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The Straits Times: From school to workplace: Help for disadvantaged youth
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The Straits Times: From school to workplace: Help for disadvantaged youth

John Doe
John Doe
Two young people sitting on a couch, engrossed in a box of games, enjoying their leisure time together.

By Rahimah Rashith

2 new programmes offer vocational training and workshops under 3-year ITE initiative

To help disadvantaged youth transition smoothly from school into the work environment, a three-year initiative was launched at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) yesterday to offer them workshops and vocational training.

It is made up of two programmes.

The first, Youth Forte, is offered by Shine Children and Youth Services. It targets 17-to 21-year-olds who are not in school or training and have problems finding work.

They will receive evaluation, individual coaching, employability skills training, internships or project-based experience and vocational training leading to a Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) certification. The programme aims to help young people learn more about various career fields through exposure to the industry. They will also receive individual life coaching.

The second programme, called A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E, is offered by Touch Community Services in partnership with ITE. It works with industry partners to provide students with structured training and certification for a particular job, such as coffee making or outdoor camp facilitation.

Called the Singapore Youth Impact Collective, these programmes come after the social service sector recognised that, while education can help bridge social gaps, environmental factors – such as negative social influences or the home environment – can hinder youth from reaching their full potential.

Changi Foundation, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), Credit Suisse, Octava Foundation, Shine and Touch are behind the initiatives.

To date, Changi Foundation, Credit Suisse and Octava Foundation have pledged close to $1 million towards the programmes.

CFS deputy chief executive Joyce Teo said the collaboration will help to address the complex social issues facing young people.

Last month, 17-year-old Natasha Chan, a first-year digital animation student from ITE College Central, learnt the art of coffee-making over two days through the Touch programme. She was trained by the Dutch Colony Coffee Co chain and is now thinking of becoming a barista.

“I learnt how to grind coffee beans and brew a cup of coffee,” she said.

“It is a skill I would not be able to pick up in my course. Learning this has widened my skills.”
Read more.

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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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Events

The case for philanthropy in the arts

John Doe
John Doe
a person giving a presentation to a group of people

At the second edition of Art World Forum 2017: Creating Markets: Opportunities, Challenges and the Mainstream held on 27 September, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) was invited to present the significance of philanthropy for the arts to an audience of art, thought and business leaders from the sector.

Moderated by Anne-Marie Clavelli, Head of Development and Strategy at CFS, along with Kola Luu, Director of Partnership Development from the National Gallery Singapore, the panel session on Art x Philanthropy: An Opportunity touched on two key questions: What is the value of the arts in a dynamic society like Singapore? Can philanthropy play a more strategic role in increasing a city’s cultural capital?

Both Anne-Marie and Kola backed up the discussion with statistics showing that while giving to the arts has been on the rise, it has also yet to mature to its full potential. Arts and Heritage only accounted for 7.1% of philanthropic donations in 2016, as compared to Social and Welfare (32.2%) and Education (25%)*.

“Why is it important for the private sector to become more involved in funding the arts?” asked Anne-Marie, “What we’ve seen across our work in CFS is that philanthropic efforts do not “substitute” government funding for causes, but address the gaps within an eco-system that the government might not be able to tackle.”

“The private sector can deliver a much-needed boost through sustained giving to the arts sector. This is particularly important as it takes time to cultivate and nurture the next generation of artists and audiences.”

Kola also noted foundations such as the Li Ka Shing Foundation and Temasek Foundation have recently added ‘building social capital’ as a key philanthropic goal. He added that art institutions could work towards demonstrating that their cause goes beyond mere art appreciation, and the arts contributes to future proofing the economy by nurturing a new generation of thoughtful, critical thinkers.

Charlotte Koh from the National Arts Council posed a question to the panellists regarding the need for strategies to sustain giving to the arts, in the face of yearly fluctuations in donations. While Kola highlighted that philanthropy to the arts should be viewed as a long-term endeavour which naturally has its ups and downs, Anne-Marie sounded an optimistic note, “Ultimately, giving to the arts is about the value of creativity in society. Singapore is a creative society, and donors will want to reflect that in how they spend their charitable dollars.” 

News coverage on the event by Luxuo can be read here.

* Source: Commissioner of Charities Annual Report 2016
Photo: Art World Forum

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Opinion

Speech by CEO Catherine Loh at CFS’s 10th anniversary celebrations

John Doe
John Doe
CEO Catherine Loh giving a speech

Minister Grace Fu, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

The power of informed giving
It’s wonderful to see so many of you here this evening. Thank you for taking the time to join us as CFS celebrates its 10th anniversary.

