Issuu on Google+

No. 5 Sep-Oct 2004

For Volunteers, Donors and Nonprofits

Be a

Sport! Sports Volunteers Score

No Money, Just Plenty The Bunker Roy Story

Cause Celeb Elim Chew “Yes, It’s Real Work” Usha Menon Talking Trash ExxonMobil

The

Good Ask

Ups and Downs in Fundraising


contents

SALT No. 5 Sep-Oct 2004

DEPARTMENTS

THE ON THE COVER “Runspirators” inspire athletes at marathons in a show of volunteer muscle.

19

BE A SPORT! No volunteers, no sports. MICHELLE BONG tallies the score on sports volunteers here.

GD

ASK

CONFERENCE CALL

He spat out his silver spoon and tossed his tuxedos decades ago. Guest writer LEE POH WAH, retraces activist and social entrepreneur Bunker Roy’s bare footsteps.

MAILBAG

6

NEWS BRIEFS A wrap-up of events, programmes and activities in the People Sector. PEOPLE MOVEMENTS Appointments and new postings in the People Sector.

13 PEOPLE SECTOR PEOPLE

22

De-Bunker of Wealth and Privilege

4

Street-wear mogul Elim Chew, turns a wild past into an inspiring present.

Are nonprofit fundraisers as accomplished in practice as they think they are in the theory? BRENDA YEO gets the giver’s take.

SALT SHAKERS AND MOVERS

LETTER FROM SALT

11 VOLUNTEER PROFILE

14

28

2

Seen and heard at the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre National Conference 2004.

Building bridges: Usha Menon totes the torch for good causes.

25 WALK THE TALK ExxonMobil talks value-add trash.

30 SALT AND PEPPER Should national sports associations be considered charities? Alex Chan, Chairman, Singapore Sports Council argues the case.

33 SALT TALKS Kevin Lee knocks the notion that volunteers in the public sector should be paid.

35 NEW SALT It only takes a SPARK. Parents of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder reach out.

36 SCENE AND SEEN 38 CALENDAR 40 A DASH OF SALT

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

1


L E T T E R

F R O M

S A L T

SALT is a nonprofit magazine with a managed circulation for members of nonprofit organisations, grant-makers and companies in Singapore. Those interested in receiving a copy, please email salt@nvpc.org.sg. We regret that the print run prevents fulfilling all requests. International readers please email subscriber requests and mailing details. There will be an annual postage and handling charge for all international subscribers.

MANAGING EDITOR Monica Gwee

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Brenda Yeo Daven Wu

EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Winnie Koh

PUBLISHING CONSULTANT AND MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE Epigram SALT is published bi-monthly by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre 7 Maxwell Road #05-01 Annex B, MND Complex Singapore 069111 Tel: 6550 9595 Fax: 6221 0625 Website: www.nvpc.org.sg Email: salt@nvpc.org.sg Copyright is held by the publisher. All rights reserved. Production in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. The views and opinions expressed or implied in SALT are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. Printed by Fabulous Printers MITA (P) 197/11/2003 To advertise, please call Cynthia Tay at tel: 6292 4456 Email: cynthia@epigram.com.sg

ith the high from the Olympic Games in Athens still buzzing, SALT casts an encouraging eye on sports volunteers in Singapore. This year’s Greek Olympics Organising Committee paid vocal and heartfelt tribute to the thousands of volunteers at the spectacular Opening Ceremony, beamed to billions of viewers around the world. No mega sports event takes off without the indispensable muscle and logistical support rendered by volunteers. It’s an area growing rapidly in favour in Singapore as international sports events make their mark here. Still on sports, Alex Chan, Chairman of the Singapore Sports Council, throws a curved ball in Salt & Pepper on how national sports associations may be positioned. Catch it if you can. This issue’s lead story centres on the ins and outs of fundraising in Singapore. Following robust debate during the NVPC National Conference in July, professionalism and related issues in fundraising remain a passionate topic for the nonprofit sector. What is clear is the status quo is set for change, perhaps even uncomfortable change. It need not be so, we may be on the crest of timely new beginnings which benefit a wide range of practitioners and practices. We welcome varied feedback on this issue from readers as fundraising events reach a pitch towards the end of the year. Street smart, rebel entrepreneur Elim Chew continues on her personal quest to make her wild past experiences count. This street-wear mogul weaves business, volunteer vision and philanthropy into a sturdy and provocative life pattern. It’s a very special energy directed at remarkable results. We also introduce a new department this issue – A Measure of Salt (pg 21). We hope to provide comparative information on key players in specific nonprofit sectors and clusters. Good decisions and analysis are based on timely and relevant data. So, we begin as we intend to continue – to fill in information gaps with co-operation from stakeholders. There’s something for every opinion in the rest of the issue. And we’re not just talking value-add garbage from ExxonMobil. Your opinions count too. Air them. A little salt, as experience shows, can go a long way. This is your community, time to play ball.

