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The Straits Times: Legacy of giving lives on
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The Straits Times: Legacy of giving lives on

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In his final year as president, Mr S R Nathan – together with a few of his close friends – started discussing with me the idea of starting a philanthropic fund to help “uplift” children from poor families.

Coinciding with the launch of Mr Nathan’s memoir An Unexpected Journey: Path To The Presidency in 2011, the S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund was established to provide financial support to disadvantaged young people by helping them complete their education.

Despite Mr Nathan’s initial reluctance on naming the fund after himself (the humble and unassuming man that he was), we were glad he eventually relented, as it would help promote the concept of community ownership and inspire others to do the same.

Administered by the Community Foundation of Singapore, the fund has since supported close to 1,000 Institute of Technical Education, polytechnic and university students by providing them bursaries, scholarships and monthly financial assistance.

The fund resonated with Mr Nathan’s beliefs and conviction about giving and receiving kindness, which we witnessed first-hand while working with him to manage the grants.

He was always involved and would make time to meet the many recipients – getting to know them and their families. He would even follow up by sending handwritten notes of thanks and encouragement.

Mr Nathan has touched many young lives through this fund. His death leaves a void, but his legacy of giving lives on. I hope that in time to come, those whom he has helped will do the same by reaching out to help others.

Laurence Lien Tsung Chern
Chairman
Community Foundation of Singapore

Link to story: http://www.straitstimes.com/forum/letters-in-print/legacy-of-giving-lives-on

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Four teachers recognised for excellence in early childhood, special needs education

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four teachers receiving an award

Ms Sulochanah Kanapathy’s pupil was already four years old but he could not say a word.

But Ms Sulochanah, 47, was determined to help, and taught the child with special needs to speak his first words.

The teacher from Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten went the extra mile by conducting home visits, giving the child additional teaching materials, and training his parents to better manage his learning.

That incident from seven years ago drove her to take a course in special needs education to understand children with such challenges better.

On Wednesday (Nov 24), she received the Leading Foundation Teacher Award, in the Early Childhood Educator category, at the National Institute of Education (NIE) in Nanyang Technological University.

Besides Ms Sulochanah, Ms A. Neshanthini Neelamohan, 33, from Sparkletots Preschool @ Braddell Heights Block 246, also received the Leading Foundation Award in the same category.

Ms Wong Jia Min, 34, from Fei Yue Community Services and Mrs Lee E-Lyn, 47, from Methodist Girls’ School (Primary) received the Leading Foundation Award in the Special Needs Educator Category.

The Leading Foundation Teacher Award, established in 2013, recognises excellence in early childhood, special needs and allied educators who have made significant contributions to the well-being and teaching of their students. It is administered by NIE and the Community Foundation of Singapore.

The four were selected through appraisals and interviews by the judging panel, which comprised members from NIE, the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Early Childhood Development.

This year, there were a total of 57 nominations.

Among the winners was Ms Neshanthini,who is a firm believer in ensuring that her lessons appeal to all types of learners.

There is always something for her pupils, be it visual, auditory or tactile. For instance, she often uses food essence to stimulate her pupils’ senses as part of sensory play, she said.

As for Ms Wong Jia Min, she believes parental support is key to a child’s development.

For example, Ms Wong brought in a professional sign language interpreter so that a student with behavioural issues could communicate more effectively with her deaf parents.

Many house visits later, Ms Wong and a social worker noticed a major positive change in the student’s behaviour.

Mrs Lee, on the other hand, uses humour in her classes to allow her students to express themselves and to feel relaxed in a safe environment.

For instance, she records the children’s voices and plays the recordings back during oral practice. She focuses heavily on celebrating small successes and encouraging them.

“I’m not just their teacher, but their cheerleader too,” she said.

The awards are sponsored by The Leading Foundation, which was co-founded by Mr Lim Siong Guan, a professor in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, and a former head of the Singapore Civil Service, with Ms Joanne H. Lim, founder of a communications consultancy.

Mrs Jennifer Lim, Prof Lim’s wife and the guest of honour, presented the awards to the winners, who also received a cash award of $2,500 and a certificate each.

