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The Community Foundation of Singapore spreads greater love through effective use of charitable gifts
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The Community Foundation of Singapore spreads greater love through effective use of charitable gifts

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portrait of CFS CEO Catherine Loh

Catherine Loh, the CEO of the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), recently spoke to Lianhe Zaobao to share more about the work the organisation is doing. CFS has over 13 years of expertise in philanthropy advisory, fund administration and grantmaking and has been recognised for its commitment to transparency and governance. Hence donors can be confident that their grants will help meet the evolving needs of the community – now and into the future.  

As shared by Ms Catherine Loh, the CEO of CFS: “With falling birth rates and a rising elderly population, philanthropy can focus more on the elderly in the coming years. While the government take cares of the basic needs, there is much that the general public can do to improve the quality of life of the elderly, give them dignity and allow them to have a meaningful and active third age. 

In the area of education, in addition to the young, we should also be helping adult learners who need additional support as they re-train due to disruptions brought on by rapidly changing technology.” 

Catherine Loh also shared that, following last year’s outpour of generosity, CFS saw how much Singaporeans care about others – supporting programmes relating to the disadvantaged, education, health and more. The Sayang Sayang Fund, established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has drawn over S$9 million in donations from 5,185 individual and corporate donors, helping an estimated 136,000 individuals across Singapore.  

Since its establishment, CFS has collected a total of 192 million, distributing more than 114 million dollars in grants and is currently managing a total of 162 charitable funds. As a charitable organization, CFS helps individuals and corporates set up and manage their own donor-advised funds, supporting causes which they are passionate about.   

Building on the momentum of the launch of the Legacy Giving Initiative and “A Greater Gift” campaign, CFS is focusing on growing knowledge of legacy giving and the value of gifts to charity. A poll – conducted by CFS and NVPC between April and July last year with survey firm Toluna – found that 6 in 10 agree that everyone can make a legacy gift. Going forward, CFS will focus on highlighting ways of making gifts, as well as encouraging and enabling philanthropy conversations – whether at dinner tables or in office settings. 

CFS recognise that, while there is awareness, more information is needed to help individuals make informed decisions. CFS actively reaches out to legal and financial professional advisors, to share about the donor-advised fund as a modern tool for planning philanthropy. It is our hope that professional advisors will more frequently include charitable giving in conversations about wealth planning with clients.  

One example of CFS’s donor-advised fund would be the SR Nathan Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF), which has distributed millions of dollars to bursaries, scholarships and various financial assistance programmes, to support financially disadvantaged students to smoothly advance to higher education. 

As shared by Mr Bobby Chin, Chairman of the Grant Advisory Committee of the S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund: “President Nathan’s life epitomises the spirit of generosity, caring and giving. He was a tireless giver. Known to come from humble beginnings himself, he was always known to have a heart for the less privileged in society. 

As we celebrate the Fund’s 10th anniversary, we are happy to share that the SRNEUF has disbursed over $3.7 million to support ITE, polytechnic and university students through awards, bursaries, scholarships as well as monthly financial assistance.” 

The other example is the Dr. Lim Boon Tiong Foundation which donated 24 million dollars from his estate, to assist elderly and terminal patients, and fund cancer research. Working as a doctor till the age of 80, Dr Lim’s medical background and life experiences shaped his interest in helping the elderly and those suffering from urological conditions. After he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in his 70s, Dr Lim became interested in supporting urological cancer research.  

His daughter Sylvia revealed that her father was frustrated because he was unable to help her grandfather who also had prostate issues. When he became ill himself, he wanted more research in this area to benefit future generations. 

Dr Lim passed away prior to the establishment of the fund, leaving his wishes to be executed by his adult children.  

In 2018, his daughters Sylvia and Ivy set up the Dr Lim Boon Tiong Foundation, a donor-advised fund with CFS – with a gift of $24 million supporting causes that Dr Lim was passionate about. 

CFS worked with them to identify and support projects such as the Dr Joseph Lim Boon Tiong Urology Cancer Research Initiative at the National University of Singapore (NUH), Catholic Welfare Services (CWS) and Assisi Hospice. 

This translated article was originally published by Lianhe Zaobao 

Credit: Lianhe Zaobao © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.  