This is an exciting moment in CFS’s history. When I joined CFS six years ago, we had just survived our first few years as a startup. There was an air of promise as we reached out to more donors, but we had much to prove. In those early years, we didn’t have any marketing. Our donors grew mainly through introductions by the Board and Committee Members and recommendations by existing donors.

Fortunately, CFS has grown over the years to have a much wider reach in the public sphere. Today, CFS has achieved 113 donor funds, raised over $100 million and disbursed over $60 million to over 400 charitable organisations in Singapore.

If we consider the reasons for our success, I believe CFS has been able to earn the trust of donors who not only want to give more, but also want to give well.

By our very nature, a community foundation is a neutral body that can offer donors strategic advice, and a more insightful overview of community needs. As a bridge-builder, we can pool together local resources and channel resources into long-term impact. It also helps that we can work across all sectors, from social work to education to health, to arts and sports, heritage, the environment to even animals.

The entrance of a community foundation like CFS has transformed how philanthropy is approached. We have introduced new models of giving, to respond to an increasingly complex social landscape. We have championed philanthropy based on community needs, because we understand the power of informed giving.

Of course, our success in championing informed giving would not be possible without our charity partners. They work tirelessly on countless programmes that expand the possibilities of how donors can give well – whether it’s piloting new programmes or scaling programmes that have delivered clear impact.

Yet for philanthropy in Singapore to thrive, public-private support needs to work hand-in-hand to address the evolving needs of the community. Hence CFS has been successful in building trust and meaningful relationships between donors, charities and the public sector. A strong and developed philanthropy ecosystem is crucial to ensuring sustainable and impactful funding support.

A new generation of philanthropists
We are also glad to see a new generation of philanthropists who are taking on a more active role as agents of change. Singaporeans have become increasingly conscious and involved in social issues. Giving back now no longer begins at retirement, as many of our donors are still active in their professions, with many below 50. Donors are also becoming increasingly sophisticated. Many exhibit gumption to take on meaningful projects, a willingness to explore collaboration with a keen focus on impact.

But many of our donors are silent heroes, giving generously in the background. That’s why I’m particularly glad to see some of our donors sharing their stories on a larger platform.

Take for example CFS donor and board member Mr Keith Chua. His great-grandmother Mrs Lee Choon Guan supported education in the early 1900s for women and girls, at a time when education wasn’t always an option for them.

Today, Mr Chua continues her legacy of giving through a charitable fund with CFS. Following in her footsteps, he is making education and healthcare some of the key areas he supports. Mr Chua’s family reminds us that acts of giving may not just bear fruit in our lifetime, but can also leave a lasting legacy for future generations

I would like to encourage more of you to take the next steps in your giving journeys or step up to share your stories of giving – if only to inspire and encourage a bigger and broader community of givers, including the next generation.

The next phase
We are truly encouraged by the growth of effective philanthropy over the last decade. But I believe we are still only at the beginning of our journey to promote and facilitate meaningful giving.

While Singapore has progressed rapidly, the social challenges we face, from an ageing population to social inequality, have become more complex and interconnected. While the government tackles social issues on a large scale, there are always gaps that are in need of more support. It’s crucial for philanthropy to evolve to tackle these diverse issues within our community innovatively. Here’s how CFS plans to approach it:

Social problems are usually too large and complex for anyone to tackle them individually. Through initiatives such as Colabs and the Singapore Youth Impact Collective, CFS brings together various stakeholders to collaborate and co-create solutions to make greater impact.

We encourage donors to think about creating a legacy as living a life of generosity and making meaningful impact. Our legacy giving offering will be further formalised into an approach that can help donors address the needs of the community over the longer term.

The future of philanthropy includes an increasing focus on tracking to help us better assess the impact made on the community. So we hope to influence more charity partners to incorporate output and outcome tracking in their programmes.

In the years ahead, as CFS continues to spearhead philanthropy, I am hopeful that more people will come to embrace the culture of giving, as it is integral to building a more caring and cohesive nation.

I wish to thank MCCY for its support of CFS, for helping us grow a giving culture to benefit all Singaporeans and to raise the professionalism of our sector.

To our donors, thank you for your trust and generosity that has opened doors of opportunity for so many in our community.

To our charity partners – thank you for your inspiring work. We’re grateful for your dedication in creating programmes that truly make a difference.

