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The Community Foundation of Singapore: Philanthropy, legacy giving; doing good and how to get involved
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The Community Foundation of Singapore: Philanthropy, legacy giving; doing good and how to get involved

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An older couple smiling while posing for a photo, holding a flower in their hands, radiating love and happiness.

Through legacy giving, making a profound lasting change to people’s lives might be easier than you think

Dr Lim Boon Tiong had a long and distinguished career as a doctor, and it shaped his interest in helping the elderly and those suffering from urological conditions. So devoted was he to his causes that he set aside S$24m along with a list of charities he wanted to help. And when Dr Lim passed on, his daughters Sylvia and Ivy Lim had to execute his will.

“Initially, we had many questions when we saw our father’s will. The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) has put everything into a nutshell for us, so we are well-informed to make the right decisions,” said Ivy.

In 2018, the sisters set up the Dr Lim Boon Tiong Foundation, a donor-advised fund with CFS. It supports projects such as the Dr Joseph Lim Boon Tiong Urology Cancer Research Initiative at the National University of Singapore (NUH), which funds experimental research to help improve patient healthcare standards and treatment in urological cancer. Other beneficiaries of the initiative include Catholic Welfare Services (CWS), which runs three nursing homes, and Assisi Hospice, which provides inpatient and palliative care.

The gift to set up the donor advised fund is an example of legacy giving, a concept that is slowly gaining traction around the world. In 2018, charities in the United States received almost US$40 billion (S$54.7 billion) in legacy gifts. Likewise, in Singapore, CFS has managed S$67 million worth of legacy gifts to date. Planned giving is not limited to a simple donation of cash. It is a process where donors can make a more informed choice with their contributions, which can take many shapes or forms, including insurance payouts, CPF monies, marketable securities or real estate. One does not have to be a billionaire to make a lasting difference to the causes you hold dear to your heart.

As we grow more astute financially, we become more attuned to the importance of estate planning. The Wills Registry in Singapore registered 3,911 wills last year compared to 3,535 five years ago. Or perhaps, the prospect of an uncertain future and its consequences heightens our collective awareness of this need: earlier in the year before COVID-19 forced the country into shutdown, there was a marked increase in wills registered.

As part of a drive to raise awareness for legacy giving, CFS actively reaches out to professional advisors in the hope that they can appreciate the value of planned gifts and relay this passion to their clients. Advisors will also be better equipped to help clients who are already looking to give – options can be in the form of a donor-advised fund or a direct donation to support the needs of the community. Your advisors’ services will be critical, especially for pledges of complex assets.

To make the process more meaningful, it is good practice to speak directly with charities about the ways legacy gifts can support their work. Likewise, CFS is not the only option you have when considering which approach to take, and you should do your due diligence to find out what works best for you.

But if you decide to work with CFS, you are good hands indeed: founded in 2008 to encourage and enable philanthropy in Singapore and has to date, CFS has raised over S$185 million in donations. It currently manages over 150 charitable funds and works with more than 400 charity partners. CFS does not lean towards a particular cause, so they enable grantmaking across a wide range of organisations from those helping children, seniors or marginalised individuals to education, arts and even animal welfare.

As they are always working to identify gaps and opportunities within the community, the organisation is well-placed to help donors find suitable matches for their interests and maximise the use of their donations. CFS looks to do more with your giving; fostering a culture of effective giving and raising effectiveness through rigorous evaluation of the programmes. Planning your legacy gift now also ensures that your causes can receive donations in whatever manner you see fit, be it in the form of a perpetual endowment, or expendable gifts (i.e. a donated sum that can be spent down). Both are equally valuable.

If this is something that resonates strongly with you, perhaps now is the time to take the first step. Make a legacy gift for the greater good, and see how you can change lives with an act of kindness.

Source: Robb Report 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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Set up during the covid-19 pandemic, Sayang Sayang Fund raised $9.7m over three years, supporting over 400,000 lives
应疫情设立 Sayang Sayang基金三年筹970万元惠及40万人

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Established in 2020 as an emergency response fund during the covid-19 pandemic, the Sayang Sayang Fund (SSF) raised $9,700,000 in three years, supporting over 276 organisations and touching over 401,000 lives.

互助团体Mum’s Collective主办康乐与交流活动,旨在为低收入家庭的母亲建立支援网络,去年获得Sayang Sayang基金的部分资助。(中南社区家庭服务中心提供)

Established in 2020 as an emergency response fund during the covid-19 pandemic, the Sayang Sayang Fund (SSF) raised $9,700,000 in three years, supporting over 276 organisations and touching over 401,000 lives. 

