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How Family Offices Could Shape Philanthropy
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Opinion

How Family Offices Could Shape Philanthropy

John Doe
John Doe
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Singapore has a long history of family philanthropy. The first family foundations were established after World War II and they donated generously to alleviate poverty, care for the vulnerable and build schools and hospitals. Today, there are over 400 foundations and trusts registered with the Commissioner of Charities but families that institutionalized big-ticket giving early on – such as the Lee Foundation and the Lien Foundation – continue to dominate philanthropic giving in Singapore.

Family offices are entities which typically manage assets for or on behalf of a family. And Singapore – well-regulated, transparent and politically stable – is rapidly becoming the region’s preferred choice for family offices. In 2020 alone, approximately 200 single family offices were set up here, doubling the total count. As wealth grows, charitable giving is likely to keep climbing.

These high-net-worth families have the potential to shake up philanthropy in Singapore. Traditionally, the Asian family office was an extension of the family business, with a laser-sharp focus on the bottomline. “However, as founders age and younger successors take over, we expect to see greater value placed on sustainable and responsible investing as well as on strategic philanthropy,” says our CEO Catherine Loh.

Research firm Wealth-X estimates that $1.9 trillion worth of wealth in Asia will be passed on to the next generation in the coming decade. For many heirs, giving back is emerging as an integral part of doing business. For them, philanthropic activities are an optimal way to build and sustain a family’s legacy, strengthen family cohesion and better engage family members. 

But here’s where it gets interesting. “Family offices have the power to shake up traditional philanthropy as they tend to be more agile and responsive compared to large foundations or corporate foundations, which are answerable to multiple stakeholders and layers of decision makers. Secondly, family businesses tend to be built by entrepreneurs and disruptors, making them more open to new ways of doing things,” says Catherine. 

What this means is that the new wave of family-driven philanthropy could fund untested, possibly radical new approaches to problems. It could find innovative ways of harnessing capital for social impact. It could move away from cheque book charity to a more engaged approach which could lean towards social enterprises or private-public initiatives. 

However, while most family offices across the globe are engaged in some form of giving back, only 41% of them have a philanthropic strategy in place, notes the Milken Institute. Few family offices have the in-house expertise to evaluate nonprofits, deploy philanthropic dollars optimally, or monitor and measure impact. 

“At CFS, we believe giving should be thoughtfully planned and driven by evidence-based insights,” says Catherine. As a cause-neutral philanthropy advisor, CFS offers unparalleled access to over 400 charities in Singapore, across a diverse range of sectors. We conduct due diligence to ensure the giving is accountable and creating a social impact.  

For family offices, a cost-effective and flexible way to embark on philanthropy is to set up a donor-advised fund (DAF). Since 2008, CFS has set up close to 200 DAFs: of these, almost half have been for families. We pool donor funds for investment management and with over $90 million in assets at any one time, smaller individual funds can reap the economies of scale that large foundations enjoy. Beyond this, as the country’s largest convener of philanthropic activities, we mobilise donor capital through collaborations and collective models to scale up impact and generate more empowering solutions. 

If you would like to find out more about how CFS can help you achieve your giving goals, please click here.

 

References:

  1. June Lee (January 2019) Exploring Family Philanthropy in Singapore – Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy, National University of Singapore https://wings.issuelab.org/resources/34346/34346.pdf 
  2. EDB Singapore (February 2022) How Singapore is Becoming Asia’s Family Office Hub https://www.edb.gov.sg/en/business-insights/insights/how-singapore-is-becoming-asia-s-family-office-hub.html 
  3. Richard Newell (March 2022) New study sees Singapore as top family office hub – Asian Investor https://www.asianinvestor.net/article/new-study-sees-singapore-as-top-family-office-hub/476226 
  4. Milken Institute (June 2021) Philanthropy in a Family Office https://milkeninstitute.org/article/philanthropy-family-office
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News

National Legacy Giving initiative to inspire philanthropic culture in Singapore

John Doe
John Doe
The three-year national Legacy Giving Initiative aims to make planned gifts more common and frequent as another avenue for Singaporeans to make their giving meaningful.

