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The Peak Singapore: How responsible businesses can make their philanthropic dollars travel further
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The Peak Singapore: How responsible businesses can make their philanthropic dollars travel further

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picture of CFS CEO Catherine Loh sitting on a chair

While more companies are heeding the call to give back to the community, selecting a worthy cause and monitoring the use of donations may be a complex task. That’s where the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) comes in. It helps corporations develop a long-term philanthropy strategy, find suitable charity partners, and track the outcome of donations.

“We help donors go beyond what they can do on their own, and identify charity partners who can provide accountability,” says Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS.

One way of creating greater impact is to look at fresh ways of addressing community needs, suggests Loh. Take UBS’ Diversity in Abilities arts education programme, which aims to develop the talents of children and youth with special needs. After attending the programme, participants are able to concentrate better and have an overall improvement in the pace of learning. Such potentially beneficial initiatives can be made possible only by corporations that have a higher appetite for risk and are willing to support them, says Loh.

In terms of managing charitable dollars, both donor and recipient must agree on how the money will be used, the duration of the funding and the kind/depth of reporting required, Loh says. More importantly, she adds, companies should adopt the mindset of a partner and view philanthropy as a “learning journey”.

“Just like any business project, things can go wrong. Sometimes, it could be a misreading of community needs, or there could be physical or manpower constraints faced by the charity. We hope to take corporates on a philanthropic journey, to help them gain insight into what it takes to make a meaningful change.” Read more.

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Stories Of Impact

Learning Initiatives for Employment (LIFT): Transforming Lives for the better

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At just 18 years old, Jeevan never imagined that he would find himself resigned to his fate in life.

“Three years ago, I dropped out of school, did some things, and ended up on probation. At that point in time, I thought that this would be the end for me – this is how it’s going to be for the rest of my life,” recalls the young man.

Despite repeated rebuffs from many employers, things took a turn for the better after Jeevan was accepted into Bettr Barista’s Holistic Training programme.

Bettr Barista’s Holistic Training Programme is committed to equipping vulnerable individuals from marginalised groups with skills to be employed and stay employed. Through the programme, they are trained not only in practical skills as a barista, but also in interpersonal skills to integrate back into society.

“I went to 20 interviews in two months, but they all rejected me because of my probation. It was tough until I came to Bettr. I didn’t expect to get accepted and I was mentally drained after all those rejections. When I was accepted, I was quite happy and really looking forward to it as something that could change my life.”

As a result of going through two months of BB’s Holistic Training programme, Jeevan is currently employed at Five &2 Bistro.

Changing lives for the better, even for those who are resigned to their fate – this is the mission of Bettr Barista, whose programmes are aimed at turning the lives around for marginalised groups and equipping them with holistic skills to get and stay employed. These groups include youth-at-risk like Jeevan, persons with disabilities, persons recovering from mental illnesses and disadvantaged women.

Improving the lives of the marginalised since 2011

Bettr Barista and Project Dignity are two of the social enterprises partnered with the Learning Initiatives for Employment (LIFT) Community Impact Fund (CIF), spearheaded by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS).

Since 2011, 135 participants have enrolled into Bettr Baristas Holistic Training (HT) programme, which saw an increase from an average of 12.6 to 40 trainees every year after it began receiving funding from LIFT.

The HT programme is an intense two to four months full-time work-and-study programme, which provides training ranging from emotional self-awareness counselling and workshops in Professional Coffee Education, to soft skill development and employment readiness.

By December 2020, a 65% graduation rate is expected from the cohort of 40 participants from April 2019 to October 2020, in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The remainder of the cohort which did not graduate faced extenuating circumstances, with an unsupportive home environment cited as one of the key challenges faced by the participants.

18 of the graduates have already found employment with BB’s referral partners, in sectors such as Social Services, Family Services and Probation & Community Rehabilitation.

Giving dignity to the intellectually disabled through culinary arts

Project Dignity’s Train-and-Place programme helps equip marginalised individuals with practical skills to gain and sustain employment through a 22 day vocational Food and Beverage (F&B) On-Job-Training programme.

Those who participate are disadvantaged individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues. They learn about aspects of working in the F&B industry, such as basic food hygiene and quality control procedures to prepare ingredients and serve customers.

As of October 2020, the programme outcome reports a high completion rate of 94% from the 50 participating trainees, with 76% gaining employment after completing the programme. Additionally, 22% of employed participants remain employed for a sustained period of at least three months, with six trainees remaining employed for 12 months or more.

The 38 trainees who were employed received a salary which ranged from $500 to $1,600. Trainees who completed the programme but were not able to receive employment cited extenuating circumstances from challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and nursing home restrictions

If you would like to support someone in their journey towards sustained employment opportunities, please visit our donation drive on Giving.sg.

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News

The Business Times: EDIS manages CSR like a business

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For many, CSR (corporate social responsibility) has been an extracurricular activity, almost cosmetic in the way it sits outside the realm of real business. However, companies such as Economic Development Innovations Singapore (EDIS) are exceptions, given the way it manages its business – which is collaborative, sustained and in-depth.

EDIS is an international economic development company which undertakes the development and management of integrated industrial and urban areas.

Leveraging on its experience in Singapore, EDIS provides strategic advice to other countries. Innate to its business is the need for a long-term, strategic view, flexibility, and a nimble attitude, which it applies to CSR. Read more.

