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The Straits Times – PR gives back by boosting senior welfare
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The Straits Times – PR gives back by boosting senior welfare

John Doe
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Mr Govind Bommi posing infront of the camera advocating for giving back to the community with elderly people in the back

After 20 years in this country, which he now calls home and where he was able to start and grow a successful business in water filtration, Mr Govind Bommi thought it was time to give back.

He called his lawyer in 2015, and said he wanted to start his own charity fund.

“My lawyer asked me whether I was ready to put in the time and resources to run my own trust fund,” said the 71-year-old permanent resident originally from Bangalore, India. “He asked me not to rush into it.”

The lawyer asked him to contact the Community Foundation of Singapore instead.

He told the foundation he intended to support eldercare services as he felt an affinity for a sector with growing needs.

“I am also a senior, I feel I can do something.”

Mr Bommi is married to a Singaporean. He came to Singapore more than 20 years ago to work for a multinational and decided to settle down here. He has two children and five grandchildren who are living overseas.

Foundation staff took him around to view nursing homes and rehabilitation centres.

A visit to the Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre in Tampines left an impression. “The centre helps seniors discharged from hospitals get back on their feet. Their work is meaningful,” he said.

In March 2016, Mr Bommi set up a $250,000 fund under the care of the foundation to support the centre.

He has since pledged to increase his donation to $1 million over several years to support programmes run by the centre.

Besides making the donation, he also visits the centre every Thursday morning as a volunteer to keep the seniors company. Having the foundation run his donation fund gives him more time to volunteer at the centre, he said.

“Making a one-time donation is easy, but committing time to volunteering is harder.”

When asked why he volunteers then, he replied with a laugh: “Volunteering is more fun.”

Read more.

Photo: The Straits Times

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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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Stories Of Impact

The Tabung Project – Saving together for a better future

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John Doe
a group of kids playing

Launched in 2013, the Tabung Project is a simple yet inventive micro-savings programme by the Healthy Start Child Development Centre (HSCDC), a childcare centre by Beyond Social Services serving children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

With generous support from a donor through the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), families who take part in the Tabung Project are encouraged to save in an innovative way. The idea is simple: every child brings home a tabung (“savings bank” in Malay) where family members and even the child are encouraged to contribute. Each month, Tabung Counting Days are conducted, and each child’s savings is then poured into a community savings pool.

Through a multiplier strategy, the collective savings are matched by the donor and government, yielding a greater savings deposit. The impact of the programme is that every dollar saved multiplies into much more as a result of this generous funding support. As an initiative which involves the whole family, the Tabung Project also inculcates an appreciation of the importance and benefits of saving together.

Today, over 84% of students at HSCDC are involved in the project. Based on review sessions, 70% of the participating parents have developed a positive mindset and culture of saving. Many of them have also expressed their gratitude for the project, which both motivates and helps them kickstart savings for their children, and enables them to tap the CDA funds for their children’s childcare and healthcare expenses.

“The Tabung Project is a small gesture toward a more inclusive society,” explains Gerard Ee, Executive Director of Beyond Social Services, “For low-income families who find it difficult to meet household expenses let alone save, their children will not have much in their Child Development Account (CDA) to meet their educational and healthcare expenses. This project is trying to help them meet practical expenses for their children’s well-being.”

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Stories Of Impact

Restoring the Mental Health of Girls Who Have Survived Abuse: HCSA Dayspring Residential Treatment Centre

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John Doe
A festive gathering of individuals seated around a beautifully adorned Christmas tree, radiating warmth and joy.

Clara* was just fifteen when she attempted suicide for the first time. She had believed her father’s violence was normal. It was not until she spoke to a psychiatrist that she realised violence and sexual abuse were not something that happened in every family. On her sixteenth birthday, after a second suicide attempt, Clara entered Dayspring Residential Treatment Centre (DRTC).

Our teenage years are when we develop crucial social and self-management skills, a time when the foundation for a successful adult life is laid. Survivors of childhood trauma often grapple with its long-term effects throughout their lives, underscoring the critical need for early intervention.

“Children are precious gems. For the ones who could not grow up in a safe and caring environment, they are placed into therapy group homes like HCSA DRTC. We work in teams to help the girls manage their trauma. I also do whatever simple ways I can in their recovery journey to help them see that the world is not as bad as it seems.”