Private philanthropy has an important role to play in providing much needed support for the community. The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) kicks off this initiative today with “A Greater Gift” campaign, to boost awareness and drive conversations for legacy giving and its value to the community.

According to a Social Pulse Survey 1, there is a disconnect between awareness and action when it comes to legacy giving. While the majority of respondents (83%) flagged awareness on what legacy giving is, only 33 per cent is considering legacy as a means of giving, but only 3 per cent would take action.

CFS’ “A Greater Gift’’ campaign, which is digitally-led, will run over the next three months, inviting individuals, professional advisors, and charities to consider ways a legacy gift can provide meaningful support and leave a lasting impact. As part of the campaign, CFS has partnered with ambassadors to highlight the causes they support, capturing what inspired their interests in a particular cause and the legacy they wish to leave.

Going forward, CFS will work with professional advisors by providing them with resources to help them ignite conversations with clients. We will support charities, especially the smaller ones, which may not be equipped to engage legacy donors.

Legacy gifts can be broadly defined as planned, future donations to charities. While up to the individual, the gift can be cash, marketable securities, insurance payouts, CPF monies and marketable assets. Individuals looking to support a cause over a period of years can establish a donor-advised fund (DAF) with CFS, to manage grant distributions

CFS was selected to lead the Legacy Giving Initiative with its strong track record and deep experience in advisory and grant making. As a neutral entity not attached to a specific cause, CFS complements the philanthropy landscape by bridging donor intentions to causes and charities.

Mr. Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law said, “Legacy giving enables Singaporeans to leave a lasting and meaningful gift to society. We hope that more Singaporeans will consider planning their donations for the future, as it can help support our charities, and spread the spirit of SG Cares across generations. Thank you to the Community Foundation of Singapore for leading the Legacy Giving Initiative, and encouraging Singaporeans to contribute to a more caring and inclusive society.”

CFS Brand Ambassadors

  • Dr. Audrey Looi and Dr. Ang Beng Ti – An eye specialist and neurosurgeon respectively, this husband and wife duo have made it their mission to equip children with low-vision with skills and resources. After personally experiencing a gap in supporting their son who has a degenerative eye disorder, they committed to supporting the visually impaired via iC2 PrepHouse.
  • Nadia Ahmad Samdin – A lawyer whose own personal journey of receiving financial assistance in school has led her to championing support for at-risk youth and their families, who will particularly benefit from having steady care.
  • Dipa Swaminathan – A lawyer and TEDx speaker, her passion to improve the welfare of migrant workers here has led her to set up social initiative ItsRainingRaincoats in 2015, which has especially increased society’s kindness and compassion for this community at the height of the pandemic.
  • Hian Goh – An entrepreneur and venture capitalist who wants to contribute to the future of society by identifying the next big game-changers and creating opportunities for innovators to reach their full potential.
  • Kris Tan – A philanthropist dedicated to empowering the arts in Singapore. She set up a charitable fund with CFS, Kris Foundation, in 2009 to support young classical musicians in Singapore and will expand it to the wider arts community.

About Legacy Giving

The legacy giving campaign is part of a three-year Legacy Giving Initiative (LGI). This campaign will highlight that everyone can contribute to the community through a legacy gift, either through CFS or directly to a charity. The LGI will build awareness by helping individuals understand the ways to give and the value of planned gifts to charity. It will also support professional advisors working with clients and charities engaging their donors in philanthropy conversations. CFS is well placed to drive this initiative.

As Singapore’s only community foundation, it is a neutral philanthropy resource with experience in grantmaking advisory. Visit legacygiving.sg

1The Social Pulse Survey was started in 2016 as an on-going survey carried out by The Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) to gather Singaporeans’ opinions and involvement with regard to matters such as sports, arts, culture and community living. Each month, about 500 interviews are conducted face-to-face with randomly selected households, and residents aged 15 and over across Singapore. The survey sample is representative of Singapore’s resident population.