Winners list
Early Childhood Educator category
Ms A. Neshanthini Neelamohan, 33, PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Braddell Heights Blk 246
Ms Sulochanah Kanapathy, 47, Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten

Special Needs Educator category
Mrs Lee E-Lyn, 47, Methodist Girls’ School (Primary)
Ms Wong Jia Min, 34, Fei Yue Community Services

If you would like to begin your giving journey with us at CFS, please read more here

This article was originally published in The Straits Times here. Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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Media release: CFS and NVPC initiate cross-sector collaborative effort to help disadvantaged young persons in Singapore

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  • Partnership between CFS and NVPC formed Colabs, to drive collaboration among the public, private and social sectors to tackle complex social issues
  • First series tackles social mobility of disadvantaged young persons in Singapore

Singapore, July 2, 2018– The Community Foundation of Singapore (“CFS”) and the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (“NVPC”) have partnered to catalyse collaboration among the public, private and social sectors.

Colabs, an initiative by CFS and NVPC, drives collaboration by bringing together philanthropists, businesses, non-profits and sector experts to share knowledge, exchange ideas and co-create solutions. More than 100 representatives from 56 stakeholders took part in the first Colabs series that focused on the needs of disadvantaged young persons. These comprised government ministries, statutory boards, multi-national corporations, private companies, foundations, individual philanthropists, academics and non-profit organisations.

In addition, CFS and NVPC have released a guide to provide funders from various sectors of society with practical ways to help disadvantaged young persons in Singapore. The guide, titled ‘A Call for Collaborative Giving: Closing the Gap for Disadvantaged Young Persons’, capturesinsights uncoveredby the diverse group of stakeholders who met to discussthe issues, and outlines clear recommendations for collective action.

“Collaboration is the way forward, as the scale, scope and complexity of social issues today makes it impossible for a single player or the government to solve alone,” said CFS Deputy Chief Executive Officer Joyce Teo. “By leveraging our shared expertise, skills and resources, collaborative partnerships offer donors opportunities to bring about more impactful social change.”

NVPC Director of Strategic Partnership Darrel Lim elaborated: “While there are numerous programmes by organisations to address current issues, there are still gaps, challenges, and constraints faced by beneficiaries and social services. Colabs is a platform which brings together like-minded stakeholders to learn and share insights, uncover gaps in the current system and collectively devise ways to plug these gaps.”

The Colabs series on disadvantaged young persons focused on whether education is a game changer for improving their social mobility. Over the course of eight months, participants shared and heard from sector experts, beneficiaries, and donors. Through roundtable talks, workshops, as well as a field trip and poverty simulation exercise, participants learnt about the challenges that prevent disadvantaged young persons from doing well in life, and the types of support currently available.

Elaine Loo, Director of Central Youth Guidance Office, Ministry of Social and Family Development, commented, “Colabs connects stakeholders across the various sectors to facilitate the sharing of perspectives and nudge collective efforts to address issues that our children and youth are facing today. Networks such as these are useful platforms that allow public agencies to hear directly from stakeholders, including our private sector partners.”

Colabs participants found that while education can help bridge social gaps, not every child can fully tap into the benefits that education can bring. Economic, social, and cultural differences also contribute to a greater degree of variance in Singaporean students’ academic performance compared to students from other countries[1], and social gaps may widen if disadvantaged young persons here are not given the help they need.

Disadvantaged young persons here face multiple challenges. Parents tend to work long hours or hold shift jobs, leaving little time to attend to their children’s learning needs. They often shoulder more adult responsibilities[2]. This can result in poorer literacy development and academic performance, and may lead to psychological issues such as depression and other conditions[3].

“It is difficult to have a ‘one size fits all’ solution because circumstances vary from person to person. Instead, harnessing collective expertise towards providing a variety of support structures with the capacity to consider unique individual needs will result in greater, longer lasting impact,” noted Benjamin Teo, social worker and Centre Director at SHINE Children & Youth Services.

