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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

John Doe
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A man and woman posing for a photo against a beige background, capturing a joyful moment together.

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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Stories Of Impact

Spreading the Holiday Cheer: CFS Contribute Year-End Meal to Melrose Home Residents & Staff

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John Doe
a person standing on a boardwalk in front of a glass dome building

As the year 2023 drew to a close and office parties were being planned, the staff at CFS decided to redirect their staff celebration budget from traditional year-end parties and gift exchanges. Instead, they chose to sponsor a special New Year’s Eve dinner for the children and youth of Melrose Home, and contributed by purchasing grocery vouchers, hoping to bring joy and warmth to them during the holiday season.

At CFS’s monthly Town Hall, representatives from Children’s Aid Society Ms Serlina Huang, Manager of Community Partnerships and Ms May Su Paing, Communications Executive from Children’s Aid Society, visited along with their colleagues from Melrose Home, Ms Michelle Chen, and Mr Timothy Pang. Together they offered the CFS team valuable insights into the home’s operations and needs, enhancing their understanding of how donor contributions can benefit the beneficiaries. Ms Tricia Lee, Director of Communications & Marketing at CFS then presented grocery vouchers that the CFS staff had contributed, to support the purchase of essential items for the residents of Melrose Home. 

Mr Alvin Goh, Executive Director of Children’s Aid Society shares, ‘We are grateful for this heartwarming gesture from the Community Foundation of Singapore and thank the CFS team for spreading the holiday cheer to our residents. It is heartwarming to see the community coming together to help improve the lives of those in challenging situations.’

Melrose Home, a service under the Children’s Aid Society (CAS), is a residential home for children and youths aged 6 to 21. Their residents have experienced challenging family circumstances or child protection issues that led to them being removed from their family homes. 

The organisation has been a CFS grantee since 2022, and our donors have generously contributed to supporting Melrose Home in its mission. CAS is currently appealing for donations to help transform its premises at Clementi Road into “Melrose Village”, which will enable residents to have more living space, and offer purpose-built facilities, advanced counselling and psychological services. To find out how you can contribute, visit https://www.cf.org.sg/giving/ways-to-give/ 

References:

https://childrensaidsociety.org.sg/melrose-home/

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Events

Colabs: doing more for persons with disabilities

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a group of people sitting around tables

As persons with disabilities reach age 18 and exit the school system, they face new life challenges, including living their desired life and gaining access to care and support. With a keen eye on identifying opportunities to improve the lives of these individuals, we kicked off the Colabs Disability series which focused on engagement pathways and employment through catalysing cross-sector collaboration.

As part of the series, participants were recently invited to the MINDS’ Idea Employment Development Centre to understand what a sheltered employment workshop in Singapore would look like. Made up of a diverse group, including social enterprises, corporates, philanthropic institutions, government agencies and non-profits, the group bonded over a common desire to learn and do more for persons with disabilities.

The group took part in various work stations at MINDS, where they interacted and worked alongside their clients. On a daily basis, clients were engaged in a wide range of activities, from seeding, retail, craft and kitchen work, to the packing of edible gifts, bottled water, and disposable earphones.

Next, participants gathered to share their aspirations for persons with disabilities, and their ideas on how the current model of sheltered employment could be improved. For many in the room, it was an eye-opening experience and a great chance to explore opportunities to contribute and collaborate.

Within the context of the sheltered workshop, companies and philanthropists can:

Create greater variety in jobs in workshops, or increase the number of jobs available, by connecting sheltered workshops with potential employers to explore and implement job re-design matched to the abilities of persons with disabilities, or encouraging companies to outsource certain tasks to persons with disabilities (e.g. event decoration, gift preparation, logistics). Much of this can be enabled by education and outreach to potential partners.

Provide a variety of social activities outside of work tasks in sheltered employment workshops, through partnerships with existing non-profits.

Improve the financial sustainability of running sheltered workshops by funding wages or subsidies, providing pro-bono services or skill-based volunteering to sheltered workshops in the marketing of existing products such as bottled water, food and gifts.

Companies and philanthropists interested in understanding how to work together with MINDS can contact the Idea Employment Development Centre to explore possibilities.

If you’re interested in what can be done to support persons with disabilities and their caregivers, the DesignSingapore Council has published an ethnographic study documenting how persons with disabilities live, work and interact with society, along with an illustrated overview of services supporting persons with disabilities. 

Some suggestions for collaborative solutions – based on the collective feedback of over 80 participants in the series – are outlined in the Colabs publication ‘A Call for Collaborative Giving: Bridging the Divide for Persons with Disabilities’ which can be downloaded here.

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News

CFS wins inaugural award for contributions to the community care sector

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cfs receives prestigious Friends of Community Care Awards 2020, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the community.