According to the Sayang Sayang Fund report published on CFS’s website, the fund disbursed $6,542,000 (67% of donations) in 2020, $2,060,000 (21% of donations) in between 2021-2022, and $1,11,900 (12% of donations) in 2023. 

CFS CEO Catherine Loh shared that when the pandemic started, CFS recognised the need to provide a platform to pool together resources to help those that required support, including frontline healthcare workers, students from lower-income families, rough sleepers, and migrant workers. Through collaboration with community care organisations and various agencies, CFS was able to better understand the needs of the people and allocate assistance more efficiently.

Read our Sayang Sayang Fund report.

因应冠病疫情推出的Sayang Sayang基金过去三年筹集的约970万元,支持了276家社会服务、医疗和教育机构的援助项目,惠及约40万人。

Sayang Sayang基金由新加坡社区基金会于2020年设立,已全数拨款支持各援助项目。根据社区基金会在网上发布的Sayang Sayang基金总结报告,2020年拨出的基金款项占67%,达654万2000元;2021年至2022年拨出的基金占21%,达206万元;其余的12%在2023年拨出,达111万9000元。

2020年,基金主要用来支持前线医疗人员,以及低收入家庭、年长者和客工等有需要群体应对冠病疫情。2021年至2022年,社区基金会扩大基金的使用范围,资助慈善机构提升数码能力,适应新常态。

2023年,基金着重于加强社会在后疫情时代的韧性,例如资助有关露宿街头者、最低收入标准等社会研究项目,以及社区保健计划。

新加坡社区基金会总裁罗佩仪指出,冠病疫情暴发时,基金会意识到须集合各方的专长,并提供一个平台汇集善款来帮助有需要的群体,因此设立这个新基金。通过与各社服机构的协作,基金会能更好地了解民众的需求,更有效率地拨款协助。

Sayang Sayang基金2020年2月11日正式推介时,最初的筹款目标为50万元,其间获得企业和民众的踊跃支持,同年6月就筹得690万元。

基金共资助11项计划,这些计划包括为前线医疗人员提供德士礼券和礼包、为低收入家庭的孩子提供经济援助、为街友提供住宿和经济援助、为客工填补电话卡储值等。

当中,CommunityGrants@Work计划的拨款最多,达205万7000元,旨在帮助慈善机构应付疫情期间增加的开销,并协助机构转变运作方式,推动数码化进程。其次,是获得192万2000元的SeniorsOK@Home计划,这项计划资助可惠及弱势年长者的项目,照顾乐龄的福祉与身心健康。


基金疫后侧重加强社会支援

步入2023年的后期阶段,基金侧重加强社会支援,支持人民坚韧地走出疫情。民间团体Mum’s Collective去年获得基金的部分资助。这个互助团体由居住在红山租赁组屋的妇女组成。活动由受惠者倡导并策划,中南社区家庭服务中心为团体提供所需的协助。

Mum’s Collective旨在为低收入家庭的母亲提供一个交流平台,吐露彼此面对的问题,并一起参与烘焙等休闲活动。参与者诺希达雅(33岁)说,她通过互助团体获得力量,明白自己不是唯一面对生活困难的。有了这个支援网络,她如今能更好地处理压力,也变得更加自信。

信用:联合早报©新报业媒体有限公司。复制需要许可

This article was originally published in Zaobao here. Source: Zaobao © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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Opinion

Creating social impact through philanthropy

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Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has likely changed your life on a daily basis. Though the pandemic has affected everyone, it hasn’t done so equally – the situations of the most vulnerable groups have been severely aggravated and awareness of our society’s fault lines and underserved needs have been heightened. But, if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the tremendous power of common people working together to achieve a unified goal.  

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Stories Of Impact

Heart Of Goodness: The Vocal Prowess Of Stefanie Yuen Thio

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She stands out for her irreverence. Her saucy humour. Her no-holds-barred views on a gamut of issues from cryptocurrencies to shady KTV business owners. However, right now, flanked by vibrant Pop Art in her living room and two energetic dogs, Stefanie Yuen Thio is in “pensive mode”. In fact, she is downright disturbed.

As part of the Singapore Together Alliance for Action (AfA) to tackle types of online harm, the corporate lawyer has just come from a discussion about the growing harassment women face. “It’s not just sexual grooming and revenge porn,” she says. “Women, more than men, face a higher incidence of gender-based abuse on the internet such as cyberstalking, trolling and violent threats, and teenage girls are even more vulnerable. 

