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TODAY – Successful philanthropy: Doing good takes more than just giving
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TODAY – Successful philanthropy: Doing good takes more than just giving

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By Richard Hartung

Beyond just managing your money to meet your needs, donating to support good causes can benefit you and the broader community. The key to successful giving, though, is choosing the right causes and giving the right amounts. Increasingly, there are a host of tools and resources to help you decide.

IDENTIFY THE CAUSE
A good place to start is to figure out why you’re giving and what you want to support. And there are a variety of reasons people donate.

Some people are passionate about a particular cause, such as educating children, empowering women, saving animals and the environment, improving healthcare, or assisting the elderly. Others may want to support friends who are involved with a particular organisation, donate so they can become more engaged with people with similar interests, or gain public recognition for their generosity.

Whether you’re giving for one of these reasons or something else, taking the time to figure out your goal can lead to a more meaningful experience. As Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) CEO Catherine Loh told TODAY, “It is important to find the right fit, taking into consideration your values, charitable goals and impact you want to make. Ask yourself, why do you want to give back? What causes do you care about most? What kind of difference do you want to make?”
Read more.

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CFS wins two awards at the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards 2019

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CFS posing with their awards at the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards 2019

CFS wins two awards at the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards 2019: The Charity Governance Award – Special Commendation for Governance and Management – and the Charity Transparency Award

CFS is honoured to have won the Charity Governance Award – Special Commendation for Governance and Management – as well as the Charity Transparency Award. Conferred by the Charity Council, we were privileged to be amongst a select line-up of outstanding charities that were recognised for exemplary disclosure and transparency practices at the Charity Governance Awards dinner on 3 December 2019.

About the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards 2019

 A total of 67 charities, including CFS, were conferred the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards for their overall excellent transparency and governance practices.

In addition, CFS was among the seven charities that won the Charity Governance Award

The Charity Transparency Award was first launched in 2016, to recognise charities with good disclosure practices that the Charity Transparency Framework recommends.

Inaugurated in 2012, the Charity Governance Award recognises charities  that have adopted the highest standards of governance, in line with the Code of Governance for Charities and IPCs. 

Exemplary governance and management practices

CFS is governed by a board of eminent professionals, selected via a rigorous process, who serve pro bono. They work closely with CFS’s management to steer the organisation in realising our strategic vision.  Our Board has set up several committees, with recognised experts as members, to ensure the organisation is run optimally with transparency, aligned with our mission and purpose. Since our inception, CFS has continuously invested significant resources to exceed expectations in governance, compliance and management. Part of the training process for board and staff is to highlight the importance of acting according to the highest standards. 

Sharing our lessons

Over the past years, our Board and staff have worked hard to ensure that we maintain these high standards across the organisation and in daily work. CFS’s steady growth in the last decade is testament to the trust donors and partners have placed on us, as well as the dedication of our staff.

CFS is honoured to attain this accolade and will be happy to share our experience other charities going forward. We found it especially useful to work closely with our auditors, who have provided valuable guidance and support. Charities can also draw on the helpful resources provided by the Commissioner of Charities and the Charity Council in Singapore, which we highly recommend. 

Looking ahead 

We are thankful to our partners and donors who trust our professional expertise to meet their giving goals. We are so grateful to our Board of Directors and committee members for their dedicated oversight and support.

“Ours is a business built on trust.  Good governance is integral to our success and that of our stakeholders. We will not rest on our laurels but continue to improve and innovate to ensure continued confidence in CFS,” said Catherine Loh, CEO, 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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Tertiary-educated adults with autism receive training for jobs in engineering sector

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A woman diligently operating a computer amidst the bustling environment of a factory, focused on her tasks.

Tertiary-educated adults with autism are being trained and placed in jobs in the engineering sector under a new programme by research and technology non-profit organisation Trampolene.

The Gates (Growing Autistic Talent for Engineering Sector) programme was started in May 2022, after research showed that people with autism have one of the lowest employment rates among people with disabilities.

Those with tertiary qualifications also face underemployment owing to a high entry barrier for higher-skilled jobs, said Trampolene chief operating officer Cheok Xue Ting.

Ms You Kai Xuan is among 42 graduates of institutes of higher learning enrolled in the programme. She was unable to secure internships as part of her studies at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) as companies told the school she was unsuitable.

The 22-year-old, who has a Nitec in infocomm technology, is working full-time as an assembly technician at precision manufacturing company Grand Venture Technology (GVT).