Child Abuse: A Growing Problem

Regrettably, cases of child abuse have been rising annually for the past decade. In 2021, the Ministry of Social and Family Development investigated 2,141 cases of child abuse, marking the highest number in 10 years.

The majority were cases of neglect, which jumped 143 percent from 375 cases in 2020 to 910 cases in 2021. Physical abuse, usually the most common form of abuse, was the second-highest form of abuse in 2021, and child sexual abuse cases also saw a 70 percent increase in 2021.

 

HCSA DRTC: Healing Trauma and Nurturing Futures

HCSA Dayspring Residential Treatment Centre (DRTC) was established in 2011 to provide a caring, safe, and therapeutic environment for teenage girls who have suffered neglect, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.

DRTC’s beneficiaries include girls aged 12-18 assessed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to have moderate to high trauma needs and who are facing persistent difficulties with behavioural and emotional issues.

By employing effective clinical therapies, the centre aims to help these girls become healthy individuals capable of successfully reintegrating into their schools, families, and society.

The girls live at the centre for 12 to 18 months and undergo a clinical programme that comprises three key phases to work through their trauma and restore their mental health.

The initial phase focuses on safety, stabilising the child while building trust and a sense of security. Following this, the regulation-focused treatment aids in teaching coping techniques to manage emotions and behaviours effectively. Finally, the beyond-trauma treatment provides tools to prevent relapses.

A value-based system guides each girl to align her actions with her values and aspirations, empowering her to take charge of her life. When she is ready to graduate, a six-month aftercare programme prepares the girl to rejoin her family, if it is safe for her. If her family home is unsafe, the programme prepares her to live with a foster family or assists her in transitioning to independent living.

An Urgent Need for Capacity Increase

As a certified Trauma Systems Therapy organisation, the most severe cases of complex trauma and abuse are referred by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to DRTC.

Owing to the extensive resources and continuous, vigilant care necessary for these cases, MSF has imposed a limit, allowing DRTC to cater to a maximum of 12 girls concurrently. The operational expenses for maintaining this capacity amount to approximately $1.5 million annually.

With the rising number of child abuse cases and the urgent need for specialised trauma treatment services, DRTC is pushing to increase its resident capacity from 12 to 29.

To aid this expansion in services, DRTC will require additional funding and is calling for volunteers to help as befrienders and trainers.

“Caring for these young survivors is not just about healing wounds; it’s about shaping resilient futures,” says Gerard Wong, Senior Executive, HCSA Community Services. “We appeal to the generosity of CFS donors to join hands with us in expanding our outreach, impacting the lives of these young women, and offering them the chance to heal from adversity and rewrite their stories.”

Shining a Light on a Worthy Cause

CFS has supported DRTC since 2020. To date, CFS donors have contributed $70,000 to support the centre’s operating costs. The contributions go towards the salaries of therapists and staff, running costs of the residence, and food for the residents.

As testament to the programme’s impact, Clara says, “Dayspring turned out to be a strong pillar of support, helping me through difficult times in school and with my family. Even when I experienced suicidal thoughts, the staff never gave up on me and remained understanding and patient.”

“Surprisingly, when I saw my father for the first time after entering Dayspring, I was not angry at all. I felt at peace. I realised I had forgiven him. I told him that I believed he was a good person deep down. I understood: it is through forgiveness that we free ourselves and others from the invisible shackles that once held all of us down. This was when I knew how much Dayspring had changed me.”

To find out how you can support HCSA DRTC, please contact CFS.

* ‘Clara’ is not her real name. Her full story can be found at The Birthday That Changed My Life.

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News

Media release: Community Foundation of Singapore celebrates 10th anniversary

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10 Years From giving to impact graphic
  • Over S$60 million in grants have been disbursed by the foundation, which now manages more than 110 funds.
  • Collaboration, legacy, and impact to be of focus in the coming years.

September 5, 2018 – The Community Foundation of Singapore (“CFS” or the “Foundation”) turns10 this year and marked the milestone with a celebratory event at the Arts House today. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu was the guest of honour at the event, which was also attended by more than 120 guests comprising donors, charities and other partners.

More than 110 charitable funds have been established with CFS since its inception in 2008. Over the past decade, it has raised more than S$100 million in donations and given out grants amounting to around S$60 million to over 400 charity partners that support a wide range of causes. These include animal welfare, arts and heritage, children, education, the environment, families, health, persons with disabilities, seniors, sports and youth. This puts CFS in good stead to help donors identify gaps and opportunities in the ecosystem, undertake due diligence on charities, and manage grants with a high degree of accountability to deliver lasting benefit.

