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

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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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News

The Community Foundation of Singapore to lead legacy giving initiative

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An Asian family enjoying quality time together, sitting on the lush green grass in a serene park setting.

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) will be leading the legacy giving initiative and partnering with key stakeholders to grow the giving culture in Singapore.

As Singapore’s only community foundation, CFS is fortunate to build on over 11 years of experience, to bring donors, charities and other stakeholders together. Donors have already trusted CFS with over $160 million in donations. More than one-third of these are legacy gifts, which are used to support causes across different sectors, including health, education, research, arts, social and welfare services.

The three-year initiative, which will be launched in the latter half of 2020, aims to reach out to three audiences: donors, professional advisors and charities.

Legacy is a broad concept. Legacy gifts refer to planned, future donations. This could include cash, marketable securities, insurance policies, CPF monies and marketable assets such as real estate. Legacy gifts are far more than planned donations from a person’s assets after death. They can mark important moments in life and honour the memory and achievements of a loved one. Anyone can make a legacy gift.

Donors interested in making legacy gifts today want more knowledge to make informed choices and accountability for their gifts. CFS will address these needs by promoting awareness, building and sharing knowledge and supporting action. CFS will provide choices and trusted advice to make gifts meaningful and impactful for future generations.

We will also reach out to professional advisors on ways and tools to help their clients structure their giving. CFS will help charities tap into legacy giving to enable sustainability and augment service delivery to their beneficiaries.

“We look forward to working with partners to co-create the future and strengthen our culture of care. Together, we can dream of a future where thinking about one’s legacy and discussing planned gifts in everyday conversations are no longer the exception, but part and parcel of our giving culture,” said Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS.

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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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News

Donations to CFS increased by 60% over the past two years
新加坡社区基金会 两年多善款增六成

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Over two years, the number of Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) has increased from 162 to 235, and total donations received since inception has risen from $192 million to $311 million. As of 31 December 2023, CFS has disbursed over $169 million in grants, a big jump from the $114 million disbursed as of 31 March 2021. 

Speaking to Zaobao, CEO Ms Catherine Loh, shared that one reason for the significant increase in donations was due to a few large donations exceeding $10 million over the past three years. She also highlighted the introduction of Legacy Giving by CFS, and the organisation’s efforts to work more closely with financial and legal advisors to promote philanthropy. Notably, about 15% of CFS’s DAFs are memorial in nature, including the recently established Adrian Tan Memorial Fund in 2023. 

Learn more about our DAFs at https://cf.org.sg/donors/donor-advised-funds/.

截至2023年12月31日,新加坡社区基金会发放的善款超过1亿6900万元,比截至2021年3月31日的超过1亿1400万元多,造福更多人。(档案照片)

Over two years, the number of Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) has increased from 162 to 235, and total donations received since inception has risen from $192 million to $311 million. As of 31 December 2023, CFS has disbursed over $169 million in grants, a big jump from the $114 million disbursed as of 31 March 2021. 

Speaking to Zaobao, CEO Ms Catherine Loh, shared that one reason for the significant increase in donations was due to a few large donations exceeding $10 million over the past three years. She also highlighted the introduction of Legacy Giving by CFS, and the organisation’s efforts to work more closely with financial and legal advisors to promote philanthropy. Notably, about 15% of CFS’s DAFs are memorial in nature, including the recently established Adrian Tan Memorial Fund in 2023. 

Learn more about our DAFs at https://cf.org.sg/donors/donor-advised-funds/.

过去两年多,新加坡社区基金会管理的慈善基金从162个增至235个,善款从1亿9200万元提高到3亿1100万元,增约六成,显示国人对慈善的意识不断提高。

截至2023年12月31日,新加坡社区基金会(The Community Foundation of Singapore,简称基金会)发放的善款超过1亿6900万元,比截至2021年3月31日的超过1亿1400万元多,造福更多人。

新加坡社区基金会总裁罗佩仪答复《联合早报》询问时说,过去三年,基金会接到几个超过1000万元的慈善基金,这是善款增加的其中原因。

另一原因是因为基金会积极推广遗赠项目,并且与财务专员和律师更紧密合作,让更多人认识基金项目,所以取得积极成效。

基金会在2008年成立,通过可持续、妥善和具透明度的方式,协助个人、家庭或企业设立或管理慈善基金。

捐款者能以自己、家人或公司名义设立基金,或为逝者设立基金。遗赠可包括现金、提名基金会为受益人的保险赔付或公积金存款,以及有价证券或房地产等。

捐赠者可指定受惠者,基金会将与相关慈善团体配对,制定有效的行善策略。

基金会与超过400个慈善伙伴合作,协助对象广泛,包括孩童、年长者、客工或社会边缘人,援助范围包括医疗、教育、艺术和动物福利等。

罗佩仪说,基金会管理的“捐献者指示基金”(Donor Advised Funds)分三类,一种是捐赠基金(Endowment fund),慈善资产将永久保存在社区基金会并进行投资,投资收益直接用在所选择支持的慈善机构和项目。