W

Monica Gwee Director, Marketing & Community Partnerships National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre

2

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004


DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SHARE? We welcome your letters, news of upcoming events and pictures. Please send them to SALT, 7 Maxwell Road, #05-01 Annex B, MND Complex, Singapore 069111; or email salt@nvpc.org.sg. Please include your name, address and daytime phone number. Letters and articles may be edited for space and clarity.

MAILBAG

We received many encouraging letters from SALT readers and delegates at NVPC’s recent annual conference on 27 and 28 July at the Meritus Mandarin. We regret we are unable to publish all mail received. This year’s theme was “Profitable Giving: the Way Forward”. We hope to present another conference next year that may make a relevant impact to the work done in this sector. Thank you for your kind encouragement. ★ ★ ★

PLEASE SEE CONFERENCE COVERAGE ON PAGE 22

★ ★ ★

Dear SALT, would like to thank the NVPC team for yet another very useful and engaging conference this year. It is indeed refreshing that NVPC builds on your conference year on year, “leading the change” in bringing timely topics to the conference and keeping pace with the growing maturity of the volunteerism and nonprofit scene in Singapore. It shows how NVPC is not only closely in touch with the ground to serve community needs but also how in touch it is with both the Singapore philanthropic scene and the world outside to bring in really useful speakers to the conference. I found the opening panel discussion, “Towards a Giving Society”, very useful as the speakers/donors were candid and shared that they were ready and willing to give to causes that are aligned with their own giving mission. They clearly shared that organisations looking for funding have to do their homework first and do it well… there is no mystery to tapping foundations for funds. The sharing throughout on accountability was also very useful. Thank you once again for not only contributing to my learning but also for creating a great networking opportunity for those of us who are here to serve the community.”

I

Jennifer Yin, Director, Community and International Relations, National Library Board

Dear SALT, et me thank you for organising a very well-run, and tightly-coordinated conference – congratulations! Being fundamentally a communications and marketing person, the conference was especially insightful for me in the areas of understanding donor and corporate expectations. What was especially valuable too, was the generous sharing by different Nonprofit Organisations (NPOs), like the Asian Women’s Welfare Association, and the different panel discussions. Your choice of overseas speakers was excellent too, and well thought through – perspectives from both sides of the Atlantic, as well as in Asia were very useful, and without doubt, there are many “gems” to be harnessed and adapted for the local context. This idea of “excellence among NPO’s” has certainly taken on a more multi-dimensional significance for me. We are very excited about our work here at Methodist Welfare Services. We would certainly like to continuously improve, especially in the area of getting more people to give – of their time, resources and money. Thank you again for organising this conference – I look forward to next year!

L

Christina Stanley Communications Consultant, Methodist Welfare Services

4

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

Dear SALT, he NVPC Conference was a very enriching session. Many of the speakers and penallists have vast experience in their field of work and were able to give good insights and advice. Overall, it was a good conference. Well done NVPC.

T

Elaine Toh Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Ang Mo Kio Hospital

Dear SALT, hank you very much for the wonderful experience we had at the conference.

