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S’pore couple plan to leave money to charity after their death in new campaign to promote legacy giving
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S’pore couple plan to leave money to charity after their death in new campaign to promote legacy giving

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SINGAPORE – It was their son’s degenerative eye disease that set ophthalmologist Dr Audrey Looi and her neurosurgeon husband Dr Ang Beng Ti on the path of philanthropy.

The couple were devastated around a decade ago to find out that James, now 19, suffers from Stargardt’s which causes progressive vision loss, when he was in primary school.

To make matters worse, there was a serious lack of programmes then to support children with low vision in their educational and other needs, Dr Ang, 51, said.

In 2011, the couple set up the charity iC2 PrepHouse, which teaches children with low vision the skills to cope with daily life and supports them to remain in mainstream schools.

They now plan to leave $200,000 or more in their wills to set up an endowment fund to support the iC2 PrepHouse’s work and to fund scholarships for needy undergraduates of the Singapore Management University (SMU).

James is now a business undergraduate at the SMU. The Angs have two other children, aged 13 and 21.

Dr Looi, 50, said: “So instead of giving it (our wealth) all to our children, we have started thinking about putting aside a part of it for charity. I think we have to be a little less self-focused and to give back to society.

“We told our children that they can contribute to the fund (in future). And I would like to think that our kids can manage without this sum we are giving to charity.

“Long after we are gone, we have this charity that continues to provide help for children with low vision. iC2 PrepHouse is our family legacy.”

The couple are among the donors fronting the “A Greater Gift” campaign in a three-month drive to promote legacy giving that was launched on Tuesday (Nov 24) morning.

The campaign was started by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), a charity which promotes philanthropy here.

Legacy giving is broadly defined as future donations to charity, such as in the form of leaving money or property to charitable causes after one’s death.

Ms Catherine Loh, chief executive of the CFS, said the charity has seen more interest in legacy giving in the past few years, by people from different demographic groups including singles and married couples without children.

However, she added that Singaporeans’ interest in legacy giving lags behind Western societies, noting that it is taboo in Asian cultures to talk about death and even writing wills.

She said it is changing though.

“People think that legacy giving is only for the very rich. But we want to tell people, nothing is too small. We want to change this concept that it’s only for the very rich.

“Another thing people think is that if they give a legacy gift, their children will not have anything. We want to say it’s not an either-or (situation) and they can consider leaving a part of it (their wealth) to charity,” added Ms Loh.

While there are the uber rich who are leaving millions to charity after their death, some charities have also received as little as $10,000 from a person’s estate, she said.

The CFS will provide resources to help charities engage their donors on legacy giving, among its efforts to boost this form of philanthropy here.

Besides the Angs, the other donors who are part of the campaign include MP and lawyer Nadia Ahmad Samdin, 30, and venture capitalist Hian Goh, 46.

In their campaign video, Ms Nadia said she went to school with the help of financial assistance and now wants to help at-risk young people, while Mr Goh wants to create opportunities for innovators to reach their full potential.

Mr Goh is a co-founder of the Asian Food Channel, a pay-television channel now known as the Asian Food Network.

Source: The Straits Times

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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News

The Straits Times: She helps pupils with special needs cope in school

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portrait of Madam Tutek Alauyah Amir

by Nur Syahiidah Zainal, 3 October 2016

Just as school starts to wind down in the last quarter, Madam Tutek Alauyah Amir’s work picks up speed.

Her mind skips ahead to new pupils entering Tampines Primary School next year – specifically the ones with special needs like dyslexia, autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – that she is gearing up to help.

For her dedication, the 56-year- old, an allied educator for learning and behavioural support at the school, won the Leading Foundation Teacher Award (LFTA) last year. The LFTA, started in 2014, specifically recognises early childhood and special needs education teachers who have made a difference to their pupils. Read more.

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News

Company of Good

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A snapshot of 'company of good partner 2016', showcasing a reliable and trustworthy business alliance.

