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The Straits Times – More wealthy donors setting up private charity funds
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The Straits Times – More wealthy donors setting up private charity funds

John Doe
John Doe
Photo of many levels of HDB corridors

More wealthy people are setting up private charity funds through which they can give away their riches, according to a foundation that helps such individuals set up the funds.

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) said it has seen the number of individual donors rise from seven in 2008 to 97 this year. Each of the funds must have at least $200,000.

The benefactors are getting younger, too. There was just one under the age of 50 in 2008 when the foundation was set up, but the number has soared to 39 this year.

The number of charity funds under the foundation’s care rose from seven in 2008 to 110 this year. A charity fund can support several causes over a longer period of time compared to a straight-up, one-time donation to a charity.

Said foundation chairman Laurence Lien: “We observe that donors are not waiting till retirement age to start thinking about philanthropy and giving back.”

The foundation was set up and registered as a charity in 2008 as a vehicle to boost philanthropy among Singapore’s growing number of millionaires. It helps the donors set up the funds, look for suitable beneficiaries and disburse the money over a period of time. The donors get to name their funds and decide what causes to support.

When the foundation started, five donors – three individuals, Swiss Bank UBS AG and the Khoo Foundation – gave $13 million in total to kick off the foundation.

The individuals were property developer Simon Cheong, retired businessman William Bird and businessman Stanley Tan.

The total donations raised by the foundation through these private charity funds crossed the $100 million mark this year.

From 2008 to 2013, the foundation handed out $12 million in grants to about 130 charities. By this year, it gave out five times more money – $60 million – to 400 charities.

Besides donating more money, donors are also asking more questions and getting involved by volunteering in the charities they give to, Mr Lien noted.

“Philanthropists today are increasingly sophisticated,” he said, adding: “They look for more involvement and greater accountability for their donations. They want to find out who they are truly helping and whether programmes can be sustained after funding ends.”

Such donations from wealthy individuals are expected to grow. “We think that there are many latent givers in Singapore – those who want to give more but do not know how, so they end up putting off their giving,” he said.

There are about 152,000 millionaires in Singapore, according to the Credit Suisse Research Institute’s 2017 Global Wealth Report. A millionaire is a person whose net worth – assets minus debt – is worth more than one million dollars.

The trend of more younger people donating to charity is not restricted to millionaires.

The National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), the national body that promotes volunteerism and philanthropy, said its survey showed that those between 35 and 44 donate more than those in other age groups.

“The mid-lifers, dubbed as ‘Generation Stretched’, are still giving in spite of the various demands in life,” said NVPC chairman Mildred Tan.

While younger people may be donating more, she added: “We hope to motivate and encourage people to continue giving throughout their lives.”

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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Opinion

Giving from strength to strength

John Doe
John Doe
Catherine Loh posing for a photo

In the Community Foundation of Singapore’s (CFS) first year of operation, few individuals wanted to talk to us about philanthropy. Thanks to a founding group of seven donors in 2008 who placed their faith in us, we started to see growth.

As CFS commemorates its 10th anniversary, we are delighted to witness how our carefully cultivated seeds to enable philanthropy have borne fruit. Earlier this month, the Straits Times published an article More wealthy donors setting up private charity funds highlighting the encouraging trends amongst private donors in Singapore and featuring two of our donors here and here.

For instance, CFS’s donor pool has grown more than ten-folds, from seven in 2008 to 110 in 2018.

Our donors increasingly include younger individuals. Today, around 40% of our donors are aged 50 and below, as compared to one such donor in 2008. We think the growth of younger donors underscores a broader, positive shift in giving attitudes, and with many latent donors in our society, we believe this number is set to grow.

As we celebrate these recent events, we are also delighted to highlight three programmes that are expanding their activities and impact through the generous contributions of our donors.

Care Corner Educational Therapy Service plugs a critical gap for children with special learning needs in mainstream schools.

Apex Harmony Lodge’s personalised model of dementia care empowers patients to live with dignity and well-being.

Tabung Project by Beyond Social Services is an innovative grassroots initiative that has enabled children from lower-income families to experience the benefits of saving.

After all, growing together – CFS, our donors and charities – is what allows us to offer the local communities we support the best means for meaningful change.

Catherine Loh
Chief Executive Officer
Community Foundation of 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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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.

News

The Straits Times – Volunteerism rate needs to be 70 per cent with ageing population: Grace Fu

John Doe
John Doe
A room of elderly people doing head exercises

In an effort to create a caring and empowering environment for its rapidly ageing population, Singapore hopes to double its volunteerism rate from one in three currently to 70 per cent in five years’ time.

“We hope for Singapore to grow as a giving nation with a volunteer in every household,” Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said in a keynote address on Tuesday (June 5) at the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network’s (AVPN) conference.

“We believe technology can empower and enable citizens to do good by providing time, money and resources to meet the needs of their neighbours and build stronger social bonds,” she added.

The conference at Suntec Singapore, which began on Monday, is the largest gathering of social investors in Asia, bringing together 1,000 delegates from 40 countries to address critical issues related to climate action, education and wealth disparity, among other things.