T

James Tian Toh Kian General Manager, Red Shield Industries, Singapore, The Salvation Army

A TRIBUTE TO THE LATE DR EE PENG LIANG Dear SALT, would be most grateful if you could kindly publish this small tribute to the ‘Father of Charity’ who passed away ten years ago on 24 August 1994. I met Dr Ee when I was in the Scout Movement, at the age of 16 or 17, some 40 years ago. I still remember what he said to me. “I do not want you to be a frustrated man. Do not expect gratitude. Do not expect people whom you help to be thanking you. Helping people is sufficient satisfaction. Do not look for more. The real way to get happiness is by giving our happiness to other people. Try to leave this world a little better than you found it.” Though I did not contribute much to charity, Dr Ee Peng Liang continues to inspire me to do my best for others whenever possible. I am very glad that Mr Gerard Ee has inherited his late father’s greatest asset – CHARITY. Let us make CHARITY the greatest inheritance of every family.

I

DR JOSEPH, PENG LIANG, EE, What a great man was he. He deserved the title ‘Father of Charity’, For his contributions and achievements we all can see. Always kind, generous and thoughtful of others, To him All Men are Brothers. Regardless of class or creed, To everyone, he always had time to meet. He was a great Mentor and Teacher, Whose advice I shall always treasure. Singapore had lost a great Son. ‘TO DO MY BEST’ – he had certainly done! Robert K H Ang (Editor’s note: Gerard Ee is President of the National Council of Social Service)


I AM WOMAN

N E W S B

R

I

E

F

S

ervice Above Self – He Profits Most Who Serves Best” – it’s the Rotarian ideal and SHE takes it seriously. Ms Perlita Tiro made the news as the first woman to be named ‘Rotarian of the Year’ by the Rotary Club Singapore.

“S

A WRAP-UP OF HAPPENINGS AROUND SINGAPORE

Picture by SPH – The Straits Times

Young Love Rotary femme: Ms Tiro is Rotarian of the Year.

The dynamic 60-year old hails from the Philippines but has lived here for 33 years. Lauded for her commitment to community work, Ms Tiro accepted the award from President S R Nathan at a black-tie charity dinner in June. Created in 1976, the title comes with the Ee Peng Liang trophy, so named in tribute to one of Singapore’s most endeared philanthropists. Miss’ Melody: Azrina Ahmad, Patricia Poo and Amanda Yip sing a song from outh, love and money – the magic mix was the their Youth for Causes album. Takings elixir of life for 50 projects to raise $400,000 for from CD sales benefit the Vocational School of the Handicapped. voluntary welfare organisations this year. Citibank Youth For Causes 2004 – a joint effort by Citibank and the YMCA – mobilised about 200 youths. Fifty groups, each seeded $1,600 by the Citigroup Foundation, exercised their brains and hearts to generate more cash for their causes. The money-making ventures ranged from sale of discount booklets, balloons and albums, to laundry services and carnivals. Included in the act were youths from Kaki Bukit Prison School. One team dug deep to share their clashes with peer pressure and relationship issues – all presented in a survival pocket book for teens. Another developed a CD ROM to help Alzheimer’s patients. Both the CD ROM and its sale proceeds will benefit clients of the Alzheimer’s Disease Association. Which just goes to show, no amount of number crunching will do justice. Cost of corporate involvement: $80,000. Youths giving back to community: Priceless.

Y

TAX RETURNS ome 700 volunteers from 22 e-Clubs, polytechnics, junior colleges, institutes of technical education, the Singapore Management University, voluntary organisations and private institutions, lent taxpayers a hand in e-filing their taxes this year. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) credits volunteers as a critical resource in keeping tax collection costs low. And their contribution has not gone unmarked.

S

KOALAS & CO. en youth leaders from the National Youth Achievement Award Council kept company with koalas on St Bee’s Island in Queensland, Australia during the inaugural EarthWatch Study Trip organised by the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation. The youths sharpened their teeth on conservation issues, learned about the Koala population in Australia, and the Australian rainforest ecosystem during the 10-day trip.

T

Measured response. Head and tooth measurements tell if the koalas are healthy.

6

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

Mr Koh Cher Siang, Commissioner of Inland Revenue and e-filing volunteer, Tan Lay Kuan, shake on a job well done.