The Colabs guide outlines three different levels on which aspiring changemakers can make a difference through philanthropy and/or volunteerism. Firstly, there are programme-level initiatives which affect young persons directly. These involve supporting new programmes or enhancing existing ones. Secondly, there are organisational-level initiatives that target to strengthen non-profit organisations’ capacity and capabilities; these can significantly impact outcomes across many programmes. Lastly, funders can choose to invest resources on sector-level initiatives that will impact the wider ecosystem, such as the development of multi-stakeholder data sharing platforms. More details can be found on pages 10 to 13 of the guide, which can be downloaded here.

A second Colabs series focusing on persons with disabilities has concluded and a third Colabs series focusing on seniors will commence later this year.

END

About Colabs
Colabs is a philanthropic initiative by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre and the Community Foundation of Singapore. 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.

About the Community Foundation of Singapore
The Community Foundation of Singapore (“CFS”) is a non-profit organisation founded in 2008 to encourage and enable philanthropy in Singapore. We match donors’ interests with causes and offer ways for them to make a greater impact through their charitable funds. We also collaborate with charity partners to identify and develop programmes that support diverse communities. Our purpose is to create real and meaningful change while building a philanthropic culture in Singapore. CFS is a registered charity with Institution of a Public Character status.

About the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre
The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre is an independent not-for-profit organisation that advocates giving in Singapore. Our vision is for Singapore to be a Giving Nation and to cultivate a strong culture of contribution where giving is part of every Singaporean’s DNA. We work closely with charities, corporates, public sector agencies, institutions as well as the community to build a robust ecosystem to make giving simple, fun and meaningful.

[1]According to the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (“PISA”) international survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”). The latest PISA survey results show that ESCS differences account for 16.8%, 17.0%, 15.1% of the variance in Singapore students’ performance in science, reading, and mathematics, compared to the OECD average of 12.9%, 11.9%, and 13.0%, respectively.

[1]  Mathews, M. & Chan, C. (2015). Empowering Low-income Families: Documenting the Contributions of Family Excellence Circles (FEC)

[1]  Mathews, M. & Chan, C. (2015). Empowering Low-income Families: Documenting the Contributions of Family Excellence Circles (FEC)

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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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Our Annual Report 2021 is now available for download

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cover of CFS annual report

We are pleased to share that the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) Annual Report 2021 has been published. Download your copy here to learn more about the year’s highlights and our impact on the community. 

Even as the pandemic gripped our nation, we are humbled to report that – together with our donors, charities, and partners – CFS delivered a year of bold action and made tremendous progress on our mission to facilitate impactful giving.

CFS delivered a record of $24 million in grants – the highest since our inception – disbursed to 291 organisations and 13 individuals, and a total of $5.7 million via the establishment of 19 new funds for the financial year ended 31 March 2021.

The Annual Report contains the following information:

  • Corporate Information 
  • Key Highlights
  • Forward Vision
  • Governance and Policies
  • Financial Statements
  • Grantees List

Regarding the year under review, the report reflects the information contained in CFS’ annual results, as well as the audited consolidated financial statements. 

CFS stands ready to work alongside all of you to champion greater giving and create a better world for future generations. To find out more about CFS, get in touch with us.

About CFS

The Community Foundation of Singapore is a non-profit organisation founded in 2008 to encourage and enable philanthropy in Singapore. We match donors’ interests with causes and offer ways for them to make a greater impact through their charitable funds. We also collaborate with charity partners to identify and develop programmes that support diverse communities. 

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BLLNR: How to donate time and money to a charity effectively

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While the notion of giving is indeed widespread, it isn’t easy to commit to help those in need when you find yourself caught up in today’s ever-changing environment.

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) is one such organisation that facilitates this line of work by bridging donors with causes of interest to develop programmes and provide grants to enrich lives. It values the 3 C’s to make giving better: connect donors with respective causes, collaborate with charities and commit to managing donor funds.

One woman has managed to significantly grow the number of donor funds and volume of donations, paving the way for an effective philanthropy — Catherine Loh, the Chief Executive Officer of CFS, believes in the heart of giving. However, her arrival into the philanthropy space was not immediate but serendipitous.

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