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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

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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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Events

CFS Philanthropy Forum 2019: Looking to the future of community philanthropy

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A diverse crowd attentively observes a conference presentation, engrossed in the speaker's discourse.

At the CFS Philanthropy Forum 2019 held on 18 March, over 100 guests – including donors, charities and partners – gathered to hear from leaders and experts on what lies ahead for community philanthropy.

Headlining the evening was keynote speaker Eileen Heisman, President and CEO of National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), the largest independent donor advised fund (DAF) administrator in the United States. In her dynamic speech, Eileen – a founding member of CFS’s international advisory committee – shared NPT’s amazing journey to raising more than US$13 billion in charitable contributions, and encouraged all in attendance to rise to the challenge of taking local philanthropy to new heights.

Following her speech, Eileen was joined by Dr June Lee, Honorary Research Fellow, Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy (ACSEP) at the National University of Singapore, and moderator Laurence Lien, Chairman of CFS, in an engaging panel discussion on how DAFs enable smarter, better giving by helping donors give more thought to the purpose of their charitable dollars.

Referring to how DAFs are gaining rising interest in Asia, Eileen commented, “A lot of people have chosen donor advised funds because they want something that’s easy, turnkey, relatively inexpensive and can be adapted to changing interests. Donors have many different types of philanthropic goals, so with a DAF, they can shape the fund according to their preferences and they can change their giving focuses over time.”

June noted DAFs offered specific advantages for families looking to give. “In a recent research paper published by ACSEP, we found that one of the biggest question families ask is ‘how do we engage family members in our giving?’” Setting up a DAF allows a founder to set aside funds for philanthropy without burdening his or her children financially, she adds, while also allowing flexibility down the line when a founder’s children wish to pursue to a different charitable cause from their parents.

Remarking on the opportunities ahead for community philanthropy, Eileen cited the growth of two major trends: micro donor advised funds targeting millennials, and new services enabling direct payroll deductions into donor advised funds. “These trends will change the face of donor advised funds as we go forward,” she said.

She challenged CFS to tap on these wider trends to expand its offerings, “As someone who’s very much invested in CFS’s success, I would like to see CFS be creative and thoughtful about expanding the horizon for donors and the community of Singapore to express their philanthropy in different and new ways.”

In his closing remarks, Laurence commented, “It’s clear DAFs are a trend that can’t be turned back. DAFs are there for us to use, to promote, and the only direction is up.”

The evening ended on a poignant note as CFS announced the handover of its chairmanship from Laurence to Christine Ong who takes over as Chairman on 1 April.

Indeed, CFS has come full circle and we are so grateful for the guidance, trust and support we have received over the last decade.

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.

Opinion

A turning point for community philanthropy

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John Doe
Woman delivering a speech at a podium, inspiring the audience with her words.

In the life of any organisation, there are special moments that will be remembered as being turning points.

Last month, CFS held our Philanthropy Forum 2019, where we were extremely privileged to have keynote speaker Ms Eileen Heisman share with us several crucial moments in her career that fueled the growth of National Philanthropic Trust (NPT). As its President and CEO, Eileen has been responsible for steering NPT to raising an incredible US$13 billion in charitable contributions over the last 22 years.

Some of you might know Eileen was a founding member of CFS’s international advisory committee 10 years ago. As we come full circle, Eileen was once again in town to encourage, challenge and inspire us with a vision of what CFS can achieve.

Stepping into a new phase of growing philanthropy in Singapore, I believe this time will be remembered as a turning point in CFS’s history, in more ways than one.

We know that community philanthropy is poised for exponential growth in the next decade. The past year has been a phenomenal year for CFS– in financial year 2018, CFS achieved a year-on-year, four-fold increase in donations amounting to S$35 million. A big thank you to our donors, community partners and collaborators for helping to make this possible.

But what else is needed to create lasting social change? How can we grow from smaller, ad hoc and fragmented giving to bigger, better and smarter giving? Donor advised funds are the way to go as they enable smarter, better giving by helping donors give more thought to the purpose of their charitable dollars.

To take CFS into the future, CFS also welcomed our new Chairman Christine Ong on 1 April, taking over the reins from Laurence Lien. I am deeply honoured to have worked closely with Laurence to build a strong foundation for CFS and confident Christine’s extensive experience in banking and finance, corporate social responsibility and the community will usher CFS into a new phase of growth.

It may be another 10 or 20 years before we look back again at this moment, but I’m sure it will be one we will all be proud of.

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

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

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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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Opinion

How philanthropy can help tackle gender-based online harms

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John Doe
a group of people sitting on the floor

Technology and the Internet have made our lives better in many ways. But they are also facilitating an alarming increase in online abuse, particularly of young women. There is upskirting, where the perpetrator takes intrusive photos or videos up someone’s skirt without their permission. There is revenge porn, where explicit photos or videos of a person are posted on the Internet, typically by a former sexual partner.

With the ubiquity of social media, there is flaming (insulting someone with offensive language), doxxing (revealing private information), and cyberstalking. And on encrypted direct messaging platforms, victims are being threatened with violence. As actress Ashley Judd noted in a powerful TEDTalk in 2016, the online abuse of women has spiralled out of control (Judd, 2016).