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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

How Collaborative Philanthropy is Powering Support for Mental Health

John Doe
John Doe
a group of people posing for a photo

No friends, no job, and no confidence. That’s what one person grappled with when he first attended a Growth Circle run by Growth Collective SG. By the end of the year, he had built some friendships and was weighing new career opportunities. His self-worth soared. 

Growth Circles are a powerful means to open up mental wellness support to anyone in need. With the backing of philanthropic dollars and like-minded partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Growth Collective SG is sparking a movement for accessible well-being that is gaining momentum.

Growth Collective SG grew out of the Community Mental Health Champions initiative. A collaborative project by CFS and Empact that was generously funded by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, it began in 2021 with the aim of building a pool of people equipped to help others access mental health support. Mental wellbeing is one of five focal areas that CFS has identified as a priority for grant making in the coming years.

Growth Collective SG is made up of the following organisations:

  • Growthbeans, a social enterprise that provides coaching-infused programs, products and services to equip individuals and leaders with self-awareness, compassion andkey people skills to grow resiliently, connect authentically, and give meaningfully for their well-being.
  • SG Assist , which supports caregivers and their loved ones through an app and volunteers;
  • Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), whose mission is to transform society through applied social science and to inspire lifelong education;
  • Psychosocial Initiative, a social enterprise that promotes psychological first aid skills and emotional/mental health literacy awareness;
  • Empatho, a consultancy that provides social, emotional and mental wellness training to organisations and schools and wants to shift the mental health paradigm from a remedial model to a preventive one;
  • Singapore Anglican Community Services, the community service arm of the Diocese of Singapore;
  • Community of Peer Support Specialists, (CPSS) is a ground-up collective made up of professionally trained and certified Peer support specialists interested in growing Singapore’s mental health peer support movement. They leverage on their lived experiences to provide support to persons with mental health challenges while engaging them in clinical, community and workplace settings.

The idea of Growth Circles for mental health came from Growthbeans, which has been running sharing circles and coaching circles since 2015. These are psychological safe spaces for sharing, reflecting and building meaningful relationships. Each Growth Circle is led by a trained facilitator, who empower individuals through active listening and asking effective questions. “Mental health is a state of wellbeing. To empower individuals to better support their personal wellbeing, we want to provide them with more than a safe space to belong. We want to provide a platform for people to gain self-awareness and perspectives, and have a guided way to practise and grow their person-centric skills with the support of others. And, we have seen the impact that Growth Circles have made,” says Shane Yan, a co-founder of Growthbeans and an ICF certified coach. Shane is the Chair of the steering committee of Growth Collective SG and sits on the steering committee of the SG Mental Well-Being Network.

Drawing upon the varied resources, experiences and competencies of its members who cover the spectrum of the mental health continuum, Growth Collective SG came up with a framework to support four aspects of personal growth – social, psychological, emotional, and spiritual growth. It then set about training Growth Facilitators to lead the Growth Circles. They set boundaries, offer psychological first aid and help participants develop soft skills such as questioning skills, empathy, compassion and emotional intelligence.

Growth Circles typically comprise four to five individuals and take place in person or online. The very first one, held at SUSS, garnered a good response from curious students. “Many people feel burnt out or overwhelmed. They appreciate the friendships made, opportunity to share and process their emotions, the new perspectives gained to lift their emotional and mental burden, and the awareness that they are not alone” says Shane. There is now a waitlist for many of these sessions. And, it is attracting a growing diversity of people of different ages, walks of life, and life experiences.

Even more encouragingly, the practice of and learnings from these Growth Circles are being incorporated into the curriculum at SUSS, for undergraduates studying psychology while postgraduate students will undergo the Growth Facilitators training. Longer-term, Shane says the goal is to build a sustainable, scalable offering that bolsters not just mental wellbeing, but employability, as well as community resilience.

