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SR Nathan Education Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF) continues to transform lives in its 10th year
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SR Nathan Education Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF) continues to transform lives in its 10th year

John Doe
John Doe
portrait of sr nathan

Former President of Singapore, the late SR Nathan established the SR Nathan Education Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF) in 2011 to provide financial assistance to students, ensuring that they remain in school and are able to further their higher education.

Managed by CFS, the fund supports programmes such as the Monthly Financial Assistance Scheme (MFAS) by ITE, which gives allowance to underprivileged students for their transportation needs and meals, reducing their financial burden/challenges so that they can focus on their studies.

Now in its 10th anniversary, SR Nathan’s legacy continues in its transformation of students’ lives. Berita Harian highlights the stories of two students who have benefitted from the SRNEUF.

The first story recounts the experience of Arshad Supa’at, 33 years old, who had enrolled in the Higher Nitec course in Business Studies in ITE Central College after completing his National Service. Due to suffering from a road accident while working as a part-time food deliveryman, he had trouble with taking care of his expenses since his family was financially burdened. In the article, he quoted how the SRNEUF was very helpful in providing assistance to him, as it helped him to focus on his studies without worrying about his school expenses and daily life.

The second story shone a spotlight on Danish Said, 25 years old, whose family has often faced financial problems as both of his parents have chronic health problems which require medical attention. Danish quoted how the SRNEUF has provided him the opportunity to focus more on his studies, since he only needs to work part-time as a food deliveryman on the weekends to help cover his own daily expenses. He also explained how the monthly allowance given by the SRNEUF has helped him with his finances, making sure his parents do not have to bear his expenses.

To make an impact with your giving, read more about it here.

This translated extract was originally published by Berita Harian. Please click here for the original feature on the student beneficiaries, Danish and Arshad.

Credit: Berita Harian © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.  

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Opinion

Teach a man to fish — and pay for the rod too

John Doe
John Doe
Black silhouette of a woman fishing

We have all heard the popular proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. Everyone agrees, but few pay for the fishing rod.

Successful businesses invest in skills, people and infrastructure. In the same vein, donors need to fund these areas for charities to deliver social impact.

The challenge for charities
Donors often prefer funding programmes that support individual recipients directly over charitable overhead* expenses. This leads to negotiations for lower overhead costs or unwillingness to support programmes with high overhead costs. Many charities cave in to such expectations for fear of losing a potential funder.

Understandably, all donors want to achieve maximum impact for their gift, but reducing overheads is only good up to a point where the sustainability of the charity is not affected. All organisations incur manpower, training, rental and administrative costs at the very least. If charities are pressured to keep overhead costs unsustainably low, they will operate at sub-par levels and enter a vicious cycle of starvation.

At the Community Foundation of Singapore, we have learnt that when charities receive limited funding to cover overhead, service delivery is affected because charities have to divert resources to fundraise for the shortfall.

Honest conversations
There is growing recognition that efficiency is not determined by low overhead costs alone. Depending on the type of services or programmes, overhead can vary greatly across charities. For instance, a charity that distributes food rations via volunteers will have far lower overhead than a nursing home that hires skilled staff round-the-clock to provide care.

CFS works with its charity partners to present the true programme costs needed for social impact. With that in mind, we also work with donors to map out sustainable and impactful ways of giving.

We need to continue to have such conversations about true costs; the funding of overhead is just the tip of the iceberg in our search for sustainable social solutions.

Joyce Teo
Deputy CEO
Community Foundation of Singapore

*Overhead typically includes manpower, training, rental and administrative expenses.

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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

Healing and hope for migrant workers

John Doe
John Doe
a group of people posing for a photo

Our decade-long partnership with HealthServe has helped Singapore’s only medical charity for migrant workers bring healthcare, mental health support and social assistance to this underserved community. CFS is commemorating 15 years of giving and this story is one of a three-part series that highlights the strong relationships CFS has fostered with charities over the years. 

They have helped me with everything. If I ever had a problem at the hospital, with my company or dormitory, they would step in. Here, I don’t have family. But HealthServe has helped me like family.

Like many migrant workers, Shah* came to Singapore to provide a better life for his family in Bangladesh. But soon after he arrived, he was struck with inflammatory bowel disease, causing gastric issues, skin problems and chest pain. All this came on top of the devastating diagnosis of his father’s cancer and his wife’s stomach ulcers. 

Shah was under immense pressure to take on loans to pay for multiple mounting medical bills in excess of $16,000. The financial and emotional stress caused his health to worsen. He is not alone in facing unexpected hardships while trying to provide for family back home. Close to one million low-wage foreign workers reside in Singapore. Access to affordable healthcare is limited for many of them and none were prepared, mentally or physically, for the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Joining forces to help an underserved community

Thousands of migrant workers were quarantined in cruise ships, hotels and dormitories when Covid-19 hit Singapore’s shores. Many struggled mentally, feeling helpless. Others needed medical care. These hardships became the catalyst for the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) to join hands with our long-time charity partner, HealthServe, and help this underserved community. CFS decided to pool donations into a Collective Impact Fund called the Sayang Sayang Fund. With a grant from this fund and other funders, HealthServe was able to deliver much-needed medical attention, mental health support and social assistance to approximately 7,500 workers. For these foreign workers on the margins of society, HealthServe offered healing and hope.