My gratitude goes out to the CFS Board and committee members – past and present – for your vision and guidance that has shaped CFS to the organisation we are today. Special mention and thanks to four of our founding Board Members– Ms Madeleine Lee, our first Investment Committee Chairperson. She was instrumental in developing our investment mandate and establishing our investment portfolio, which has outperformed its benchmark since inception. Thanks also to Mr David Lim, our first legal advisor who drafted our M&AA. My thanks and appreciation to Mr Yeoh Oon Jin, our first Audit Chair for setting up our very rigorous audit framework. I would also like to thank Dr Mary Ann Tsao, who together with Laurence, has contributed enormously to CFS’s grantmaking expertise as well as our understanding of community needs. Having proper governance, accountability and professionalism is crucial to gaining the trust of our donors and ensuring that their donations go to those in need of funding.

I would also like to pay tribute to Mr Stanley Tan and Mr Laurence Lien, two individuals who have guided CFS to where we are today. Both Stanley and Laurence are deeply motivated by their belief that philanthropy can play an instrumental role in creating change. I am honoured to have been able to work with both gentlemen, building on their knowledge and experience, and growing the organisation they started.

Last but not least, a big thanks to my team, the people behind CFS, for your hard work, professionalism and dedication, thank you for bringing your best to CFS every day.

To everyone who believed in us when CFS first started 10 years ago, thank you for being the bold frontrunners in our journey.

We look forward to your continued belief in us to build a more cohesive and caring Singapore.

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”。

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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.

Events

CFS Donor Learning Trip Series: Empowering ageing well at Yong-en Care Centre

John Doe
John Doe
Charitable Business professionals standing before a screen.

This initiative is part of CFS’s Donor Learning Trips, a series of engagement opportunities that enable donors to personally connect with charities and gain insights into how they support communities in need.

Several seniors were playing a game. Seated in pairs, they were passing a large ball around. The challenge? Don’t drop the ball! There was laughter and cheers as the ball wobbled from one pair to another. This is one of many therapeutic activities at Dementia Day Care, a keystone service by registered charity 
Yong-en Care Centre.

Yong-en Care Centre’s Dementia Day Care is a lifeline for 31 seniors – all with moderate to advanced dementia – and their overwhelmed caregivers. The programme is funded by the generous donors of CFS.

In May 2023, 11 donors from 7 donor-advised funds (DAFs) took the time to join our first Donor Learning Trip this year, to Yong-en Care Centre, to meet with the charity and discover how it cares for the vulnerable elderly. Ageing Well is one of CFS’s five focal areas for grantmaking, where we curate programmes that enable our senior generation to remain active and purposeful for a better quality of life in their golden years.

Yong-en Care Centre began 27 years ago serving the destitute elderly in Chinatown. It has since expanded its outreach to the Chin Swee, Outram and Bukit Merah areas. Its services have also gone beyond food security and befriending to a full suite of support for low-income families, single mothers, home nursing care, dementia, and active ageing. It is an under-the-radar charity that is quietly and steadily making an outsized impact.

During the visit, donors learnt how music therapy is being embedded into dementia care, as well as the support and workshops offered to caregivers, many of whom are also old. The Dementia Day Care runs daily activities that engage the beneficiaries’ cognitive functions and improve their motor skills, including the pass-the-ball game witnessed by our donors. Such multi-sensory activities are specially curated to help persons with dementia manage their condition.

Donors also received updates on Home Care, another programme that receives grants from CFS donors. Yong-en Care Centre is one of the 24 home care service providers in Singapore and its nurses visit homebound seniors to provide personalised medical care.

Yong-en Care Centre is rapidly expanding its dementia care services and introducing more active ageing programmes. It is also collaborating with other community care providers to set up an integrated services hub for seniors and their caregivers at Chinatown Point. To accomplish these initiatives, the nonprofit relies on government grants and public donations. It does not use commercial fundraisers.

Through CFS, Yong-en Care Centre has managed to grow its donor base. “CFS connects us with donors who are truly aligned with our mission,” says Ms. Griselda Ong, director of Elderly Services at Yong-en Care Centre. In 2022, almost a third of funding (32.8%) for home care and 27.5% of funding for dementia day care came from CFS donors . “This support is significant as these critical services help the vulnerable age in place,” says Griselda.

“I have always been interested in supporting elder care,” says June Chia, a donor who set up a donor-advised fund (DAF) with CFS. “But there are many charities doing such work that I do not know of.” Through CFS, she learnt about Yong-en Care Centre.

June is inspired by Yong-en Care Centre’s impact on marginalised communities and its commitment to continuous progress. “I feel that my money is being well-utilised,” she shares. June appreciates CFS’s meticulous vetting of charities and our dedication to groundwork. Giving through a donor-advised fund (DAF) is also hassle-free, as CFS handles all the administrative work and provides regular updates on her fund.