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Stories Of Impact

Seniors Colabs learning journey #2: Wellness Kampung – entrusting the community to care for itself

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Group of individuals engaging in a leisure dance routine outdoors.

On the second learning journey for Seniors Colabs, a small group of participants met early on a weekday morning to observe how a community space called Wellness Kampung in Chong Pang estate can be designed and run by residents.

Set up in April 2016, Wellness Kampung is a network of three activity centres in Chong Pang, Nee Soon Central and Nee Soon East. The network was launched as a partnership between Yishun Health, St. Luke’s ElderCare and Nee Soon Grassroot Organisation with one simple belief – that taking charge of one’s health is easier with the support of the community.

The day’s programme began with an hour-long exercise session led by Madam Aneesa, 49, a resident who volunteered to learn and teach the Wednesday morning resistance band class. By mid-morning, the centre was a hive of activity as an army of ladies cooked up a storm in the kitchen, while at the other end of the room, residents recorded their blood pressure readings and compared their daily step count with pedometers. The centre was bright and airy, with doors on opposite sides of the void deck kept wide open. Residents came in and out, on their way to various parts of the neighbourhood.

Mr Woo Yew Kah, Centre Manager and its only paid staff, explained that residents are in charge of what happens and how the centre is run. “They have the key and they open and close the centre every day. Only when they quarrel, then I have to mediate,” he explains with a laugh.

Colabs participants were impressed with the high level of trust between management and community, which they felt played a key role in empowering the residents and sustaining the programmes over the long-run. Some also observed that the centre’s wellness goals are not overtly prescribed but rather seamlessly integrated into day-to-day activities, which made leading a healthy lifestyle more natural and enjoyable.

The learning journey presented new insights on how shifts in perspectives by funders and policy-makers can create a conducive environment for community-driven efforts. Leveraging the strength of individuals, such ground-up initiatives would then able to meet the needs of seniors more effectively.

Colabs is a philanthropic initiative by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre. It drives collaboration by bringing together the public, private and social sectors to tackle complex social issues. It enables philanthropists, businesses, non-profits and sector experts to collectively build insights and co-create solutions for lasting change.

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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

Thank you for the Sayang Sayang!

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John Doe
Healthcare professionals in scrubs engaged in a variety of tasks.

Photo credit: Ng Teng Fong General Hospital

To mark the successful conclusion of the Sayang Sayang Fund campaign, we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for your generosity in contributing towards caring for and uplifting the most vulnerable of us during such times.

When CFS launched the Sayang Sayang Fund (SSF) on 10th February 2020, it had a purpose to support vulnerable communities impacted by COVID-19. Initially aimed to show appreciation for frontline healthcare workers battling the pandemic, the Fund was able to increase its scope of support thanks to the keen generosity of the public.

Sayang Sayang Fund

The Sayang Sayang Fund, a Community Impact Fund started by the Community Foundation of Singapore, provides support for healthcare workers and vulnerable communities such as isolated seniors and low-income families who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sayang Sayang Fund:
1. supports community-based emergency response funds for marginalised communities adversely affected by the COVID-19 situation;
2. provides innovation solutions and research to better combat COVID-19; and
3. builds capabilities that support charities’ operational and/or business continuity processes.

Why Sayang Sayang?

The name Sayang Sayang is chosen because it is a local colloquial term that most people are familiar with. It is in line with the idea of showing love and appreciation to healthcare professionals who work hard to care for us, to safeguard our health and to heal the fallen. It also conveys gratitude to those who are stepping up to ensure key services continue in the community.

Thank you for the Sayang Sayang!

Your contributions have made a significant difference to the pandemic-affected communities in Singapore. Since its inception, the Sayang Sayang Fund has raised over $9.6 million and supported nine initiatives, which have helped over 136,000 care recipients.

Migrant workers who were isolated in their dormitories last year found respite in the free $10 dollar top-up SIM cards that they used to call their families at home, provided by MigrantsOK@Home, which you contributed to through the Sayang Sayang Fund.

Through the SSF initiative, SeniorsOK@Home, seniors stranded in their homes due to social distancing measures were able to receive aid such as basic necessities and medical supplies.

‘Through your generous giving to the Sayang Sayang Fund, you have made it possible for a kinder and more compassionate Singapore to emerge from this pandemic together’ – Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS.