Company of Good (COG) is a programme that empowers businesses to give better and more holistically. Companies can gain access to a self-assessment tool, a wide range of resources and an exclusive networking circle. The Community Foundation of Singapore is proud to be a partner of Company of Good to help equip companies with the knowledge and tools to do good together. Read more.

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

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Opinion

Accessing Quality Education: A Boost for the Last Leg

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A photo of individuals wearing face masks, posing together for a group picture

As a follow-up to our last story, we now take a look at children as the next generation, and how we can empower them through philanthropy to be further educated.

Education is the great equaliser, as the old adage goes. Coined by American public education pioneer Horace Mann in 1848, education was seen as the tool for the disadvantaged to basically find better jobs and lift themselves out of poverty. For the last almost 200 years, that has remained largely true.

However, when an individual’s educational journey begins, factors such as the quality of education received and extracurricular resources have resulted in education itself being a source of inequality in society.

Which brings us to the maxim that “one has to spend money to make money”. In Singapore, preschool education, extra tuition, coaching lessons and post-secondary education all cost money (Dollars and Sense, 2022 and MoneySmart, 2022). Not every family will be able to afford that for their children.

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) supports programmes which boost the pre-, primary and secondary school education of children and youth from challenging backgrounds. It is important, however, that these minds continue to be nurtured as far as possible; not just for the sake of the youth and their families, but also for the sake of society, in which these youths will hopefully become contributing members.

For the families, the primary reason is that the higher an educational qualification one has, the stronger one’s earning power (Ministry of Manpower, 2021), enabling them to break out of the poverty cycle.

At a societal level, Singapore needs to maintain its highly skilled and educated workforce, which is what helps to keep our economy so competitive on the global landscape (EDB, 2022). To do this, it is imperative, as maintained by Education Minister Chan Chun Sing, that the relevant skills are imparted, including through tertiary and continued education (The Straits Times, 2022).

It is heartening to know that many donors with CFS have chosen and continue to support the tertiary education of youths: from financial assistance for living expenses for Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students and study grants at polytechnics to awards and scholarships at universities, and more.

The late President Mr Nathan himself was a staunch supporter of helping tertiary students in need. The S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF) was set up 11 years ago and has supported over 1,600 students since, including students from ITE, various polytechnics, the National University of Singapore and Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS).

“The SRNEUF believes in supporting youth from under-privileged backgrounds, giving them the chance to continue with their higher education so as to better realise their potential,” says Mr Bobby Chin, Grant Advisory Committee Chairman of the SRNEUF. “We are happy to have supported hundreds of youths over the years to further their education.”

One such SRNEUF beneficiary is SUSS student Iqbal, who aspires to be a social worker focusing on helping youth-at-risk or supporting the medical field. He shares that the study grant benefited him tremendously, helping his family with household expenses and allowing him to be more independent.

His cohort mate Pearlyn, also a SRNEUF beneficiary, reveals her dream to extend her help to society, after being inspired by the help from others that her family received during a crisis in 2020. On top of studying, she is tutoring primary school children to relieve the burden on her parents. She too expresses huge gratitude for the financial assistance from the SRNEUF.

Another CFS donor, who prefers anonymity, has been supporting ITE students with financial assistance for tuition fees, essential living expenses and even provided laptops. They also continued their support for ITE students who have gotten into polytechnics.

Jonathan Siong, one of their beneficiaries, shared: “When the pandemic hit, times were hard for many foreign students like myself, and my family was struggling. However, the donors helped me when I needed it the most. Without them, my education path would have stopped right at ITE.” He says that words cannot describe how thankful he is for their support and he hopes to become successful and in turn give back to the community.

Expressing her personal thanks to her benefactors, ITE alumna Chow Ying Shu, appreciates their contribution to her education as it helps to reduce her financial burdens, which in turn allows her to focus on her studies. She is currently pursuing her diploma in Hotel Management with their support. “This makes my goals that much more reachable,” she says, adding that their generosity will motivate her and serve as a reminder to always give back to society whenever she can in the future.