“As an organisation known for its community knowledge, professionalism and strategic approach to giving, CFS has much to be proud of after a decade in the philanthropy sector. Singapore has progressed rapidly but 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 gaps and needs that are in need of more support. It’s crucial for philanthropy to evolve to tackle these diverse issues within our community innovatively. By staying close to the evolving needs of diverse communities, CFS is able to consider the well-being of the community from multiple dimensions,” said Catherine Loh, Chief Executive Officer, CFS.

Collaboration is becoming increasingly important as it is impossible for a single player or the government to solve current social issues alone, given their complexity, scale, and scope. With collaborative partnerships, however, like-minded stakeholders can leverage their shared expertise, resources and skills to bring about change more effectively. In this spirit, CFS has partnered the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre to launch Colabs, a joint initiative that drives collaboration by bringing together philanthropists, businesses, non-profit organisations and sector experts to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and co-create solutions. Colabs recently released a guide that provides practical ways to help disadvantaged young persons in Singapore, following a series of roundtable talks and workshops attended by more than 100 representatives from 56 stakeholders with interests in this area.

Legacy is not only financial in nature, but also comprises personal and/or business values that are inculcated in children and handed down from generation to generation. With this in mind, CFS inspires donors to live generously and contribute to society in meaningful ways, giving in whatever capacity they can, regardless of the stage of life they are at. This resonates with donors, and more individuals are thinking about philanthropy even before they retire. Accordingly, the age profile of donors who set up individual funds with the foundation has evolved, with the proportion of donors doing so under the age of 50 increasing over the past decade. At the time of CFS’s inception in 2008, 14%* of donors were under 50. This percentage has since risen, with 40%* of all donors working with the foundation now being under 50 at the time their funds were established.

Moving forward, there will be an increasing focus on better assessing the impact of philanthropic initiatives on the community. To this end, CFS hopes to encourage more charity partners to incorporate output and outcome tracking in their programmes, taking both quantitative and qualitative measures into consideration.

*Based on the cumulative number of people who have set up individual donor funds, excluding corporate or collective funds. Some individual donor funds are established by couples and family members.

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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.

Stories Of Impact

Leading Foundation Teacher Award – Recognising outstanding teachers in early childhood and special needs education

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John Doe
a group of teachers posing with their awards

Winners of the 2016 Leading Foundation Teacher Award together with representatives from the Leading Foundation, National Education of Singapore, Ministry of Education and Community Foundation of Singapore.

The Leading Foundation Teacher Award was established in 2014 by Lim Siong Guan and Joanne Lim – co-authors of ‘The Leader, The Teacher & You’ and ‘Winning with Honour’ – to honour passionate and dedicated teachers in early childhood and special needs education. 

Organised by the National Institute of Education (NIE) and managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore, the Leading Foundation Teacher Award is the first award in Singapore to recognise excellence in early childhood and special needs educators. To date, a total of 25 teachers have received the award. 

Said Joanne Lim, co-founder of the Leading Foundation: “Coming from a family of teachers, we knew firsthand how much hard work, dedication, sacrifice and passion educators put in to make a positive impact on the lives of their students so we wanted to honour those who embody these values. After we published the first book, we established the Leading Foundation with the Community Foundation of Singapore. CFS went on to identify the lack of recognition for teachers in early childhood and special needs education and so the Leading Foundation Teacher Award was established to plug this gap.”

It is often said that the best teachers teach from the heart, not from a book – and that is exactly what has motivated recipients of the Leading Foundation Teacher Award who often go beyond the call of duty to make a difference in the lives of their students. To date, 21 teachers have received the award.

For allied educator Tutek Alauyah Amir who won the award in 2015, she makes the extra effort to put in place a comprehensive support system to ease special needs students’ first step into primary school.

As for fellow award recipient preschool teacher Jenny Tan, she believes that every child is different and hence tailors her teaching instructions to cater to every child’s learning style, needs and pace.

Another allied educator – 2016 award recipient Jeyaram Kadivan – laboured tirelessly with his visually impaired student to overcome daunting learning hurdles in secondary school. His support enabled the student to score seven distinctions at O levels.

For these exceptional educators, it is hoped that the Leading Foundation Teacher Award will spur them on to greater heights in their field of work, as well as inspire others to excel like them.

Photo: National Institute of Education, Singapore

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