IRAS extended a warm thank you to all volunteers, contributing and partner organisations such as the People’s Association, InfoCommunications Development Authority and the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) in an appreciation ceremony on 26 June.


ducation scores again. The Lee foundation donated $50 million to the Singapore Management University recently. The gift was boosted to $200 million by a 3:1 matching grant from the Government. It’s the largest Cheque presentation: (L-R) Mr Tharman contribution ever made to a Singapore tertiary institution. Shanmugaratnam, SMU will name in perpetuity, the School of Business, the Minister for Education; Dr Della Lee and Dr Lee building and the university-wide Scholars Programme after Seng Gee, Lee Foundation; President S R the first generation philanthropist Lee Kong Chian. Nathan and Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Chairman, The Lee Foundation was established in 1952 by Lee Kong Singapore ManageChian. The Foundation has since supported myriad causes, ment University. but the education sector remains a core beneficiary of its largesse. Today, the Foundation is chaired by Mr Lee’s son, Dr Lee Seng Gee. Last year, the education sector was the largest recipient of donations to Institutions of Public Character.

E

AND WE’RE IN BUSINESS

WALKING THE TALK

ocial Enterprise featured at NVPC’s conference last year. This year, the National University of Singapore’s Social Enterprise Forum & Exhibition 2004 underlined the cause. In this latest pep rally, Sanjit Bunker Roy, founder of the Barefoot College in India (see pg 28 for full story), Jim Pitofsky, Deputy Director of the National Youth Leadership Council in the US, and Pastor Don Wong of Highpoint Halfway House, shared their social enterprise experiences and expertise. The event was a joint effort by the NUS Business School Alumni, the NUS Student’s Business Club and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. And nonprofits are picking up the torch. Since its 2003 establishment, MCYS’ Social Enterprise Fund has helped startup or scale up about 22 projects by nonprofits that hope to generate income for their causes. Among the pioneers open for business – Khun Bun, a Thai-style café whose earnings will fund the Centre For Fathering and the Friends of Disabled Society; the Killiney Kopitiam at Tampines Changkat Community Centre, managed by Teen Challenge; and Sense, a social enterprise cooperative launched by the Malay/Muslim community. Sense trains and employs out-of-work, Enterprise calling. lower skilled workers to offer cleaning Ban Haw Leong (L) and other services. and Lau Tat Chuan

M

S

of Khun Bun.

ore than 243 fit folks legged it for charity in a 28-hour – yes, you read right – walkathon. Those who went the distance covered 100 kilometres, starting from Dover Park Hospice and circuiting the island to cross the finish line at Suntec City. Thirty-five people completed the full walk, the eldest aged 57 years young.

Rest for the weary.

A brainchild of the Raleigh Society, the fundraiser benefited Dover Park Hospice and the Singapore AfterCare Association (SACA). But why such a gruelling trek? Ms Lee Soak Mun, chairperson of the organising committee said,“We hope that the determination and perseverance of the walkers will inspire and encourage the discharged prisoners of SACA and the patients in Dover Park Hospice.”

Picture courtesy of Singapore Management University

Landmark Windfall

PEOPLE MOVEMENTS Leslie Teo took over the reins as the Acting Executive Director of the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA) with effect from 18 July 2004. SANA’s former Executive Director, Mr Raphael Lim, has moved on to the Ministry of Community Development,Youth and Sports, Family Education Department. Mr Teo began his career as a Programme Co-ordinator with SANA 14 years ago. His last appointment was Deputy Director overseeing the day-to-day running of the organisation. His current work includes facilitating new policies focused on SANA’s strategic fight against drug abuse. He can be contacted at: leslie@sana.org.sg Dr N Varaprasad takes over as the new CEO of the National Library Board with effect from 15 September 2004. He replaces Dr Christopher Chia who has moved to the Media Development Authority as CEO. Dr Varaprasad has an impressive resume in teaching and administration. His last appointment was Deputy President of the National University of Singapore (NUS). Prior to that, he was the Principal and CEO of Temasek Polytechnic. An active contributor to educational policydevelopment in Singapore, he co-chaired a work group on Training and Education for the Economic Review Committee (ERC) this year. Tel: 63321808 Desmond Lum joins MeesPierson as Vice President, Philanthropy Management. He will work with high net-worth Asian individuals and families who are interested in charitable giving, as well as nonprofit organisations that require asset management and other philanthropy management services. Mr Lum leaves his position as Head, Community Relations after three and a half years of service with TOUCH Community Services. This appointment marks his return to the financial industry where he spent 10 years in the investment sector. Tel: 65394764, email: desmond.lum@meespierson.com.sg Abby Lim is the new General Manager of the Home Nursing Foundation, which provides home nursing services to the elderly sick in the community. Mr Lim has more than 14 years of experience as a Senior Coordinator (Operations) and as an Assistant Director (Operations) in the re-structured healthcare institutions. His earlier career was spent in the Singapore Armed Forces Medical Services. Tel: 63568318, fax: 62555774 Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