I have always been interested in supporting elder care. But there are many charities doing such work that I do not know of. Through CFS, I learnt about Yong-en Care Centre and having seen first-hand what they are doing, I feel that my money is being well-utilised.

For Yong-en Care Centre, meeting donors face-to-face was a valuable opportunity to deepen their understanding of its unique care model and to engage with them on any questions they may have, says Griselda. In addition, it is also an opportunity to thank CFS donors who have been supporting the charity and build a lasting relationship with them.

CFS assists charities and their underprivileged communities by connecting them with donors who are seeking to support causes and crucial needs that resonate with them deeply.

To find out more about the causes we support, please visit www.cf.org.sg/what-we-support/.

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”。

admin bluecube
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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

Accessing Quality Education: Three Areas Where Donors Can Make A Difference

John Doe
John Doe
Smiling children wearing orange shirts sitting at a table with notebooks

Students without means often do not enjoy the same opportunities as their well-to-do peers. Some are forced to give up their studies to support themselves and their families. Others struggle throughout school without realising they have a learning disability. Some younger children are less school-ready, leading them to fall behind academically. With grants from CFS donors, at-risk students can get the right support to access quality education, one of five focal outcome-centred causes that CFS champions.  

We firmly believe education can boost a person’s employability, and promote inclusivity and integration within society. However, we recognise that not every child has an equal shot at obtaining the education they need. With targeted philanthropy, we bridge critical gaps and improve social mobility for our most vulnerable young.

CFS curates evidence-backed programmes that stretch from pre-school to tertiary level. In this article, we focus on three essential areas where, together with our donors, we continue to make a tangible impact. These are financial assistance for living expenses, helping children with learning differences and building skills for primary-level pupils. 

Letting Students Focus on Learning Through Financial Assistance

At the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), students gain diplomas and valuable skills in a variety of industries, from food science to nursing to IT.  The majority of ITE students, however, come from challenging backgrounds: 46% are from families with a per capita income of under $1,000, more than twice the national average. Many then have to work part-time, leaving less time for their studies.

ITE lends a helping hand to these youths through the Monthly Financial Assistance Scheme (MFAS). Beneficiaries receive $150 per month for six months to help with their food and transport costs. 

ITE is only able to help some of their students with MFAS and relies on donor support to ensure greater coverage. This would help even more students on their quest to graduate and find gainful employment. 

Similar financial assistance schemes are also offered by AMKFSC Community Services Ltd, Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic. Numerous students with limited family support stand to benefit from your generosity.

Support for Dyslexia Assessments

Children with learning differences often have difficulties keeping up in school. This can severely impact their academic life and hurt their career opportunities. Some have dyslexia without knowing it: global incidence rates suggest that up to 10% of the school-going population may suffer from dyslexia.

In Singapore, the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) conducts close to 1,000 psycho-educational assessments each year, based on referrals by teachers and parents. These assessments are important in identifying the needs of struggling learners to make appropriate recommendations for learning support. However, about 35% of these children come from low-income families, who will not be able to afford the costly assessment fees.

Donor support from CFS directly funds psycho-educational assessments by trained psychologists at DAS. Once diagnosed, the children will be able to receive support tailored to their learning abilities. Through early intervention, donors are helping disadvantaged children overcome their learning differences, allowing them to fulfil their potential.

After-School Enrichment Builds Skills and Confidence

Each child starts at a different point in primary school based on their socio-economic background. Those from families facing challenges may have weaker literacy or numeracy skills and thus be less prepared for school.  Being placed into lower-performing classes may demoralise and frustrate these children, leading to disinterest and reduced academic motivation.

KidsExcel works closely with primary schools to reach out to students from families with a gross household income below $2,750 or per capita income below $690. It runs regular enrichment sessions which address learning gaps as well as activities centred on sports and life skills. This includes drama, public speaking and robotics. The programme boosts resilience and character-building while helping the kids academically. It also empowers parents to participate in their children’s educational journey.

In 2022, KidsExcel served 350 primary school children across 11 centres. An encouraging number of children were able to improve their grades, while 87% of Primary 6 pupils passed their PSLE. Through KidsExcel, donors are helping to level the playing field for underprivileged children in primary schools. 

We could spark change with far-reaching effects by funding a programme that improves access to quality education. Drawing on our experience working with charities and partners over the years, CFS is here to offer advisory and administrative support so that you can focus on the transformative power of your giving to educational causes.  

Learn how CFS can help you support access to quality education at https://www.cf.org.sg/giving/ways-to-give/.

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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”。

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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