第二种属于流转基金(Flow-Through Fund),在特定时期内支持个人选定、所喜爱的慈善机构和项目,占总指示基金约75%。另一种是可投资流转基金(Investible Flow-Through Fund),捐款用于投资,投资回报和本金都可用于个人选择的慈善事业。

 

捐献者指示基金 目前最大款项超过2000万元

 

在捐献者指示基金中,目前款项最大的超过2000万元,而总指示基金也有约15%属于纪念性质的基金,包括去年设立的陈锦海纪念基金。

她说,陈锦海纪念基金是陈锦海妻子为了向亡夫致敬,并支持他生前热衷的慈善事业而设的。

“纪念基金是缅怀亲人的绝佳方式。我们当中的许多人都是读陈锦海的书长大的,很荣幸能与陈太太合作向他致敬。陈锦海纪念基金确保他的遗赠得以延续,支持他生前关心的公益事业。”

罗佩仪也指出,可投资流转基金是一种新的基金类型,“我们看到捐助者的需求不断增加,他们希望利用捐款投资获取回报,并灵活使用捐款和投资回报,支持所选择的慈善机构。”

 

已故前总统纳丹生前设立“纳丹教育提升基金”

 

已故前总统纳丹于2011年卸下总统职务时,通过社区基金会,以他的名义设立“纳丹教育提升基金”。

属于捐赠基金的纳丹教育提升基金,两年多前累积逾1000万元资金。

纳丹生前委任一个拨款咨询委员会,负责就基金可支持的项目提供建议,通过助学金、奖学金,以及各项经济援助计划,支持工艺教育局以下工艺教育学院和高等教育学府的贫困学生顺利升学。纳丹2016年逝世,享年92岁。

 

信用:联合早报©新报业媒体有限公司。复制需要许可

This article was originally published in Zaobao here. Source: Zaobao © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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News

Lianhe Zaobao: Nathan Social Work Award open for applications from Nanyang Polytechnic students

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纳丹教育提升基金”惠及人数及拨出金额多年来稳定增长,今年还为南洋理工学院社工系的学生增设助学金。

该基金是已故前总统纳丹在2011年9月19日推出回忆录《万想不到的征程——当上总统之路》时设立的,目的是帮助家庭经济有困难的学生获得良好教育。

截至今年7月7日,该基金已拨出270万元,比去年同期的260万元多出了10万元。

自基金成立以来,共有1129名学生从中受惠,这与去年同期的近1000名相比,增加了15%。受惠者包括工艺教育学院、理工学院及大学学生,其中还有一些经济条件较差的前罪犯。

该基金通过教育和技能培训为他们提供支援。

另外,该基金今年增设“纳丹社工助学金”(S R Nathan Social Work Award),以纪念纳丹为社工领域留下的精神遗产。

纳丹毕业于设在新加坡的马来亚大学,以特优成绩考获社会学文凭,并在上世纪50年代担任医疗社工和海员福利官。他也在晚年时设立新加坡福利理事会,这个组织是国家福利理事会的前身,目前旗下有超过400个志愿福利团体。

“纳丹社工助学金”包含三个价值1500元的助学金,每年颁发给就读于南洋理工学院社会科学(社工)专业文凭课程、经济上有需要的学生。

助学金旨在帮助减轻这些学生的经济负担,让他们能专心完成学业。首批三名助学金得主将在今年12月公布。Read more.

Translation:
Nathan Social Work Award open for applications from Nanyang Polytechnic students

The S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund was launched on 19 September 2011 in conjunction with the publication of the late Mr Nathan’s memoirs, “An Unexpected Journey”.

Total amount disbursed since inception: S$2.7m compared to S$2.6m from the same period last year.
Total number of students the fund has supported since inception: 1,129. About 15% increase from the same period last year, where almost 1,000 students were beneficiaries.

The S R Nathan Social Work Award set up to honour Mr. Nathan and his legacy in the social work sector.
He graduated with a Diploma in Social Work from the University of Malaya and was a medical social worker and seaman’s welfare officer in the 1950s. In his later years, he also helped to set up the Singapore Council of Social Service, the predecessor of the National Council of Social Service which now oversees over 400 voluntary welfare organisations in Singapore.

The award comprises three bursary awards worth S$1,500 each, which will be presented annually to financially needy students in NYP’s Sciences (Social Work) course. First recipients of the award will be announced in December 2017.

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Opinion

How to tackle homelessness in Singapore? Try some empathy for a start

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A man sleeping on a bench in a subway station.