“We are grateful to Johnson & Johnson Foundation. Without their funding, the dream would have taken much longer to materialise,” says Shane. And ultimately, its success has hinged on different stakeholders across the charitable, government and private philanthropic sectors working together to engender change.

“A collective allows a diverse group of stakeholders to work together to reinforce each other’s efforts and achieve more impact. Through Johnson & Johnson Foundation’s funding, CFS took on a backbone role in the collective to align activities, establish shared measurement practices, while mobilising and managing resources,” says CFS.

Growth Collective SG has a promising pipeline of projects. This includes running Growth Circles for residents of Nee Soon South Community Centre and Yuhua Community Club, a partnership with the National Gallery to combine Growth Circles with their How to Art with Friends program for its upcoming Wellness Festival, and an MOU with the Institute for Human Resource Professionals to hone skills for workplace wellbeing.

Enabling community well-being takes an entire ecosystem working together in partnership. Growth Collective SG has officially launched its Together, We Grow movement on 1 April 2023. Join the movement, collaborate with us, and bring Growth Circles to every part of Singapore. Find out more here.

To find out more about how CFS empowers collaborative philanthropy, click here .

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Events

Beyond One-Time Giving: Creating Lasting Impact

John Doe
John Doe
A poster for the Giving Week event, showcasing the spirit of generosity and community involvement.

SG Cares Giving Week (1-7 December) celebrates the spirit of giving. This is the time to share your time, talent, treasure and voice to support causes that you are passionate about, in all ways, big and small.

If you are considering making more lasting contributions that go beyond a single donation, CFS can help you transform your giving. Here are some ways in which you can make giving a sustained way of life:

  1. Get involved in philanthropy by setting up a donor-advised fund
    The philanthropic ecosystem can be a complex terrain to navigate. If you’re considering embarking on a philanthropy journey, setting up a donor-advised fund (DAF) with CFS is an excellent starting point. You could also invite several friends or family members to start a DAF together!Our philanthropy advisors will help you understand the needs of vulnerable groups and how you can make an impact in Singapore. You decide which causes to support and how much funding to provide. We handle the administrative details of grant-making, allowing you to concentrate on making the difference that truly matters to you.

    To learn more about setting up a DAF, visit How to Get Started

  2. Use your time and talent to make a difference
    If you are looking to make an impact with your skills and spare time, volunteering with a non-profit organisation is a great way to do this. At CFS, we are passionate about raising awareness about various causes through a variety of channels. Whether you’re a proficient writer, skilled photographer, or possess other creative abilities, your involvement can help us craft compelling content and engaging multimedia that drives our mission forward.

    You can find out more details here:   Content Writer , Photographer/Videographer

  3. Leave a legacy for future generationsEach of us holds the power to create a lasting legacy by designating a portion of our financial assets in our will or trust. By choosing to leave a legacy gift with CFS, you pave the way for future generations to carry forward your values and aspirations for the community beyond your lifetime. It is a way to ensure that your impact on causes you care about resonates long into the future.

    You can also establish a donor-advised fund in the name of a loved one. A memorial fund is a wonderful way to honour their legacy and continue their work.

    It is never too early to plan your legacy gift. To learn more about legacy giving, visit https://www.legacygiving.sg/

    SG Cares Giving Week is a key initiative of the national SG Cares movement held annually from 1 to 7 December, that celebrates the spirit of giving and seeks to make giving part of our way of life. It is organised by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) in collaboration with SG Cares Office and National Council of Social Service (NCSS). Support the movement at givingweek.sg.
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Opinion

Pragmatic reasons to engage In philanthropy

John Doe
John Doe
Elderly man lying on grass with sign.

Educator George Jacobs became involved in philanthropy because he wanted to put his money where his mouth is. As someone who feels strongly about contributing to greater food security in Singapore, the passionate advocate for a vegan lifestyle established the Relaxed Fund to promote horticulture in the little red dot.