7


BAR NONE hey hover at the fringe of society. More often than not, neighbors and would-be employers shy away. Even family members reject them. The psychological and emotional blow becomes a ‘second prison’. These are some of the reintegration issues faced by an estimated 11,000 ex-offenders each year. Enter, the Yellow Ribbon Project. It’s all about second chances. Activities within the programme aim to increase awareness, temper public attitudes, involve the community, and offer practical help to ex-offenders and their families. Project activities gather steam in October 2004. An IPC approved Yellow Ribbon Fund is up and running. Awareness raising activities such as Wear-A-Yellow-Ribbon Week and a charity concert are slated for October (See Calendar for highlights). Spearheaded by the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE), the Yellow Ribbon Project is a joint effort by seven community and government organisations, collectively known as the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-offenders (CARE) Network. Members include the Prisons Department, National Council of Social Service, Singapore After-Care Association, Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association, Industrial and Services Co-operative Society Ltd, Ministry of Home Affairs and SCORE.

T

PSA ZOOLANDERS he Singapore Zoo was the port of call for 1,200 PSA management, union, staff, their families, friends and members of the Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF) on 25 July. Participants were working their sealegs in the PSA organised Walk-a-Jog to benefit the CCF. PSA staff at all levels began seeking donations back in May. The Company matched donations dollar-fordollar. In all, the drive raised $250,000.

T

It’s a walk in the park. PSA raised $250,000 for the CCF.

8

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

Masters of the Sea A

s part of its 35th Anniversary celebrations, Neptune Orient Line (NOL) has launched the NOL Beyond Boundaries Trust together with a book titled Beyond Former Prime Boundaries, which charts its growth from humble beginnings to a Minister Goh Chok Tong US$5 billion global transportation and logistics enterprise. wishes our sailors The Trust aims to assist youth and disadvantaged groups across the well for the Paralympic globe break down barriers and cross boundaries towards their goals. Games in Athens in September. For its first project, the Trust is funding a small team of disabled Singapore sailors from the Singapore Sailability programme to compete at this year’s Paralympic Games in Athens in September. The Company and staff volunteers have supported the Sailability programme since its inception in 2001. NOL matched donations three-to-one from company staff worldwide and donations to the Trust up to August. To contribute to the Trust, contact 63715037. Donations of US$50 (S$85.50) or more will receive a copy of the Beyond Boundaries book in appreciation.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK iwanis International, a worldwide community service organisation, launched Club President, Teng Cheng Chong, receives his Presidenits second club in tial Pin from Mr Hwang Chia Sing, Vice Chairman of Singapore on 17 July Kiwanis Asia Pacific. 2004 at a gala dinner at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. Christened the Kiwanis Club of Singapore (Delta Chapter), the Chapter’s top priority is to provide opportunities and financial assistance to underprivileged children to help “level the playing field”. For a start, the Delta Chapter is working with the Children At Risk Empowerment (CARE) Association of Singapore, which offers counselling services, financial aid, training and other assistance to children-at-risk in several schools.

K BRAVO COMPANIES

Flying high: Residents of the Singapore Cheshire Home had tea and kaya toast served up by StarHub volunteers at Changi Airport.

ore than 500 hundred volunteers from 20 companies pitched in on VolunteerDay this year. The annual event is organised by the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) in partnership with the NVPC. Staff and family members of SiTF member companies gathered on 26 June, fanning out across the island with military precision. They visited 23 Volunteer Hosting Organisations (VHOs) in the social service, arts and heritage, environment, education, sports and health sectors. Some got down and dirty to help clean VHO facilities and the Kallang river. Others tended herb gardens or upgraded computers. And yet others organised fun activities for the disabled, elderly, children and youths at risk. Mr Chan Soo Sen, Minister of State, Ministry of Education, was Guest-ofHonour at an appreciation ceremony held later that day.