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) is one of twelve organisations selected to receive the inaugural Friends of Community Care Award 2020.

Launched by the Agency of Integrated Care (AIC), the award honours organisations outside of the community care sector who have contributed to the community care sector.

CFS is honoured to have been selected by a distinguished judging panel, comprising veterans from the Community Care Sector, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Health and AIC.

A Friend in Crisis

The COVID-19 crisis in Singapore was the catalyst for a series of conversations between CFS and AIC. With early cases of COVID-19 being reported from February to March 2020, CFS approached AIC to see how CFS could support the sector as it faced with new and unprecedented challenges.

Through these conversations, CFS was constantly receptive to AIC’s feedback on areas of need amongst community care providers. As a nod towards CFS’ appreciation of community care workers, CFS took the first step of sponsoring the first Tranche of Staff Appreciation to boosting staff morale and welfare.

Through CFS’ new community impact fund, the Sayang Sayang Fund, CFS was able to fundraise and provide targeted support for vulnerable communities impacted by the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Keeping seniors safe was one key priority. CFS’ timely and forthcoming support helped Community Care providers focus on managing the situation and safeguarding the interests and wellbeing of seniors.

Bolstering the Sector

With almost $8 million raised through the Sayang Sayang Fund, CFS’ work helped to provide more donations for the sector. This has greatly enabled community care providers to provide sustained support to their beneficiaries amidst the COVID-19 situation.

“When CFS worked on supporting the vulnerable in the community during the pandemic, winning an award was the last thing on our minds,” says Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS, “While it is wonderful to receive positive affirmation, what is more valuable is the great partnership we have struck up with AIC to realise our objectives of improving the quality of life of our people.”

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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

Why billionaires are setting up family offices in Singapore

John Doe
John Doe
a person standing on a boardwalk in front of a glass dome building

Asia’s billionaires are getting ready to hand over to the next generation, and Singapore is benefiting from the rush to set up new or satellite family offices with an increased focus on philanthropy and impact investing.

In recent months, Horizon Ventures, a private investment firm associated with Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing opened an outpost in Singapore.* Oppenheimer Generations, the family office of former De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer, is also in Singapore while Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio and Google co-founder Sergey Brin both set up shop in late 2020.

Singapore’s Economic Development Board is doing everything in its power to reel them in. It has enlisted the private banking sector to help family offices’ interest in philanthropy and impact investing, which seeks to generate a social or environmental impact as well as a financial return.

Two years ago, the Singapore government introduced variable capital companies (VCC), fund management vehicles with tax incentives and other benefits. These are appealing for family offices, particularly those with an interest in changing the world.

“Philanthropy is the new black in Asia,” said one private banker who advises the wealthy. “Singapore prides itself on being a financial hub and to keep that reputation, it needs to set the pace on new trends like green investing and impact investing.”

Asia is behind Europe and the United States, where philanthropy has long been a business that’s expected to generate measurable returns and the likes of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have pioneered impact investing.

This is likely to shift with the looming generational change in wealth, said Peter Golovsky, managing director and head of family office services, Asia Pacific, at Alvarium, a global multi-family office.

“Some 85 per cent of Asia’s billionaires are first-generation wealth creators, founders of family businesses.

“Their average age is 65, so they are looking at succession strategies. Family office allocations in impact investments sit at around 12 per cent, but we expect that to double in the next few years, and it will be driven by the next generation.

“Singapore has attracted a lot of wealth through structures like VCCs and other tax incentives, including residency options and paths to citizenship.

“As global families and entrepreneurs, including philanthropists, think about where they want to set up and run their businesses, and where they want to live, I think there will be another step up,” he said.

One measure of interest in social investing is a sold-out conference on the topic, organised by industry group AVPN, that kicks off next Tuesday in Bali.

Despite this increased interest, impact investing structures have a long way to go, according to Mette Ekeroth, managing director and group head of philanthropy at the North-East Family Office, who will be at the conference.

NEFO was established by the founders of the Pandora jewellery brand, Winnie Liljeborg and Per Algot Enevoldsen, in Denmark in 2013. They opened a Singapore office three years later.

“Regulatory systems all over the world treat philanthropy and investment as very, very separate. Now everyone is realising there is an area between these two categories where a lot of the solutions lie to the problems the world faces,” Ms Ekeroth said.

“I have faith that Singapore is going to be the place that comes up with the structures we need. The authorities are engaging and consulting as they work multiple angles to try and address the gaps. We’ve seen in the past that when Singapore really wants to develop an ecosystem, it does, and it does it at high speed.”

*Clarification: After this story was published, CK Asset Holdings has advised Horizons Ventures is owned by Ms Solina Chau. Mr Li has collaborated with the firm on technology projects.

This article was originally published in The Australian Financial Review here.

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