Young adults with autism lack executive function skills, such as planning and time estimation.

Ms Hillary Lim, who works for Trampolene as a senior job coach, helped create a timetable for Ms You. It details specific duties she must undertake. For example, it says Ms You has to test iron bars for 90 minutes from 8.30am, and “pack silver things in plastic bags and paste stickers on the bags” between 10.15am and 11.40am.

Ms Lim also held Ms You’s hand during the coaching to show her how much strength was needed when using a torque screwdriver.

Ms You needs the timetable to pace herself and manage her time. When she started working in 2022, she tired herself out before lunch as she exerted too much strength on simple tasks.

“At first, I was nervous as I was new to the environment. But I am comfortable with the supervisor and colleagues now. They guided me patiently on the tasks, and were caring and willing to help.”

The Gates programme is the first to be supported by Temasek Foundation under a pay-for-success model.

The $340,000 committed by upfront funders will be repaid if trainees stay in a job for nine months and other outcomes of job training and placement are achieved.

In this funding model, foundations, financial institutions and corporations provide upfront capital to organisations like Trampolene to serve their beneficiaries.

Outcome funders such as the Government repay upfront funders only if the project achieves outcome targets.

Ms Cheok said the pay-for-success model focuses on retention rate, an issue among young adults with autism, who tend to leave their jobs after six months.

Before the job placement, Trampolene assessed Ms You and found her suitable for hands-on work.

Ms Lim also briefed Ms You’s colleagues on how she communicates, telling them that they need to repeat or simplify instructions.

She told them they can also break down the work into small steps and share her responsibilities.

GVT chief executive Julian Ng said one of the main challenges the company encountered was communication. Some staff with autism take what others say literally and have trouble understanding abstract concepts.

For example, Ms You’s colleagues will say “I’ll get back to you by a specific time” rather than “I’ll get back to you later”.

“This improves communication for everyone in the workplace,” said Mr Ng. The company has about 150 employees at its Singapore headquarters, including three with special needs.

Trampolene also works with organisations to redesign the recruitment process and job role. With GVT, it advised the company to use work assessment instead of conventional interviews.

To match trainees with employers, Trampolene conducts tests for specific skills employers are looking for, from motor skills to data entry and quality control.

It then selects trainees able to perform the tasks, said Ms Cheok.

She said Trampolene also considers work planning, hygiene and safety awareness, and sensory challenges.

If a trainee is affected by high-frequency noises even with earplugs on, for example, he might be more suited to an office job than engineering.

Trampolene is aiming to train 70 young adults over 30 months from May 2022.

To date, it has trained 42 graduates with autism and placed 18 of them in jobs, with 13 having stayed with their employers for three months or more.

Aside from Temasek Foundation, some of the other upfront funders are Ishk Tolaram Foundation, Quantedge Foundation and Asia Philanthropic Ventures.

Outcome funders include ECCA Family Foundation and the Diana Koh Foundation through the Community Foundation of Singapore.

Mr Nicholas Tay, who has autism and holds a diploma in pharmaceutical science from Temasek Polytechnic, was hired under the programme as a production worker in ice-cream manufacturing company The Ice Cream & Cookie Co.

He sets up workstations for production, prepares packaging and places products on a conveyor system for printing or metal detection testing.Mr Damian Yip, head of production at the company, said he considered Mr Tay’s basic communication skills, education level and challenges faced at previous workplaces to decide if he was suitable for the role.

Ms Lim said Mr Tay’s main issues are perspective-taking and negative thinking. For example, when the 26-year-old began doing this job, he often felt lousy about himself when he saw others working faster than him.

“A regular person would think, ‘Oh, the person is faster than me because he has been here for a longer time than me, so he is more experienced,’” said Ms Lim.

“However, Nicholas’ thinking was: ‘Oh, that person is faster than me. I have to be as fast, if not I am not good enough to work here.’”

She said Mr Tay’s co-workers often look out for him when he shows signs that he is tired or when work is too difficult for him. They then get him to switch duties, to take the load off him.

But Mr Tay initially thought they moved him because he was not doing a good job.

Ms Lim mapped out Mr Tay’s thoughts and shared with him other possibilities – for instance, that co-workers may move him to other duties because they care about him.

“It helps to widen Nicholas’ perspectives and also lets him try to think in different ways,” she said.

To learn more about the causes CFS supports, please click here.