Alongside these grants, CFS supported HealthServe with grants from the KrisFam Fund and the Kampong Spirit Fund. The KrisFam Fund grant enabled HealthServe to treat workers with serious chronic health conditions and extend financial aid to those in need while the Kampong Spirit Fund grant allowed the charity to provide the migrant community with meals and groceries amid the on-off pandemic lockdowns in 2021. For beneficiaries whose illness or injuries made it impossible for them to work, the much-needed help and donations came as a huge relief. In all, HealthServe made about 470 visits to foreign worker dormitories across Singapore.

The continuation of a long and rewarding partnership 

HealthServe started as a small clinic providing medical and dental services to the vulnerable migrant-worker community in 2006. Today, HealthServe offers a range of expanded services comprising mental health programmes and counselling, casework support for injuries and salary-related issues, and other forms of social assistance, much of it supported by grants and donations facilitated by CFS.  Our partnership with this unique charity goes back to 2013.

Over the past 16 years, HealthServe has remained mission-focused in serving low-wage migrant workers who fall through the cracks, even as we tackle constant challenges and headwinds such as post-pandemic dips in both donations and volunteers. Only with your continued trust and support can we do more. We look forward to actively leading every migrant worker in need towards a life of health, well-being, and dignity, with you.

Dr Benjamin Kuan, CEO, HealthServe Ltd

HealthServe’s commitment to migrant workers’ holistic health, well-being and dignity aligns with our focus on promoting mental well-being and healthcare to marginalised communities.

“CFS has helped educate donors and stakeholders about the plight of this very underserved segment of society. As a result, HealthServe’s mission is more well understood,” says Dr Benjamin Kuan, CEO of HealthServe. “The partnership between HealthServe and CFS has grown, with CFS shifting its vision to long-term outcomes, aligning with HealthServe’s goal of preventive care, which is also in line with the nation’s Healthier SG strategy.” 

Philanthropic support is critical

Largely volunteer run, HealthServe operates with a small staff team and hundreds of medical and non-medical volunteers and interns. Fundraising can be a challenge, especially now that reduced charitable dollars tend to go towards causes supporting Singapore citizens post-pandemic. Philanthropic support from CFS donors therefore remains crucial. 

“Over the years, CFS has demonstrated its ability to form strategic partnerships to deliver funds to the community in the fastest and most effective way and HealthServe is confident that our partnership with CFS will remain relevant in serving the underserved segments in society,” says Dr Kuan.

We are proud to maintain a long-term partnership with HealthServe and are committed to working with other like-minded charities to bring greater support to Mental Well-being as a cause and to create greater impact for the underserved communities.

CFS is celebrating our anniversary throughout 2023—15 years of empowering donors to make a meaningful impact. Since our inception in 2008, we have received over S$292 million in donations in Singapore and disbursed over S$157 million in grants to over 400 charity partners.  

To discover how you can make a difference, please visit www.cf.org.sg/contact-us/get-in-touch/ 

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News

Campaign Brief Asia: Community Foundation of Singapore partners with DDB Group to inspire philanthropy

John Doe
John Doe
"My Cho Cho Ma She started our family's journey of giving" Keith Chua

DDB Group Singapore has lent a helping hand to the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) to develop an integrated marketing communications campaign to raise awareness for the philanthropic organisation among individual and corporate donors. The appointment and campaign coincide with the 10th anniversary celebration of CFS this year. Founded in 2008, CFS matches donors with philanthropic causes to drive positive change and create a lasting impact within communities.

“It’s a pleasure to partner an organisation like CFS – a hugely dedicated group of people working hard to enhance the lives of Singaporeans,” said Neil Johnson, Creative Chairman, DDB Group Singapore. “The campaign is rooted in our belief that true acts of giving is a culmination of life experiences, lessons and reflection.”

A multimedia combination of video, digital, and print initiatives, the campaign titled ‘Portraits of generosity‘ features five donor stories, each sharing the motivation behind their decision to give, and why they chose CFS to manage their giving and achieve their goals in helping others. The DDB campaign sets out to inspire the same generosity in others and build a culture of giving in Singapore.

“DDB has done a wonderful job of creating a very relatable and engaging campaign,” said Yuen Yee Foong, Head of Marketing at CFS. “We are grateful to our donors for stepping up to tell their stories and hope that through these first-hand accounts of giving, others will realise that they too, have it in them to open their hearts and give back,” she added.

Since its launch in 2008, CFS has received over S$100 million in donations, set up more than 110 charitable funds, and given out S$60 million in grants in collaboration with over 400 charities supporting programmes that impact diverse communities. Donors are required to pledge a minimum of S$200,000 to establish a fund which can support charities and preferred causes across the sectors in Singapore.

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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

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

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.

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