News
The Straits Times: The ST Guide To… giving to charity
wavy line banner

News

News

The Straits Times: The ST Guide To… giving to charity

John Doe
John Doe
four teenagers helping to clean a dirty wall

For those with fatter wallets and who hope to create a greater impact with their gift, they can even consider setting up a charitable fund to give to causes close to their hearts.

For example, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), a non-profit group, helps donors find a more structured and sustainable way of giving by providing advice and managing their charitable fund.

To set up a named charitable fund in the CFS, where the donor decides on the fund’s name and the causes to give to, donors must pledge at least $200,000.

For those with slimmer bank accounts, there is no minimum sum to give if they want to donate directly to the Community Impact Funds that have been set up by the CFS to support lesser known causes, such as helping migrant workers in distress and taking home-bound seniors on outings. Read more.

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.

News

Around 7,000 school children in need of support for meals

John Doe
John Doe
Children happily sitting on the floor, smiling and radiating joy.

A four-week ‘circuit breaker’ is the latest challenge to hit Singapore, as a pre-emptive strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19. As students transition to over three weeks of learning at home, about 7,000 children will miss access to food they would normally get in school, compounding difficulties in continuing their education at home.

As mentioned in Parliament by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat on 7 April 2020, CFS today bolstered efforts to generate support for the Sayang Sayang Fund (SSF). Donations to this fund will complement the work of local public health, non-profit and government entities with emergency support.

CFS now seeks another $3 million for the SSF, to meet evolving and urgent needs of the community. This includes the launch of Recess@Home, a meal programme that will provide disadvantaged students with support for their meals and ensure that children do not go hungry.

Speaking on the SSF, Chief Executive Officer of the Community Foundation of Singapore, Ms Catherine Loh shared, “During these tough times, we hope that the Sayang Sayang Fund will be able to provide immediate and longer-term support not just for the frontline workers but also the vulnerable groups like low-income families and elderly. With programmes such as Recess@Home, we want to help the children whose families are already dealing with many other difficulties due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Community Foundation of Singapore and the Sayang Sayang Fund remain sensitive to the needs of the community and we urge everyone to rally together to overcome this challenging period.”

CFS raised $1.1 million earlier after the launch of SSF in February. However, the increasing severity of the COVID-19 situation and more adverse impact on the economy and society have seen a surge in the demand for charity services.

Donors wishing to donate can do so via PayNow or visit our SSF campaign at giving.sg. Should you require any assistance or if you would like to set up your personal giving campaign in support of the SSF, please visit https://www.cf.org.sg/ or contact us at contactus@cf.org.sg.

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”。

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.

News

Singapore Tatler: Kith and Kin

John Doe
John Doe
Family relaxing on couch, on a magazine. (Singapore Tatler Upfront)

The family behind Naumi Hotels and Rang Mahal Restaurants, Surya, Ritu and Gaurang Jhunjhnuwala, shares how its late patriarch Shyam Sundar Jhunjhnuwala’s spirit of entrepreneurship and giving lives on through the generations with the S S Jhunjhuwala Charity Fund established with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS). With philanthropic advice from CFS, the family continues its patriarch’s legacies and focuses on education, welfare initiatives, as well as health-related issues for underprivileged women and children in Singapore. Read more.

Courtesy of Singapore Tatler, February 2019

Speaking after the association’s annual general meeting at Kallang Netball Centre on Friday, Liang-Lin, a fund manager for a US$7 billion (S$9.5 billion) firm focused on green real estate investments in Asia, hopes to bring her expertise to the table and increase the amount of financial support for Singapore netball during her four-year term.

The 53-year-old took over from Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jessica Tan, who has been the association’s president since 2012. Tan had reached the end of her tenure, which saw the national team make several breakthroughs, including a gold medal at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.

Liang-Lin holds various appointments such as being Singapore’s representative to the G20 for Women appointed by the Ministry of Finance. She is also a board member of the Community Foundation of Singapore, which promotes philanthropy through facilitating the establishment of charitable funds.

She said: “One of the things that is overlooked when we look at philanthropy and fundraising is that sport is not really part of the things that people will automatically think about.

“Less than one per cent of the funds that we raise in the Community Foundation goes to sport. The values that sport brings need to be amplified more, so that corporates… see the need to support sport. I think that link needs to be stronger so that we get not just more corporate sponsors, but also they can come in for longer periods of time.”

While national agency Sport Singapore provides funding to netball, corporates can also do their part, she added.

She said: “If we play our cards correctly, we can get corporates to come in and hopefully support them, to see the wider purpose of sport and bring the nation together.”

She also hopes the association can be proactive in looking for financial support, adding: “We must work more strategically with governing bodies on educating corporates on the importance of really supporting sport.”

The former netball player also made references to the recent Women’s World Cup for football, noting the “ability for a game that focuses on women in the sport to bring global attention”.

She said: “I want that kind of trajectory of the limelight going to women’s sport. I think that is a trend that will continue, and I hope that netball will be part of that trend.”