“My wife and I wanted to encourage people to eat more plant-based foods, as these foods boost human health and address global warming issues. One way to convince people to change their diets is to immerse them in growing greens themselves, so they feel a sense of ownership. Thus, they want the greens to find a good home — in their stomachs,” he says.

In partnership with the Community Foundation of Singapore, which enables philanthropy by matching donors’ interests with causes, the Relaxed Fund has thus far spearheaded the launch of three edible community gardens. Jacobs regards these gardens as a tangible step towards increasing the country’s self-reliance on food, saying, “The government has a 30 by 30 goal, for Singapore to produce 30 per cent of our food needs by 2030. Everyone needs to help if we are to reach this goal and home and community gardening is one method of achieving the target.”

Practically speaking, there is a need for the wealthy, particularly in Asia, to step forward the way Jacobs has. “Asia has amassed one-third of the world’s wealth, but still has two-thirds of the world’s poor,” says Dr Ruth Shapiro, chief executive officer of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS).

Practically speaking, there is a need for the wealthy, particularly in Asia, to step forward the way Jacobs has. “Asia has amassed one-third of the world’s wealth, but still has two-thirds of the world’s poor,” says Dr Ruth Shapiro, chief executive officer of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS).

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, international support is on a gradual decline, which means an “Asia for Asia” centric philanthropy has to fill the gap, the Doing Good Index, the latest study by CAPS indicates. “There is now a unique opportunity to use this newly created wealth to alleviate poverty, protect the environment and promote societal resilience,” Dr Shapiro adds.

The advantage of philanthropy in its various forms is that it enables donors to steer the impact they hope to achieve in their field of interest. “Many donors who come to us already have a passion for a particular cause,” explains Catherine Loh, chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS). To date, its donors have given about $70 million to over 400 non-profit organisations in the areas of education, health, social and welfare, arts, culture, environment and more. “While charity is a natural, emotional impulse to an immediate situation and giving usually occurs in the short-term, philanthropy addresses the root cause of social issues and requires a more strategic, long-term approach.”

She cites former president SR Nathan, who established an education endowment fund with CFS after he stepped down as president, spurred by his personal experiences of overcoming hardships. The endowment fund has since helped many beneficiaries graduate with diplomas and degrees, hence securing a better future for these individuals and their families, an outcome that was close to his heart.

There are also business imperatives that spur some to engage in philanthropy. For starters, Singapore has the highest tax subsidy for charitable giving in the world at a rate of 250 percent for individuals and companies, which offers a strong incentive to give.

It also bodes well that many companies do care about the communities in which they operate, observes Dr Ruth Shapiro of CAPS — and philanthropy gives them an avenue to engage with these local communities in various ways. Funding social delivery organisations is one straightforward way of doing so. According to the Doing Good Index, the average social organisation in Singapore only receives 16 percent of their budget from companies, indicating there is potential for further monetary contributions.

“Businesses can encourage their employees to volunteer and sit on boards of non-profit organisations and social enterprises,” Dr Shapiro adds. She notes that in Singapore, only 55 percent of non-profit board members have corporate experience, hence encouraging volunteering in this form would allow important skills and business rigor to transfer to the social sector. Taking on such roles may also provide individuals with an additional opportunity to develop leadership skills that can benefit the business in turn.

Philanthropy via the establishment of a foundation dedicated to a specific cause can also be instrumental in uniting successors of a business or a family with shared purposes. “This is one way to pass on one’s interests and values and an opportunity to make an impact now in their lifetime and beyond,” says Loh.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, the oft uttered trope that by doing good, one feels good too might be the most powerful motivating factor. This concept, which is advocated by French neuroscientist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, has been proven in many studies that show people who give are significantly happier than those who spend only on themselves.

Jacobs of the Relaxed Fund could not agree more. He says, “My wife and I have already lived for over sixty comfortable years. Taking a little time from our schedules instead of watching Netflix and spending a little of the funds we have accumulated, instead of using them for some products we do not need, is a sweet feeling.”

Source: a.com

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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”。

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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