philanthropic world.

SINGAPORE was among the top 10 most generous countries in 2018 – according to CAF World Giving Index published by Charities Aid Foundation, a British charity – with 58 per cent willing to donate money to a charitable cause.

However, according to calculations by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), a non-profit organisation that encourages and enables philanthropy in Singapore, just 1.1 per cent of total giving in Singapore in 2017 was to donor advised funds (DAFs), as it is still a relatively new concept.

DAFs are charitable fund accounts that people or organisations can open. An amount of money will be pledged to a cause they are passionate about.

CFS, which started in 2008, has 115 charitable funds. It has raised S$130 million in donations and given out S$65 million in grants.

Laurence Lien, former chairman of CFS, said: “When we first started, there were not a lot of donor-centric vehicles and we sensed that in Singapore, a lot of people say ‘I want to give’, but they do not know how, or the thought of starting a foundation or charitable trust was just so overwhelming.

“Setting up a foundation or a charitable trust is so expensive, and that made them put it off for such a long time.”

He added that for people to be able to start something at the snap of their fingers, “there is definitely a gap in the market for that”.

Mr Lien said that DAFs are motivating philanthropists to think more about the cause they would like to donate funds to and how their donations will help to solve the problem. Some donors with DAFs are willing to come together and discuss ways that they can further make a great impact on complex social issues as they get personally invested in a cause.

CFS has hosted some initiatives, such as Singapore Youth Impact Collective, and the collaboration with National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, Colabs, to help facilitate discussions between such donors.

“Such initiatives help connect the benefactors, charities and donors, and by discussing social issues that need to be addressed, it helps to pinpoint the wider societal problem that needs to be tackled,” said Mr Lien.

When comparing the trend of volunteerism between Singapore and a Western country such as the United States, Eileen Heisman, president and CEO of National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), a non-profit based in the US, noted that for the US, rates of volunteering are going down, whereas in Singapore, there is an upward trend.

This is crucial, as Ms Heisman has observed that when donors volunteer their services and see first-hand what is going on, the issue feels much more personal for them and makes them more committed to the cause.

She added: “I recommend donors to stay with a cause for five to seven years before moving on to a new cause as charities need sustainable funding.”

Mr Lien also encourages volunteerism before moving on to monetary donations, pointing out that there are certain skill sets such as marketing, that volunteers can help with.

Mr Lien said: “I am aware that CFS is limited in providing such support to charities and I am supportive of volunteers who are able to directly lend their support to charities through this method.”

When asked about the public distrust towards Singaporean charities due to past scandals, Mr Lien felt that it was unfair that local charities are being grouped together and condemned just because of one such organisation got exposed for mishandling funds in the past even though the rest are doing “fantastic work”.

To regain public confidence, Mr Lien added that organisations such as CFS help donors do due diligence on the chosen charity to ensure that their money is being put to good use.

Donors who set up funds with CFS receive a six-monthly donor statements with updates on their fund balance, donation history, and grants disbursed.

Mr Lien said: “I find that the bigger risk is giving it to a charity that will not use your money at all because they have so much of it. If donors choose to do it alone, they usually go for brand names, but if you look at the balance sheet of these brand names, they sometimes have billions squirrelled away.”

Ms Heisman concurred and said that charities are required to do tax returns and such information is accessible to the public online.

“These measures help create transparency for the organisation and donors, and help donors make a more informed donation to their charity of choice.” She added that smaller charities tend to come up with new solutions for old problems which are much more effective, and funding a small charity is like “funding a startup business” as they are more innovative and are like disruptors.

She added that smaller charities tend to come up with new solutions for old problems which are much more effective, and funding a small charity is like “funding a startup business” as they are more innovative and are like disruptors.

“It is much easier to explain the concept of DAFs to donors now as the idea is becoming more prevalent in the US. I think because of Web-based banking, the case and speed at which you can get information has made DAFs more popular with people.”