On behalf of the CFS team and all the lives that you’ve made a difference to, please accept our sincerest gratitude and thank you once again for showing so much sayang!

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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

Social Space issue 8: Collective philanthropy – the strength of giving together

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a two page write up regarding Collective Pilantrophy

By Rob John
“Giving to charity has never been a solitary activity in any culture. People have joined together to give for millennia. In Asia, clan associations, religious groups or just friends have enjoyed the benefits of giving as a group. But there appears to be a renaissance of collective giving with the advent of more organised, strategic and outcome-focused philanthropy. At the Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy (ACSEP) where I am presently based, our research team’s curiosity about giving circles was first piqued when investigating the nature of innovation in Asian philanthropy in 2012. In that study, we reported several initiatives where individuals pooled their resources and jointly selected a non-profit organisation to fund. Since then, the number and variety of giving circle models have increased across the region, leading me to believe that giving circles will contribute significantly to the development of philanthropy in Asia over the coming decade.”

Read more about ‘Collective Philanthropy, the Strength of Giving Together’ on Pg 19 of Issue 8 of Social Space.

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Stories Of Impact

Equipping the marginalised to create a future for themselves

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John Doe
Lady in blue dress standing in front of vibrant yellow backdrop.

Photo credit: Bettr Group

When Zaza’s only daughter was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, Zaza felt lost and powerless to decide the fate of her child. Coupled with the ongoing process of a divorce, her situation grew more desperate, plunging her into depression and hopelessness. She had a diploma in pre-school education, and had to reject offers to further her studies due to her circumstances. It was desperation that kept the single mother going; it was all she could do to keep her head above water and not succumb to the overwhelming pressure.

‘I didn’t know what to do,’ Zaza recalls. ‘I was about to give up. Bettr Barista was my last hope of surviving towards becoming an independent, single parent. That was my last shot.’

Yet against all odds, Zaza has come far to become a Barista at The Social Space café, located in Kreta Ayer. This is all made possible by Bettr Barista (BB), a coffee academy whose mission is to empower the lives of marginalised women like Zaza through professional training and teaching them life management skills. Bettr Barista is a partner of the Learning Initiative for Employment (LIFT) Community Impact Fund, launched by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) in July 2019.

LIFT aims to support programmes like Bettr Barista’s proprietary Holistic Training programme, which provides vocational training for marginalised women and youths at risk, equipping them with the skills to secure jobs in the open market.

Pamela Chng, CEO of Bettr Barista, first had dreams to start a business to do good when she left the tech industry after eight years.

‘I found myself burnt out because I derived little emotional satisfaction from my work. I knew I wasn’t motivated by money – I had realised this much earlier in my life,’ Pamela explains. ‘If I continued to work hard at a business, it had to mean more – to myself, and to society.’

Bettr Barista has certainly made an impact on many of the lives it has touched, including Zaza’s. As the first B Corp certified company in Singapore, it is BB’s mission along with 2,750 other B Corp companies around the world to redefine success as a business and use it as a force for good. These companies have a responsibility beyond just maximising profit, and must operate in an ethical manner that gives back to the community.

Unsurprisingly, Bettr Barista was named the social enterprise of the year in 2017, and 94% of their trainees found jobs upon graduating from the academy’s Holistic Training programme. Not only that, 80% gained improved self-confidence and emotional management skills after having gone through their training.

‘Confidence is the main factor I got. When I started with BB it was difficult in the beginning,’ Zaza says. ‘I had no confidence, only a sense of being lost and a lack of hope. The moral and financial support that BB gave me helped me get back on my two feet. Now I move forward and I will never let adversity control my life again.’

What started in 2011 has grown and developed into The Bettr Group. Apart from selling home-grown specialty coffee in Singapore, it now encompasses a training academy, retail products, events services, and social impact programmes. At the heart of it all is a social mission — to empower vulnerable groups and equip them with skills to create a future for themselves. Pamela hopes to bring Bettr Barista into the future through expanding into the rest of Southeast Asia to countries like the Philippines and Indonesia.

‘We want to diversify the social programmes that we can offer and to continue building partnerships and in-house capabilities to adapt our programmes to impact these populations,’ says Pamela. ‘Bettr Barista creates a positive impact in every ecosystem it operates in, and helps people maximise their potential to become better versions of themselves.’

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.

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