In her speech, Ms Fu noted the challenge faced by many countries: “In the face of technological advances that disrupt our businesses, our jobs, the way we communicate with one another; in the face of an ageing population that will change the societal structure and dramatically increase the need for social services; in the face of globalisation that may result in uneven economic progress for segments of society; our challenge is to activate and strengthen the social compact in the face of increasing social and technological divides.”

To that end, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre’s (NVPC) Giving.SG portal has grown over the past few years to more than 150,000 members who use the platform to find opportunities to volunteer and make donations.

More than S$100 million has been directed to charities through the portal, with over S$50 million distributed in the past 2½ years alone.

She said collaboration across the private and public sectors is key to achieving impact in the social sector.

“Corporations could step up and partner government and non-profit organisations to do more for the community. Recognising that there are important stakeholders other than shareholders, corporations should place social responsibility clearly as part of their score card.”

“Business leaders should move beyond conducting ad hoc, one-off sponsorship or events to incorporating sustained giving programmes as an integral part of their corporate strategy and identity. Companies benefit from the shared public assets of the societies in which they operate and should therefore in return deliver benefit to all these constituencies,” Ms Fu added.

She said social enterprises can play a critical role to achieve inclusive growth.

She said: “Social enterprises play an integral role in the ecosystem, by achieving social impact in an economically sustainable way. They bridge the people and private sectors, and deliver on both purpose and profit.

“Corporates can help grow the capacity of this important sector, by providing strategic counsel and business mentorship to social entrepreneurs.”

The NVPC and the Community Foundation of Singapore recently started Colabs, an initiative that brings together the public, private and social sectors to tackle complex social issues together at the same forum.

It provides a platform for philanthropists, businesses, foundations, non-profits and sector experts to focus on co-creating solutions for specific social needs.

The first Colabs series on children and youth catalysed two foundations, a multinational company and local non-profits to form a collective venture to help disadvantaged youth transit from school life to work life, with an initial pledge of more than $500,000.

Ms Fu said: “It is a targeted phase in youth and education, which needs very targeted outcomes to plug gaps, that sometimes impact the effectiveness of our programmes.

“So we know that there is a gap, the gap needs more than just financial resources; you will need expertise, networks and opportunities and that’s where the collaboration of various sectors make impactful interventions.

“Two other areas are also being explored – one on the engagement and employment of persons with disabilities; and another on seniors.”

By bringing resources and expertise together, the platform allows for better coordination, clearer focus and customised solutions that the beneficiaries require, she added. 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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Opinion

Giving mental health a boost – why it matters

John Doe
John Doe
an old lady smiling in front of a tree

When the pandemic hit, seemingly overnight, daily routines and livelihoods were forever changed. Children could no longer play outdoors; youths saw lost time with friends, school, graduations and more; while adults straddle an ever-changing array of challenges – from coping with loss of work to additional care-giving duties. 

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Events

International Women’s Forum Singapore: Empowering young women for a better future

John Doe
John Doe
picture of poon yu hui, lydia lim yong yee, betty chum, nur ashikin bte rahim, lim pei shan, joyce than jia yi, and laurina tay kai yee

They may come from disadvantaged families, juggling work with school, but that has not stopped them from pursuing their dreams or even helping others. For this, ten young women were presented with the 2016 International Women’s Forum (IWF)’s Education Grants on 30 September.

Managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore, the IWF Education Grants support young women who are currently pursuing a diploma or degree in local polytechnics or universities but face challenges in continuing their studies due to financial difficulties. Many come from low income families and need to work to pay school fees or supplement their household income.

Recipients are selected for their academic performance, as well as resilience and aspirations. During the selection process, the Education Grants Committee also highlighted that despite their difficult circumstances, many of the recipients still found time to give back to the community by taking part in voluntary work such as befriending the elderly and mentoring young children and teens.

At the dinner reception held at CapitaGreen and hosted by IWF Singapore leaders including Dr Aline Wong, Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, Arfat Selvam, Saw Phaik Hwa, Chong Siak Ching, Carmee Lim, Goh Swee Chen and Doreen Liu, recipients and mentors mingled and exchanged anecdotes and advice. The young ladies also took to the floor to share their struggles with work and studies, for some the responsibility of caring for ill or unemployed parents and above all their unwavering quest for further education.

The IWF women leaders applauded the strength and determination shown by the recipients and invited them to be ambassadors at the IWF Singapore 20th Anniversary Conference in 2017 so that they can continue to be an inspiration to others. As part of the mentoring programme, IWF leaders will impart guidance, career counselling and life skills to empower these young ladies for the future.

At the 20th Anniversary Conference, the organisation hopes to raise $250,000 to enable and empower even more young women to change the outcomes of their lives as well as their families’.

About the International Women’s Forum

The International Women’s Forum is a singularly unique organisation comprised of more than 6,400 dynamic women leaders in 34 countries and 75 forums around the world. IWF members span careers, cultures and continents, however, they are wholly aligned in their commitment to building better global leadership.

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