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

I have always been interested in supporting elder care. But there are many charities doing such work that I do not know of. Through CFS, I learnt about Yong-en Care Centre and having seen first-hand what they are doing, I feel that my money is being well-utilised.

For Yong-en Care Centre, meeting donors face-to-face was a valuable opportunity to deepen their understanding of its unique care model and to engage with them on any questions they may have, says Griselda. In addition, it is also an opportunity to thank CFS donors who have been supporting the charity and build a lasting relationship with them.

CFS assists charities and their underprivileged communities by connecting them with donors who are seeking to support causes and crucial needs that resonate with them deeply.


To find out more about the causes we support, please visit 
www.cf.org.sg/what-we-support/.

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Stories Of Impact

UBS Diversity in Abilities Concert – Celebrating the talents of children with special needs

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Children dressed in bright costumes holding props while performing on stage

A joint initiative by UBS AG and the Community Foundation of Singapore, Diversity in Abilities is a stage production and art exhibition showcase to bring performing and visual arts lessons to special education schools in Singapore.

The aim was to motivate and inspire children with special needs to learn new skills and inculcate new hobbies through the arts. With the help of trained artists, students took a 16-week journey of learning and discovery of talents and achievements in film, music, dance, drama and visual arts.

These kids were then invited to showcase their talents at an exhibition and concert, performing together with children of UBS employees. At the event, UBS employees also got involved as make-up artists, receptionists, ushers and auctioneers.

“UBS has been in Singapore for nearly 40 years and our community investments focus on education and entrepreneurship. The Diversity in Abilities arts programme is one such initiative. We hope that through our investment in these various initiatives, we can make a contribution to the success of Singapore as a community.” said Edmund Koh, Singapore Country Head and Asia Pacific Head of Wealth Management, UBS.

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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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Start a donor-advised fund: plan your giving flexibly and sustainably

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The breakfast huddle with Catherine Loh: A group of individuals gathered around a table, engaged in a morning discussion.

CEO Catherine Loh goes on Money FM 89.3 to speak about the donor-advised funds.

Elliott Danker: Funds such as DAFs are especially needed during the current COVID-19 pandemic because that’s where you have more people in need. Many charities have shared that donations have been falling.

Manisha Tank: A DAF allows donors to give in a more informed, structured and sustained manner over time. As of March 2020, there are 143 DAFs set up with CFS, which is double the number in March 2015. How does a DAF actually work and why has there been an increase in the number of DAFs over the years?

Elliott: With us is Catherine Loh, CEO of the Community Foundation of Singapore. We’ve been trying to describe and nail down the meaning of donor-advised funds or DAFs. It’s like a personal charitable savings account; is there anything more you could tell us about DAFs?

Catherine Loh: It’s easier to give you a concrete example. One such DAF is the SR Nathan Education Upliftment Fund, which was set up by our late president when he retired in 2011. As he had received help himself back when he was young, Mr Nathan wanted to set up a fund to help students at risk of dropping out of school due to financial difficulties.

So through this one endowment fund established with us, he was able to reach out to many educational institutions like ITE (Institute of Technical Education), various polytechnics and universities to support students in need. Some special schools like the Mountbatten vocational school and even the four self-help groups have benefitted.

Even though he is no longer with us, we work with a committee comprising a family member, close friends and those who have a deep interest in the community to guide the fund. Over the years, thousands of students have obtained their diplomas and degrees with the support from the Fund. Hopefully from the example you can see that for a donor-advised fund, donors get to name their fund, to choose the causes that they are interested in supporting, and they can use the fund to support more than one charity. There’s a lot of flexibility here.

Manisha: Is a DAF only for the wealthy?

Catherine: There is a minimum amount to set up a donor-advised fund. The minimum amount is $200,000 but a donor can start off with $50,000 and fulfil the pledge over a period of time.

Elliott: How big is the concept of a DAF in Singapore when compared to the rest of the region or the world?

Catherine: This concept is pretty new. In Southeast Asia, we are one of the few established community foundations. However, in the US community foundations are very well established and donations into donor-advised funds are large.

Manisha: If you’re someone who’s decided on having a DAF to take care of your charitable causes and your contributions, is the due diligence all done for you?

Catherine: Before we talk about a charity or their programmes to a donor, we would have done the basic due diligence; checking up on their finances, making sure it is a charity that is doing good work. When we recommend, we try to match the donor’s interest with what the charities can offer and really helping the donors achieve their objectives.