Meanwhile, Tan was satisfied that she has achieved the three objectives she had set out to do when she came on board – to improve quality of play, build a fan base and create an ecosystem which involves coaches and players.

The 57-year-old added: “As much as I do feel sad about having to step down, but at the same time, leadership renewal is very important.

“I think Trina will help to galvanise the team together, and bring a lot of new perspectives and quality to the association.”

Join us in making an impact on Singapore sports scene! Reach out to us for more information.

Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction

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”。

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.

News

The Business Times: DAFs still quite new concept: charities index

John Doe
John Doe
A snapshot of the innovative charities index, showcasing the dafs, a new concept in the philanthropic world.

SINGAPORE was among the top 10 most generous countries in 2018 – according to CAF World Giving Index published by Charities Aid Foundation, a British charity – with 58 per cent willing to donate money to a charitable cause.

However, according to calculations by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), a non-profit organisation that encourages and enables philanthropy in Singapore, just 1.1 per cent of total giving in Singapore in 2017 was to donor advised funds (DAFs), as it is still a relatively new concept.

DAFs are charitable fund accounts that people or organisations can open. An amount of money will be pledged to a cause they are passionate about.

CFS, which started in 2008, has 115 charitable funds. It has raised S$130 million in donations and given out S$65 million in grants.

Laurence Lien, former chairman of CFS, said: “When we first started, there were not a lot of donor-centric vehicles and we sensed that in Singapore, a lot of people say ‘I want to give’, but they do not know how, or the thought of starting a foundation or charitable trust was just so overwhelming.

“Setting up a foundation or a charitable trust is so expensive, and that made them put it off for such a long time.”

He added that for people to be able to start something at the snap of their fingers, “there is definitely a gap in the market for that”.

Mr Lien said that DAFs are motivating philanthropists to think more about the cause they would like to donate funds to and how their donations will help to solve the problem. Some donors with DAFs are willing to come together and discuss ways that they can further make a great impact on complex social issues as they get personally invested in a cause.

CFS has hosted some initiatives, such as Singapore Youth Impact Collective, and the collaboration with National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, Colabs, to help facilitate discussions between such donors.

“Such initiatives help connect the benefactors, charities and donors, and by discussing social issues that need to be addressed, it helps to pinpoint the wider societal problem that needs to be tackled,” said Mr Lien.

When comparing the trend of volunteerism between Singapore and a Western country such as the United States, Eileen Heisman, president and CEO of National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), a non-profit based in the US, noted that for the US, rates of volunteering are going down, whereas in Singapore, there is an upward trend.

This is crucial, as Ms Heisman has observed that when donors volunteer their services and see first-hand what is going on, the issue feels much more personal for them and makes them more committed to the cause.

She added: “I recommend donors to stay with a cause for five to seven years before moving on to a new cause as charities need sustainable funding.”

Mr Lien also encourages volunteerism before moving on to monetary donations, pointing out that there are certain skill sets such as marketing, that volunteers can help with.

Mr Lien said: “I am aware that CFS is limited in providing such support to charities and I am supportive of volunteers who are able to directly lend their support to charities through this method.”

When asked about the public distrust towards Singaporean charities due to past scandals, Mr Lien felt that it was unfair that local charities are being grouped together and condemned just because of one such organisation got exposed for mishandling funds in the past even though the rest are doing “fantastic work”.

To regain public confidence, Mr Lien added that organisations such as CFS help donors do due diligence on the chosen charity to ensure that their money is being put to good use.

Donors who set up funds with CFS receive a six-monthly donor statements with updates on their fund balance, donation history, and grants disbursed.

Mr Lien said: “I find that the bigger risk is giving it to a charity that will not use your money at all because they have so much of it. If donors choose to do it alone, they usually go for brand names, but if you look at the balance sheet of these brand names, they sometimes have billions squirrelled away.”

Ms Heisman concurred and said that charities are required to do tax returns and such information is accessible to the public online.

“These measures help create transparency for the organisation and donors, and help donors make a more informed donation to their charity of choice.” She added that smaller charities tend to come up with new solutions for old problems which are much more effective, and funding a small charity is like “funding a startup business” as they are more innovative and are like disruptors.

She added that smaller charities tend to come up with new solutions for old problems which are much more effective, and funding a small charity is like “funding a startup business” as they are more innovative and are like disruptors.

“It is much easier to explain the concept of DAFs to donors now as the idea is becoming more prevalent in the US. I think because of Web-based banking, the case and speed at which you can get information has made DAFs more popular with people.”

Source: Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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”。

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.

News

Donor-advised funds can make a meaningful impact in Asia

John Doe
John Doe
picture of elon musk

Such funds give donors more say in the philanthropic process, and can lead to donors being tipped off about underfunded causes. These funds also make it possible for non-millionaires to do their bit.

WHAT do Jack Dorsey, Larry Page, Elon Musk, Jack Ma and Mark Zuckerberg have in common in terms of their charitable giving?

All of them have used donor-advised funds (DAFs) in short. DAFs are popular in the United States, with over US$140 billion sitting in these accounts. In Asia, DAFs are relatively new with only Singapore, China, South Korea and Japan setting them up.