In Singapore, a poll conducted in January 2022 by the Sunlight Alliance of Action (AfA), a public-private-people partnership to tackle online harms, found that close to half of the 1,000 respondents polled have personally experienced one or more types of online harms (MCI, 2022). Most of those who faced gender-based cyber abuse were between 15 to 35 years. With young girls, there is the added danger of sexual grooming.

Yet, women do not always come forward to seek freedom from online harm. One reason is a lack of knowledge about recourse. Another revolves around the gendered myths that direct blame towards the victim, writes academic Laura Vitis in Technology-Facilitated Violence Against Women in Singapore: Key Considerations (Vitis, 2021).

What can be done? This is a problem that requires a whole-of-society effort. It needs awareness, advocacy, education, as well as enhancements in regulatory response, law enforcement and social services support. We can start by talking about what constitutes technology-facilitated sexual violence. Reinforce the message that image-based sexual abuse, camera sexual voyeurism and coerced sex-based communication are offences. Urge tech companies to make their services safer by removing offending images or gendered invective. 

On July 13, the Ministry of Communications and Information launched a public consultation on a Code of Practice for Online Safety (Reach, 2022). This will require social media services with significant reach or impact to have system-wide processes to mitigate exposure to harmful online content for Singapore-based users, including those below the age of 18.

Aside from this, we need to empower women to protect themselves against online abuse. Let them know how to record evidence and who to contact for support. These include the government’s 24-hour National Anti-Violence Helpline, AWARE’s Sexual Assault Care Centre, and TOUCH Cyber Wellness. There is also Solid Ground, a volunteer-run project that provides step-by-step guides for those facing online abuse.

More recently, in April 2022, a new non profit was formed to empower, assist and support women and girls facing gender-based harm. SG Her Empowerment Limited (SHE) was born out of the work of Sunlight AfA and is chaired by Stefanie Yuen Thio, a member of Sunlight AfA. Stefanie is also a managing partner at TSMP Law Corporation and a board member at the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS).

The new charity plans to work with technology platforms to streamline reporting procedures and expedite takedowns. It will also liaise with the Law Society Pro Bono Services Office to provide legal clinics and pro bono legal services to those coming to the newly set up Victims’ Support Centre. SHE also hopes to work with the police to provide more holistic and empathetic support to the victims.

“This is an urgent and underserved need in our community,” says Stefanie. “Philanthropy can be a powerful driver and partner in our collaborative, public-private effort to combat online harm. This is a scourge that needs more than government regulation; it requires a whole-of-community response, from setting right mindsets, to calling out offending behaviours, to taking up the cause of victims,” she adds.

In addition to tackling online harms, and in light of the recommendations from the Singapore Government’s White Paper on Women’s Development released earlier this year, SHE will also be rolling out more programmes to support women and girls generally, hoping to work with both men and women to advance and equip the gender.

As a cause-neutral advisor, CFS works with a number of charities and initiatives that raise awareness about gender injustices and provide access to justice for victims of gender abuse, including online harm. If you would like to find out more about supporting these causes or for more information on the work we do, please go to www.cf.org.sg/grants/what-we-support/.

This article was written by Sunita Sue Leng, a former financial analyst and journalist who believes that the written word can be a force for good. She hopes to someday write something worth plagiarising.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CFS or its members.

References

Association of Women for Action and Research. (20 April 2022). Image-based sexual abuse featured in 7 in 10 cases of technology-facilitated sexual violence seen by AWARE in 2021.
https://www.aware.org.sg/2022/04/image-based-sexual-abuse-featured-in-7-in-10-cases-of-technology-facilitated-sexual-violence-seen-by-aware-in-2021/

Judd, Ashley. (2016). How online abuse of women has spiraled out of control. TED Talk. https://www.ted.com/talks/ashley_judd_how_online_abuse_of_women_has_spiraled_out_of_control/transcript

Ministry of Communications and Information. (25 March 2022). Sunlight AfA Releases Topline Findings from Poll on Online Harms at Webinar.
https://www.mci.gov.sg/pressroom/news-and-stories/pressroom/2022/3/sunlight-afa-releases-topline-findings-from-poll-on-online-harms-at-webinar

Reach. (2022). Public Consultation on enhancing online safety for users in Singapore.
https://www.reach.gov.sg/Participate/Public-Consultation/Ministry-of-Communications-and-Information/public-consultation-on-enhancing-online-safety-for-users-in-singapore

Today. (13 July 2022). Singapore lays out proposals to shield young social media users from harmful content; seeks public feedbackhttps://www.todayonline.com/singapore/singapore-lays-out-proposals-shield-young-social-media-users-harmful-content-seeks-public-feedback-1942991?cid=braze-tdy_Today-Morning-Brief_newsletter_14072022_tdy%0A%0A

TSMP Law Corporation. (25 April 2022). SG Her Empowerment Limited (SHE).
https://www.tsmplaw.com/news/sg-her-empowerment-limited-she/

Vitis, Laura. (2021). Technology-Facilitated Violence Against Women in Singapore: Key Considerations. Emerald Publishing Limited. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/978-1-83982-848-520211031/full/pdf

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