By Joyce Teo

Early last year, when a call for volunteers came for the first nationwide street count of the homeless in Singapore, I was probably one of the fastest to sign up.

As a grant-maker at the Community Foundation of Singapore, I often receive requests to fund research on social issues leading to the presentation of academic papers or journals. I find it hard to translate these into practical application towards solving critical social problems.

So I became a volunteer, partly to find out more on the state of homelessness in Singapore and partly, to figure out if philanthropy can play a role in making sense of research that enables us to do good in practice.

The study opened my eyes to a different side of Singapore. It drove home the point that the facts and statistics we read about the homeless from time to time are not mere digits but fellow persons in our shared space and humanity.

For the study, I had to cover downtown Singapore, thinking it would be an easy job as it did not seem that there would be many sleeping around buildings and shopping malls with security cameras.

But what was supposed to be a two-hour walk one night turned to five, due to the sheer number of people sleeping on the streets.

I could not keep up with having to type the individual description as required in the study and had to resort to grouping them in order to complete the area in time.

As indicated in the study, downtown Singapore is a hot zone with over 100 people found sleeping there.

Many were in work uniforms. In fact, they slept within close proximity to each other as if there’s safety in numbers.

These were the ones with the least comfort, usually with just a cap or towel covering their eyes.

Some, who are cleaners, even slept with their cleaning carts right in front of them as a guard for privacy.

The sheer number of people I found and the fact that most of them looked to be Singaporeans were a huge shock to me.

I wondered what led so many of them to sleep in the open instead of going home after work.

What is the impact of this on their health and mental well-being? Do they get to see their families and loved ones?

The results of the survey provide a clearer and better understanding of the definition of being homeless. It is more than home ownership, as some of the interviewees do own residential properties.

The results also provide some insights into the causes of homelessness here – unemployment, irregular work, low income and family relationship problems.

This is a good start. But more needs to be done.

The fact that half of those surveyed have been on the street for about five years shows that homelessness is a chronic and systemic issue that affect not only the 1,050 homeless people the study found, but also their families.

Homelessness today is no longer about begging or being a public nuisance. Many homeless people do have means of subsistence, however fragile.

Taking an enforcement approach towards homelessness will not address the deeper issues related to employment, income levels or family ties.

The homeless have a very real fear of the Destitute Persons Act and how it has been enforced.

They sleep in fear of losing their freedom. Under the Act, homeless people may be admitted into welfare homes as a last resort.

The Act defines a destitute person as one who is creating a nuisance due to begging, or who is found in a public place without means of subsistence or place of residence.

In practice, homeless people are usually persuaded to admit themselves voluntarily into the homes. But once admitted, they may not legally leave without permission.

This palpable fear can be clearly seen in one of the interviews I conducted with a homeless man.

Throughout the interview, he kept glancing around warily, as if someone would come and take him away despite my repeated assurance that I was a volunteer doing some research.

Once the interview ended, he immediately left and I felt quite regretful having robbed his sleeping place although I managed to score a data point for the research.

As part of the study questionnaire, we offered the homeless an opportunity for social workers to contact them for assistance if they are open to it. Perhaps not surprisingly, hardly anyone agreed, as they thought they would risk losing their ‘’freedom’’ if they did so.

Instead, the question most often asked when I approached them for requests to interview was – ‘Are you hock-lee-por eh lang?’ (Hokkien for social welfare department) and they would try to move away while asking.

How philanthropy can help

I hope that philanthropists can fund initiatives that help to change public perception of homelessness as well as more in-depth research that enables deeper understanding of the homeless issue.

The research could take an ethnographic approach similar to that taken by sociologist Teo You Yenn in her book “This is what inequality looks like’’.

In the book, she gave numerous case studies that demonstrated the different facets of inequality and poverty in a way that we can relate to. She also suggested that readers ask questions about poverty and how to overcome it in different ways, and to see themselves as part of the problems and potential solutions.

We need to better understand the different profiles of the homeless people, so as to appreciate their problems better and find different solutions for the different groups – those with employment, those without a home, those with broken family ties, and those who are senior and frail. We need to hear the voice of the rough sleepers themselves and co-create solutions with them. Not for them.

The homelessness issue in Singapore is complex and requires each of us to play our part if we want to resolve it.

For example, if you are a resident of a neighbourhood with a rough sleeper who is not a nuisance, you may want to think twice about calling the police. Instead, you could consider making an effort to speak to the person.

Empathy, rather than mere enforcement, is a good start to help identify root causes and solutions to the issue.

About the author

Joyce Teo is the Deputy CEO and Head of Philanthropy and Grants at the Community Foundation of Singapore, a non-profit organisation founded in 2008 to encourage and enable philanthropy in Singapore.

Source: TODAY

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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.

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