Source: Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings 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

Lianhe Zaobao: By encouraging participation in interest groups to improve skills, youth collective helps students plan their careers

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
People showcasing how to pitch a tent

王晓亚
工艺教育中区学院的谭嘉燕参与学校的户外探险兴趣小组,成功克服恐惧完成绑紧跳,并学到野外求生技能,让她在职业规划上多了选择,考虑未来成为一名露营指导员。

一次绑紧跳的经验,让19岁的谭嘉燕在成长过程中经历改变,也用所学到的新技能为未来职场做好准备。

谭嘉燕目前就读于工艺教育中区学院人力资源与行政系一年级,因喜欢户外活动,两个月前加入学校的户外探险兴趣小组,并跟许多其他科系的同学一起参加为期三天的户外露营。

其间,参与绑紧跳让她印象深刻。她说,自己原本就惧高,从没想过有朝一日会有勇气从七层高楼跳下去。“以前参加过的露营,只要是高空项目我都无法完成。但这次同学和指导员不断鼓励我,我就跳下去了。”

跳下的一瞬间,谭嘉燕对于自己的勇气感到惊喜,战胜恐惧后也更有信心面对生活的挑战。

此次别具意义的户外露营经验,也让谭嘉燕学会如生火、煮饭、搭帐篷等不少野外求生技能,让她在未来职业规划中有了更多选择。“兴趣小组还与企业或机构合作,让我在之后有机会去实习和进修,也许未来能够成为一名真正的露营指导员。”

户外探险是新加坡青年影响组织(Singapore Youth Impact Collective)旗下项目的兴趣小组之一,该组织昨早于工艺教育中区学院为两个新项目及一间名为“APTITUDE”的新活动中心举行开幕仪式。

青年影响组织在2017年由樟宜基金会、触爱社会服务及新加坡社会基金会等六家企业组成,目的在于通过鼓励工教院的学生参与不同兴趣小组,教导相关技能,帮助他们提升专业课程之外的职场技能。

除了兴趣小组,新开幕的APTITUDE活动中心设有沙发、会议桌、电玩机及多款桌面游戏卡牌等休闲设施,是学生课余时间交流玩耍的安全场所。

截至目前,青年影响组织已为项目投放近100万元运转资金,开放给年龄介于17至25岁的工教院学生。主办方希望在未来三年内让230名学生受益。
Read more.

Tan Jiayan of ITE College Central participated in the school’s outdoor adventure interest group and successfully overcame her fear of bungee jumping, as well as learnt outdoor skills. This in turn provides her with more choices in career planning, and she is considering becoming an outdoor instructor in the future.

The experience of bungee jumping enables 19-year-old Tan Jiayan to develop life skills, and also prepares her for the future workplace with the new skills she has picked up.

Tan Jiayan is currently enrolled as a first year student of Human Resource and Administration at ITE College Central. She likes outdoor activities and joined the school’s outdoor adventure interest group two months ago, participating in a three-day outdoor camp with other students.

The bungee jump left an impression on her. She has a fear of heights, and never thought that she would have the courage to jump from a seven-story building. “In previous camps, I couldn’t complete any high-altitude activities. But this time, with the encouragement of my course mates and instructors, I could do it.”

At the moment of jumping, Tan Jiayan was pleasantly surprised by her courage. After overcoming her fear, she is more confident to face other challenges in life.

This unique outdoor camping experience also allowed Tan Jiayan to learn a range of outdoor skills such as fire-starting, cooking, tent pitching, so that she has more choices in her career planning. “The interest group also works with companies or organisations which may offer me opportunities of internship or further training, and maybe become a real outdoor instructor in the future.”

Outdoor adventure is one of the interest groups enabled by the Singapore Youth Impact Collective, which launched two new programmes and an event centre called ‘APTITUDE’ at ITE College Central yesterday.

The Singapore Youth Impact Collective consists of six organisations including Changi Foundation, TOUCH Community Services and the Community Foundation of Singapore. It aims to help students from the college to improve their professional skills by encouraging them to participate in different interest groups and pick up workplace skills.

In addition to the interest group, the newly opened APTITUDE centre also has leisure facilities such as sofas, conference tables, video games and a variety of table games. It is a safe place for students to socialise and play in their spare time.

Up till now, the Singapore Youth Impact Collective has invested nearly $1 million in operating funds to support the programmes which are open to students of ITE colleges between the ages of 17 and 25. The organisers hope to benefit 230 students over the next three years.

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.

Trending Stories