“We need to take a stand. It’s time the community took control,” she says. AfA is a government-led initiative, tapping youths, tech companies and academics, as well as corporate figures such as Yuen Thio, to come up with ways to make the online world a safer space. Foremost is to raise public awareness of the need for it, as victims typically have little idea what to do. 

Other goals are to create a code of best practice, to offer assistance and to scrutinise how social media is shaping online behaviour as well as mental wellness. A recent study from Nanyang Technological University, for example, found that the more time we spend on Facebook, the greater our risk of suffering from depression. 

A Voice For The Underprivileged

Yuen Thio knows well how social media can define us. Her voice is regularly heard on LinkedIn, where she has over 13,000 followers and was ranked one of Singapore’s top voices in 2020. She can also be heard on the BBC, where she is a guest commentator. Her tongue-in-cheek posts can be uninhibited, sometimes raising eyebrows and drawing flak. But this is not distracting Yuen Thio, who is clearly comfortable marching to the beat of her own drum, from championing the causes she believes in and sparking conversations that could galvanise change.

The online harms alliance, launched in July, is the latest of Yuen Thio’s advocacy work outside of her day job as joint managing partner at TSMP Law Corporation, a boutique corporate-law practice. She is also bringing her energy and savvy to the pandemic’s exigencies: as Singapore battled Covid-19, she has been driving efforts to help frontline workers and those hard hit by the cratering of the economy. 

“I read a story about an ambulance driver who was turned away from a chicken rice stall and about nurses who could not get a taxi home,” she says. It dredged up memories of SARS, when hospital staff were shunned during the 2003 outbreak for fear of them somehow carrying the virus. “I thought f— that! We’re not doing that again,” she says.

Empowering Others To Help

So, early on in the crisis, she helped put in motion the Sayang Sayang Fund with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), a nonprofit that promotes philanthropy. Yuen Thio, who sits on the board of CFS, seeded the fund with a $20,000 gift. Managed by CFS, the Sayang Sayang Fund has since ballooned to over $9.6 million and supported more than 359,302 people in the Republic. 

Her law firm, too, has stepped up. With many of its staff working remotely via laptops, TSMP is donating unused desktops to the needy. The firm, which sets aside 10 per cent of annual profits for charitable giving, has been sponsoring meals and care packs for hospital workers. And, in Cheng San-Seletar constituency — its MP is Nadia Ahmad Samdin, a former TSMP lawyer — its staff have befriended and accompanied seniors to get vaccinations. 

This hands-on volunteering is in addition to the pro bono work the firm does. All its lawyers are encouraged to do 25 hours per year, to improve access to justice for the under-served. The firm takes a special interest in cases where migrant workers are treated badly and works with groundup initiatives such as Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, Transient Workers Count Too and It’s Raining Raincoats

Yuen Thio, who was an advisory board member for the NUS Centre for Pro Bono & Clinical Legal Education from 2018 to 2020, recalls a tea that TSMP organised for foreign domestic workers. “We talked about their rights. And so many of them cried because nobody had ever looked at them with much humanity,” she says.

The Law Firm That Gives

The firm has also established the TSMP Law Foundation to allow more structured giving, something Yuen Thio is hoping to prod more wealthy Singaporeans into doing. With husband Thio Shen Yi, who co-founded TSMP with his mother, the couple has created a #GivingBack Foundation through CFS, which helps individuals set up and manage funds and grants. The foundation also works with over 400 charity partners in Singapore. 

Through these plans, she hopes philanthropy will be less ad hoc and will become more a part of the Singaporean DNA. As part of their legacy gifting outreach, for instance, CFS is encouraging everyone to leave something in their wills to charity, be it properties, equities, art or wine. But beyond that, she wants Singaporeans to start on their philanthropic path earlier in life. 

“Charity should start early and not only after you die,” says Yuen Thio. CFS can help set up foundations within as little as 24 hours and is reaching out to the well-off through private bankers and family offices. 

She also advocates getting the next generation involved to further institutionalise giving. “The tragedy of this generation is a sense of purposelessness. There are too many safety nets,” reckons Yuen Thio, who has a son studying in London. 

However, she notes that the youth of today also have an altruistic streak and can be swayed by causes such as climate change and social inclusion. Their motivations, compared to “my generation whose goal was to make money first”, will undoubtedly shape the future of philanthropy.