Manisha: Do the donors come to you for different reasons, or some have just come into money and have decided to do something useful with it?

Catherine: People come with their personal reasons, but most do want to do good and they do want to give. The whole purpose is to ensure that their money is put to good use. They want to have the peace of mind that the charities are doing the work that they are supposed to do. This is where we can help to provide the professional advice and to give them the peace of mind.

Elliott: You talked about the minimum amount to start a DAF. How do you start one, and if I’m opening one with CFS, do I have to pay a fee?

Catherine: It is signing a deed and that’s it. It takes about two to four weeks depending on the complexity of the donor’s unique circumstances and what their requirements are. But it is definitely easier than setting up your own family foundation or a corporate foundation.

Manisha: Why has there been an increase in the number of DAFs?

Catherine: We have seen an increase in awareness as we have also been more active in explaining this concept to the public. Over the years, we’ve had happy donors referring their friends and colleagues to us and we’re glad that we’ve gained the trust of our donors and charity partners alike

We’ve also seen an increase in demand because this structure meets the needs of many donors. We’ve established funds for both individuals and businesses; individuals set up memorial funds to remember a loved one or to celebrate significant events like retirements, birthdays and wedding anniversaries. DAFs are useful for financial and legacy planning as well, because donations into a fund can be eligible for two and a half times deduction off taxable income. It can be used as an instrument for tax planning. It can also be named as a beneficiary in a will or a trust. Increasingly, we work with lawyers and executors of wills to administer money left behind for charity.

Very often executors are left vague instructions to just gift the money to charity, and by working with us they have the peace of mind that there are professionals working to identify the right charities and programmes for them.

Manisha: What are the differences between giving to charity and setting up a DAF?

Catherine: If the donor is interested in accountability and transparency and they want to keep track of the donations for regular, long term and more strategic giving, then a DAF is very useful. What we want is for the donor to understand the cause or causes that they are interested in, to get to know the charities and the types of programmes that are out there. Once the donor gets involved, they are more likely to support their causes for a long period of time.

Manisha: One of the best things to donate is time; does that happen and do the donors get involved with these causes and turn up in person to see what’s on the ground?

Catherine: We do have donors who do that whenever they have the time. They are busy professionals who may not have a lot of time and they just give with money first. But we do encourage them to get involved and not just themselves but with their families. Very often we want to not only engage the donors but their family members as well, to get them to understand what they are really helping. In so doing, they would be the ones coming up with new ideas and working directly with the charities to create positive social change. This is a culture that we want to build in Singapore.

Elliott: Some charities are suffering during this COVID-19 pandemic, unable to have fundraising dinners; what has the impact of the pandemic been on DAFs? Should people consider going into a DAF during this pandemic because it’s more focused and safer with due diligence all done?

Catherine: We have seen activity throughout this whole year, so activity hasn’t slowed down for us at all. In fact, donors are talking to use because they want to know how they can help over the longer term; they want to know what are the underfunded sectors and the pressing issues that need
support going forward.

What this pandemic has taught is that it is good to be prepared. As the pandemic continues, we have rising unemployment, health risks and donations from the general public that have decreased. For the donors who have planned their giving and established their donor-advised funds in the past with us, this is an opportunity where they have stepped up. Over the past few months, we have seen a very significant amount being given out from our existing donor-advised funds to COVID-19 related causes.

Manisha: What about businesses?

Catherine: We have quite a few businesses who have established donor-advised funds with us as well. There are many reasons for doing so. There is more marketing mileage with a named fund; this can be a starting point to learn about philanthropy before setting up their own corporate foundation. They use it for planning and tracking their charitable budget, and also to give more strategically by tapping on our knowledge, experience and network in the sector.

Elliott: Is it more high network individuals that are taking part in donor-advised funds?

Catherine: For the Community Foundation of Singapore, a donor-advised fund is just one product which we offer; these are targeted at those who have more to give and they want to give in a longer term manner, so their own named fund is suitable. However, we established our own Community Impact Funds (CIF) in response to social issues that we want to address; you may have heard of the Sayang Sayang Fund which was set up in February as an emergency response fund in the wake of COVID-19.

These kinds of Community Impact Funds receive thousands of donations with thousands of donors donating to these funds. These people could be anywhere from students to retirees, anybody who is linked or feels close to the cause.

Listen to the full interview here:
https://omny.fm/shows/money-fm-893/the-rise-of-donor-advised-funds-in-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”。

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.

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