What exactly is it? In a DAF, the donor transfers money or other assets to another entity called the sponsoring organisation. While the sponsor legally owns the assets, the donor is given a huge say in determining when the fund is disbursed and causes to support, hence the name “donor-advised funds”. Typically, the sponsoring organisation will provide advisory services to the donor on how to effectively utilise the funds.

At this juncture, a reader may ask what is the difference between a DAF and an organisation like the Community Chest in Singapore, which raises funds for multiple charities?

The major distinction is the role of the donor in the DAF, as compared to the donor making an outright contribution to charity. In a DAF, the donor is an active participant, working in collaboration with the sponsoring organisation, in disbursing funds.

Let us say, we have a philanthropist who wants to make a S$1 million contribution to educational causes. While S$1 million is certainly a lot of money, it is insufficient to set up a private foundation due to the administrative costs involved. A donor who uses a DAF may direct the funds to support worthwhile causes in education, while being properly advised.

In many cases, the donor is a wealthy person who may not be familiar with what is happening on the ground. Therefore, the sponsoring organisation adds value by providing advisory services.

In this example, the sponsoring organisation may, after doing due diligence, recommend that the donor disburse funds to underfunded causes like pre-school, technical and special-needs education.

DAFs can also function as an emergency fund for a “rainy day”. For instance, there could be an emergency societal need like children living under Covid-19 lockdown conditions, who are now deprived of sponsored school lunches. Money from DAFs could then be channelled to fund food vouchers for their families during home-based learning.

In fact, this was the cause championed by The Recess@Home programme spearheaded by the Community Foundation of Singapore, a DAF.

BENEFITS OF DONOR-ADVISED FUNDS

A DAF is attractive to donors because of the many benefits it offers.

First, the DAF gives the donor a greater role in the philanthropic process. This sense of satisfaction that the donors get may encourage them to give more to charities in future and set up a private foundation. In fact, in setting up the first DAF in Singapore in 2008, then Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Vivian Balakrishnan, described it as a “starter kit for foundations”.

Second, the donor is supported by DAF sponsors, who are intimately aware of the needs of the community. Therefore, the funds can support the causes that are desperately in need.

Third, the DAF, if properly used, may achieve maximum impact by making contributions to underfunded areas. Fourth, the donation to a DAF need not be a cash gift, but may take the form of company shares or other non-cash assets. Finally, some countries provide requisite tax breaks to donations to DAFs.

The biggest advantage of the DAF is democratisation of philanthropy from the ultra-high net worth families to individuals who have a modest sum to donate. A heart-warming example is the story of the late Kim Gun-Ja, who set up a fund with the Beautiful Foundation, a South Korean DAF. Ms Kim, a sex slave under Japanese rule, donated all her assets save for funeral costs to set up the Grandmother Kim Gun-Ja Fund to support college tuition for orphans. In Singapore, a DAF may be set up with a minimum sum of S$200,000.

Recently, DAFs have come under trenchant criticism in the United States; some quarters have called it a form of “zombie” philanthropy. The main critique is that donors enjoy tax breaks while disbursing too little to charities. Some have called for a law that mandates the DAF to pay out a certain percentage annually. While this criticism of DAFs is legitimate in the United States, it may not apply to DAFs in Asia, where tax breaks are not the primary motivations behind philanthropic giving.

DAFS IN SINGAPORE

There is anecdotal evidence, at least in Singapore, that the level of disbursements to charities is quite high. For example, the two DAFs in Singapore, the Community Foundation of Singapore and SymAsia Foundation Limited, show a high payout rate to charities. The Community Foundation of Singapore has collected S$192 million and disbursed S$114 million in grants. SymAsia Foundation Limited stated in its 2020 annual report that it collected S$170 million and disbursed S$120 million. In fact, donors are conscious that they ought to disburse more to charities.

RISING PAYOUTS DURING THE PANDEMIC

There is currently a campaign in the United States called #HalfMyDAF, where donors are committing to granting half of the money sitting in their DAFs to charities. During this pandemic, there are reports in the United States that payouts from DAFs to charities have indeed been higher, even as critics push for the payouts to be even more accelerated. In contrast to the cautious and structured giving inherent in DAFs, there is McKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, who upended the philanthropic world by donating US$6 billion in 2020.

With proper governance, DAFs yield a net-positive over the Asian philanthropic space, compared to an informal channel of giving that relies on one’s family and business contacts. A DAF provides a structured and cost-efficient vehicle that democratises philanthropy and identifies societal needs that are underfunded. It is hoped that there would be more properly governed Asian DAFs set up, with high payout rates to charities to tackle difficult domestic and pressing transnational problems of our time, like climate change.

To find out about donor-advised funds, read more about it here.

This article is written by Professor Tang Hang Wu, CFS Board Committee Member and a professor of Law at the Yong Pung How School of Law, Singapore Management University.

This translated article was originally published by The Business Times.  

Credit: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.  

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.

Trending Stories

Scroll to Top