What is also firing her up at the moment is how women are reshaping philanthropy. She describes the no-strings attached, big-ticket giving by MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos, as inspiring. In her opinion, “…Women are more concerned about impact, not control. We look at needs and, in my experience, are much more ready to open our wallets when a cause resonates with us. We tend to give from the heart, men from the head. Men are less emotional, they think of data and longevity of legacy,” she says.

Another generous giver is Melinda French, the ex-wife of billionaire Bill Gates. Both Scott and French are donating to causes that empower women and boost education — things that Yuen Thio believes could turn the tide for gender equality. Reflecting further on how these women have come into their own after their divorces, she says, “Sometimes, when the wife has lived in the shadow of her husband, you need a marriage to break down for a woman to really shine.” 

Strength in Solitude

For herself, she has found solo travel to be empowering. Yuen Thio embarked on her first one three years ago and chose Beirut. “I had never lived by myself or had my own space. I wanted to feel how it was to be my own person in the world, out of my comfort zone,” she says.

Armed with her telephoto lens, the photography enthusiast made her way to the Lebanese capital and was thoroughly struck by the city’s contrasts. A memory of the bombed-out Holiday Inn rubbing battered shoulders with the palatial Intercontinental Phoenicia stands out for her, attestation to the resilience and durability of the human spirit.

Women, more than men, face a higher incidence of gender-based abuse on the internet such as cyberstalking, trolling and violent threats, and teenage girls are even more vulnerable. We need to take a stand. It’s time the community took control.

When she turned 50, she packed her bags for a solo trip to Bordeaux and then to Auschwitz-Birkenau. She chose the wine region in the southwest of France because she speaks French, and the concentration camps in Poland to try and comprehend the past. “I wanted to understand human history,” she says, adding that we shouldn’t run away from confronting terrible things. Walking through the extermination chambers, she was shaken by the banality of evil. “I remember thinking, ‘This is what evil feels like. It creeps up on us.’” 

Covid-19 has halted her travels, both for work and for leisure, but it has also given her time to slow down, connect more, write more. 

“I’ve always liked writing,” says Yuen Thio, who spent one holiday during her university days as a cub reporter for The Straits Times Life!. Whether advocating for clients, the under-served, or simply musing on an issue that moves her, Yuen Thio makes an impact with her inimitable, eloquent voice.

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

This article was originally published in A Magazine here. Permission required for reproduction.

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Berita Harian: Programme to prepare youths for the workplace launched

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Translation:

Two programmes to help disadvantaged youths transition from school to work were launched yesterday in conjunction with the opening of the A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E Centre at ITE College Central.

Launched by the Singapore Youth Impact Collective (the ‘Collective’), the initiative is the first of its kind in Singapore that uses the collective impact model and allows donors and non-profit organisations to solve complex social issues together.

CFS deputy CEO Joyce Teo explained further: “This approach recognises the value of collaboration in addressing complex social issues that requires the coordinated efforts of multiple entities, often from different sectors.”

The Collective wants to increase the ability of youths from underprivileged backgrounds to succeed in the workforce through training and skills development.

The Collective comprises six members, namely Changi Foundation, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), Credit Suisse, Octava Foundation, SHINE Children and Youth Services (SHINE) and TOUCH Community Services (TOUCH). To date, the funders have pledged close to $1 million towards the programmes.

The programmes, A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E Centre at ITE College Central and Youth Forte, aim to encourage young people to get their education qualifications, to develop their socio-emotional skills and provide them with access to job opportunities.

For example, A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E which is run by TOUCH in collaboration with ITE will offer structured programmes.

TOUCH youth coaches will work closely with the ITE-identified classes and help students work hard towards achieving their dreams

The Youth Forte programme targets youths 17 to 21 years’ old who are not in school or not working more than six months, and are facing difficulties entering the workforce.

Conducted by SHINE, the programme guides these young people through various stages including assessment, individual guidance, socio-emotional training, job skills training, practical training and vocational training that provides WSQ certification.

Talking about leveraging on the collaboration, Anita Low-Lim, Senior Director (Children and Youth Group), TOUCH, said, “This is a great opportunity for TOUCH to work with similar-minded partners who want to improve the work of youth development work and develop better training programmes.”

Benjamin Teo, Centre Director for Yishun Centre, SHINE, agreed:“The collective impact model allows non-profits to tackle operational challenges together with the donors. I’m positive this will help us in making a greater in the lives of these youths and their families.”

The Collective’s programmes are for youths aged 17 to 25 who may need support in school or after graduation as they seek employment.

Their aim is to empower 230 youths to be work-ready over the next three years.

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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”。

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.

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