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Pragmatic reasons to engage In philanthropy
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Opinion

Pragmatic reasons to engage In philanthropy

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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”。

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Events

Recipients of S R Nathan Education Award meet former president over tea

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Picture of the recipients of the S R Nathan Education Award had tea with the former president at the Eurasian Community House

The recipients of the S R Nathan Education Award had tea with the former president at the Eurasian Community House on Saturday. The award is given to outstanding students who have been accepted into the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) or any of the five polytechnics. Read more.

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”。

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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.

News

Company of Good

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John Doe
A snapshot of 'company of good partner 2016', showcasing a reliable and trustworthy business alliance.

Company of Good (COG) is a programme that empowers businesses to give better and more holistically. Companies can gain access to a self-assessment tool, a wide range of resources and an exclusive networking circle. The Community Foundation of Singapore is proud to be a partner of Company of Good to help equip companies with the knowledge and tools to do good together. Read more.

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”。

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.

News

Make Your Donations More Impactful

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John Doe
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Donating to a worthy cause seems easy. Many people simply give to a charity that asks, give where they gave before or talk with friends. By being more strategic with your money, though, you can make sure your donation has more impact, regardless of whether it is small or large.

Strategic Giving

It is indeed easy to give to charities that you know or that friends recommend. Ad hoc donations without doing a bit of research and deciding on your strategic purpose may, though, have less impact or not fully align with your values.

Starting with a clear giving strategy can enhance the impact of your giving, the Singapore EDB observes. It is better to clarify your goals before considering any donation by considering what you want to change, how much effort you want to put in, the amount you wish to give and the means you have to achieve them. “While data, best practices and tools are available, philanthropy is inherently personal and driven by passions and interests.

Along with giving to causes you support, it is important to ensure that the organization you donate to is reputable. “Better Ask, Better Check, Give Better,” the Charity Portal suggests. You can ask for details such as how your donation will be used, who the beneficiaries are and how much of your donation goes to the beneficiary. Not being able to get this basic information may be a red flag. You can also verify that the beneficiary is a registered charity or provides information to the Commissioner of Charities.

If you need advice, a variety of organizations can assist. Asia Community Foundation, for instance, says it provides donors with support and expertise to make confident and purposeful giving decisions.

Finding the Right Organization for your Philanthropy

One easy way to find reputable organizations to donate to is to use giving.sg, part of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), lists more than 500 non-profits and categorizes them into “causes”. You can select the type of organization, look for ones in that category, click on ones of interest to “learn more,” and donate directly once you have found an impactful organization that aligns with your goals. You can usually also receive a tax benefit.

An alternative for people who want to make a larger donation is to set up a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). You can establish a fund with a donation and use the money to make future gifts to charities. Along with the administrative services that the manager provides, you can get a tax donation for your donation even though you’ll actually give funds to charities later.

The first DAF manager in Singapore and perhaps the most easily accessible one is the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), established in 2008. At CFS, said CEO Catherine Loh, “we aim to inspire and enable strategic philanthropy.” Donors can enjoy an upfront tax deduction when they make their contribution and disburse grants over time. CFS takes care of the administrative work, and it provides advisory and grant-making services. “We work with the donors to understand their philanthropic goals,” Loh said “and help them achieve their objectives. As needs become more complex, we aspire to help our donors to make the leap from ad hoc reactive charitable giving to strategic philanthropy which has clear goals and evidence-informed plans and attempts to tackle the roots of complex problems.” CFS scans Singapore’s charity sector to find worthy programs to fund, conducts due diligence and helps donors disburse grants to charities, social enterprises or ground-up groups.

Measure the Impact 

To ensure your donation has the intended impact, it is important to assess the results of what the charity actually does. You can do it yourself, or a DAF such as CFS can help with impact measurement.

The Tan Chin Tuan Foundation, one of the early movers in impact measurement, provides insights on what to measure. It explains that a donation is a social investment, and each donation should generate a social return in order to be effective. “The outcome would answer questions such as “How far has this donation gone to help, change or improve society?” and “Can the social investment be given differently to achieve a better outcome?”

Rather than just looking at how many people show up for events, for instance, you can look at how the organization changes lives, how it is a catalyst for change in a particular sector, whether it has long-term impact or just organizes events with limited impact, and other outcomes. If they don’t provide information, it may be preferable to look for other beneficiaries.

There is plenty of need in Singapore. By determining your strategy, finding the right beneficiary and measuring what you achieve, you can ensure you have the intended impact.

This article is written by Richard Hartung and is originally published in the November/December 2023 issue of Living In Singapore, a magazine by the American Association of Singapore.

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Stories Of Impact

Care Corner Educational Therapy Service – Tackling gaps for children with special learning needs

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A child creatively arranges red and white paper to form letters, showcasing their artistic skills and imagination.

Singapore can take pride in being billed the best country for children to grow up in, based on a 2018 report by the non-governmental organisation, Save The Children. Yet, for children with special learning needs within mainstream schools, there remains room for timelier intervention and more holistic support.

Supported by multiple donors from the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), Care Corner’s Educational Therapy Service (ETS) has been serving children with special learning needs in mainstream schools from Kindergarten 1 to Primary 6. More than half of its students are from lower-income families, where lack of financial resources often means delayed diagnosis or access to specialised learning support services. Children struggle to keep up with their educational milestones and peers, hurting their self-esteem and motivation.

Care Corner’s ETS well-received Specialist Tuition (English) and Specialist Tuition (Math) programmes have helped these children overcome their challenges and progress in their academic journey. Over 70% of its students showed improvement in their literacy and numeracy skills in 2017, based on assessment scores.

Many of its students spend on average of at least two years with ETS, benefiting from small class sizes where teachers adapt learning methods to the needs of each child. “Current mainstream resources do offer short-term support, but in reality, such children require continuous, targeted help for longer duration to allow the child to pick up the needed skills,” says Isaac Tan, Clinical Director.

More notably, its Specialist Tuition programmes are designed to not just improve key skills, but actually meet the academic demands of mainstream curriculum. “Improving reading skills does not mean the child can address academic demands, and tuition classes without these specialised methods might not cater to these children’s weaknesses,” adds Isaac.

Care Corner’s dedication to its mission can be witnessed in its innovative KidsBright Programme, which it developed by exploring research into brain development and contemporary movement therapy. KidsBright takes a three-pronged approach, through brain-stimulating movement exercises, diet, and mental training to help stimulate a child’s brain.

Care Corner believes tackling underlying causes in cognitive difficulty can have far-reaching effects in boosting learning. Impressively, more than 90% of children in its 2017 programme saw improvements in their learning abilities based on parental feedback.

“By addressing the underlying causes, these children may reach a level of improvement that they no longer require specialist tuition,” expresses Isaac. KidsBright’s approach is now being compiled into a research study, which Isaac hopes will catalyse and influence local approaches towards children with special learning needs.

Moving forward, Care Corner ETS is piloting a new Psychological Assessment Service in the second half of 2018. Tan believes such services are much-needed, especially for lower-income families, as early diagnosis allows children to receive interventions at an earlier stage and improves their chances of catching up with their peers.

Increased demand for its services has also seen Care Corner ETS open a new centre in Woodlands. Joanne Sim, Programme Head and Senior Educational Therapist, expresses, “With our expansion into Woodlands and launch of psychological services, we aim to offer a more comprehensive range of services, whilst reaching out to more children with special learning needs to support them in achieving their potential.”

Photo: Care Corner Educational Therapy Service

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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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