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Stories Of Impact

HOME: Helping vulnerable migrant workers through crisis

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A woman gracefully holds a box of vibrant flowers, standing before a neatly arranged bunk bed.

With almost one million low-wage migrant workers in Singapore, there is an increasing appreciation of the important role they play in our society. Yet, while migrant workers make up a significant part of our social fabric, their issues and challenges may often remain invisible from public view.

Since 2004, the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) has been aiding migrant workers in crisis situations. These workers have often suffered exploitation and abuse ranging from overwork, injury, wage theft to physical and emotional abuse. HOME supports around 2000 non-domestic workers and domestic workers each year.

“Many of the workers who come to us are already quite traumatised,” says Sheena Kanwar, Executive Director of HOME, “It is quite a journey for them: from making the decision to come here, receiving support, recovering from crisis and moving on with life.”

Support from donors to the Migrants Emergency Assistance and Support (MEANS) Fund, a community impact fund managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), has helped HOME to provide immediate and short-term financial assistance to distressed workers. The financial support covers the basic necessities, medical care, transport and mobile phone top-ups. To date, the MEANS fund has disbursed around $60,000 to HOME.

Financial assistance is critical for these workers; many of them have no savings or have not been paid a salary for several months. If a worker decides to make a legal complaint against their employer, they may end up staying in Singapore for several years. “We help ensure there is a basic sum for their everyday well-being through this process, from food, transport to their medical needs,” says Sheena.

Beyond financial assistance, HOME has created “a sustainable system that allows us to respond to the different needs of a migrant worker in crisis,” explains Sheena. These services include help desks, legal, medical, and counselling teams, a shelter for vulnerable domestic workers, skill-building classes, to helping workers through re-employment. Moving forward, HOME looks to expand its reach, especially to vulnerable migrant workers from the Myanmar and Indian communities.

For these workers, HOME has opened a vital window of support – and even a new lease of life. Take Jofel, a domestic helper who has been living at HOME’s migrant worker shelter for over a year. After attending an art therapy class by the HOME Academy, Jofel stumbled upon her creative talent. She started to pursue her passion for handicraft, actively picking up skills online each day. Today, she is skilled at designing and producing a wide range of items, from bags, candles to flower bouquets. “I’m very grateful to HOME for its support. I discovered myself and my creative abilities here,” says Jopel. Upon her future return to her home country, Jopel hopes to start her own business.

Sheena is heartened by the surge of support amongst Singaporeans towards the plight of migrant workers; from enthusiastic young students who ask to join HOME’s projects, to HOME’s dedicated teams of legal, medical and counseling professionals. She says, “The support and empathy for migrant workers have gone up tremendously over the last five to seven years. It’s very heartening that people genuinely see the need for the work that we do.”

To support the MEANS Community Impact Fund, visit here

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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

Three donor trends shaping giving in 2020 and beyond

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John Doe
An Asian woman (Catherine) gracefully seated on a vibrant red and black couch, exuding elegance and poise.

Widening social inequality, an ageing population, and climate change – these are the issues that frame our world, as Singapore celebrates its bicentennial year in 2019. Yet alongside these social challenges, we’re also reminded of our long history of philanthropy in tackling local community needs. Take for instance, the recent 200 Years of Philanthropy in Singapore at the Temasek Shophouse, where it was heartening to see philanthropy being celebrated as a vital thread in Singapore’s success story.

But how will local donors continue to contribute to Singapore’s future? With the number of high-net-worth individuals here expected to grow by 22% to 250,000 by 2023, philanthropy is at an inflection point. We’ve already seeing broader shifts in our donor landscape: donors are getting younger; more Singaporeans are becoming socially aware, and technology is empowering new modes of giving.

At CFS, we count it as our privilege to be able to observe and nurture a new generation of donors increasingly empowered to drive social change. In this final edition of Change Matters for 2019, we highlight three donor trends we believe will continue to shape giving in 2020 and beyond:

Giving together is gaining traction

As more people recognise the complexity of social issues and the need for many helping hands, giving together is fast gaining traction. Donors are beginning to understand that collaboration enables them to create an impact larger than what they can achieve as individuals. In this edition, be the first to read about the Mind the Gap 200 fund or MtG200. This exciting ground-up initiative is the first collective of 10 donor advised funds formed by private individuals, which seeks to address social gaps in multiple sectors in Singapore.

More women are getting engaged in philanthropy

In 2009, only 14% of CFS’s donor funds were started by female donors. This percentage has risen by more than four times to 65% in 2017 and 2018. As more women become empowered to give, they will continue to give to causes close to their hearts. In this issue, we’re delighted to highlight the work of the International Women’s Forum Singapore (IWF)With CFS’s facilitation, IWF supports young women from financially-challenged backgrounds through their tertiary education through an education grant and a mentorship programme.

Donors are asking more questions for deeper understanding

Finally, donors are becoming more interested in understanding the root causes of issues to better inform their giving. They are more willing to explore opportunities to gain deeper insights from service providers, or contribute their expertise to co-create solutions. In this issue, read about our three Seniors Colabs learning journeys (Cornerstone Community Services (with Empower Ageing)Wellness Kampong and St Theresa’s Home), where participants discussed and exchanged views on how society can help our seniors age well.

Catherine Loh

CEO, Community Foundation of Singapore

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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