CFS appreciates all donors who are supporting youth from disadvantaged backgrounds in achieving their dreams and maximising their potential. Thanks to them, the future of the students as well as the Singaporean community looks a lot brighter.

To find out how you can support tertiary students from challenging backgrounds rise above adversity, please visit https://www.cf.org.sg/giving/ways-to-give/.

This article was written CFS Principal Consultant Reutens-Tan. He is an experienced sustainability advocate and practitioner, working closely with charities to build thriving communities, which he believes is key to a sustainable Singapore.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CFS or its members.

References

Dollars and Sense. (12 January 2022). How Much Do You Need To Afford A Full-Time Polytechnic Course In Singapore? https://dollarsandsense.sg/cost-guide-how-much-do-you-need-to-afford-a-full-time-polytechnic-course-in-singapore/  

Ministry of Manpower. (June 2021). Median Gross Monthly Income from Work (Including Employer CPF) of Full-Time Employed Residents Aged Fifteen Years and Over by Highest Qualification Attained, Age and Sex. https://stats.mom.gov.sg/iMAS_Tables1/LabourForce/LabourForce_2021/mrsd_2021LabourForce_T25.xlsx 

MoneySmart. (15 June 2022). NUS, NTU, SMU & Other Singapore University Degrees – How Much Do They Cost in 2022? https://blog.moneysmart.sg/education/singapore-university-education-cost/ 

Singapore Economic Development Board. (1 July 2022). World-class talent. https://www.edb.gov.sg/en/why-singapore/world-class-talent.html 

The Straits Times. (27 April 2022). Skills training must improve on 4 fronts for S’pore workforce to stay competitive: Chan Chun Sing. https://str.sg/w86n

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Events

International Women’s Forum Singapore: Empowering young women for a better future

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picture of poon yu hui, lydia lim yong yee, betty chum, nur ashikin bte rahim, lim pei shan, joyce than jia yi, and laurina tay kai yee

They may come from disadvantaged families, juggling work with school, but that has not stopped them from pursuing their dreams or even helping others. For this, ten young women were presented with the 2016 International Women’s Forum (IWF)’s Education Grants on 30 September.

Managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore, the IWF Education Grants support young women who are currently pursuing a diploma or degree in local polytechnics or universities but face challenges in continuing their studies due to financial difficulties. Many come from low income families and need to work to pay school fees or supplement their household income.

Recipients are selected for their academic performance, as well as resilience and aspirations. During the selection process, the Education Grants Committee also highlighted that despite their difficult circumstances, many of the recipients still found time to give back to the community by taking part in voluntary work such as befriending the elderly and mentoring young children and teens.

At the dinner reception held at CapitaGreen and hosted by IWF Singapore leaders including Dr Aline Wong, Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, Arfat Selvam, Saw Phaik Hwa, Chong Siak Ching, Carmee Lim, Goh Swee Chen and Doreen Liu, recipients and mentors mingled and exchanged anecdotes and advice. The young ladies also took to the floor to share their struggles with work and studies, for some the responsibility of caring for ill or unemployed parents and above all their unwavering quest for further education.

The IWF women leaders applauded the strength and determination shown by the recipients and invited them to be ambassadors at the IWF Singapore 20th Anniversary Conference in 2017 so that they can continue to be an inspiration to others. As part of the mentoring programme, IWF leaders will impart guidance, career counselling and life skills to empower these young ladies for the future.

At the 20th Anniversary Conference, the organisation hopes to raise $250,000 to enable and empower even more young women to change the outcomes of their lives as well as their families’.

About the International Women’s Forum

The International Women’s Forum is a singularly unique organisation comprised of more than 6,400 dynamic women leaders in 34 countries and 75 forums around the world. IWF members span careers, cultures and continents, however, they are wholly aligned in their commitment to building better global leadership.

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