M

CORPORATE CORE he First Asia Pacific Corporate Social Responsibility Seminar Series and Social Venture Network Asia Conference was a call to action for corporate social responsibility. Organised by The Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), a non-profit organisation, the two-day event gathered captains of industry from across the region. Delegates took in a strong case for CSR and talked strategy and private-people-public sector partnerships.

T


V

O

L

U

N

T

E

E

R

P

O FF R O

II

L

EE

Rebel with a Cause Entrepreneur Elim Chew used to walk on the wild side. Today, she courts youths at risk around the world. DAVEN WU examines a life less ordinary.

’m a rebel by nature,” Ms Elim Chew cheerfully admits. “In my hey-day, I used to be a dropout punk!” The Managing Director of hip street-wear clothing chain 77th Street has just come from a meeting about sponsoring African children. Here in her office filled with Star Wars memorabilia (including life-sized versions of R2-D2 and C3-PO) and a wall filled with plaques honoring her charity and philanthropic work, it’s difficult to reconcile this alert, vibrant woman with the image of rebellion. Chew’s story is one about a wild child made good on courage and belief in self – a tale that begins with releasing stink bombs in classrooms, truancy, bad grades and ends with hope and an ever-ready hand, outstretched for the less fortunate in society. “I was very lucky to meet a teacher when I was in Secondary One who took an interest in me and who just wanted to talk,” Chew recalls. “She was the only one who did not judge or condemn me and allowed me to share and grow. She listened and never told me what to do. She believed in me even when I went away to London to do hairdressing and even when I said I wanted to be a millionaire!” On her return, Chew spotted a gap in Singapore’s fashion market – unlike swinging London, there was nothing hip and affordable for youngsters to wear. So, with her meagre savings, she and

‘‘I

She set up The Young Entrepreneur Mastery, a nonprofit organisation that goes into schools to run creative entrepreneur programmes, develop teamwork games, teach the basics of writing business proposals and communication skills. Recently, she published ‘My Voice’, a searing personal anthology of stories of street kids. She’s deeply involved with World Vision – 77th Street sponsors around 20 children in Asia. Given her background, it’s Elim visits Malawi, no surprise that Chew’s efforts her sister set up 77th Africa for World invariably come back to children Street in a tiny shop at Vision’s Feed the and youngsters. “I can connect Far East Plaza in 1988. Hungry Programme. with youth,” she says simply. Today, the brand has Meanwhile, her employees are grown to 11 shops in Singapore, three encouraged to participate in their own in Malaysia and a mega-mall that charitable causes. Store managers recently opened in Beijing. Last year, double as de facto counsellors for the turnover was $12 million. troubled teens who drop in, supposedly But for all her material successes to shop, but in reality, are only looking today, what drives Elim Chew remains out for a listening ear. her past. “All my staff are taught to give – She says, “The youth have so much time, effort, their best. That’s a core energy but there’s nowhere for them value of the company. I want to change to release this. So, we’re losing our the mindset from giving just enough to youth. Losing them to bad company, asking ‘How can I give more?’ ” drugs, delinquency.” Enter 77th Street. For Chew, that’s her reason behind Chew uses her company as a platform the millions, the long hours and the to reach out. Eighty per cent of her commercial drive to build a thriving day is spent outside the office working fashion retail business. on her various philanthropic and “When I make the money, I’m able volunteering projects. to provide for the less fortunate. Everybody has a time and this is my time – I want to do the best I can.” So says the rebel with a very definite and personal cause. ✩

“Everybody has a time and this is my time – I want to do the best I can.”

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

11


P

E

O

P

L

E

S

E

C

T

O

R

P

E O O PP LL EE

The Power of One

Volunteer, mother, international board member, resource mobiliser – Usha Menon is one dynamo. DAVEN WU finds out what powers her. t’s a long way from tea and scones with the tai-tais, but Usha Menon has never been one to take the easy path. With a chemistry degree from the University of Bombay, she seemed headed for the expatriate high life as she trailed her husband around Asia on assignments. But very early on, she realised that the role of the expatriate homemaker did not sit well. It was in her blood to get actively involved at the gritty end of community work. “My father was an entrepreneur and ran a philanthropic eye camp in India. When I was growing up, I followed him on his rounds,” she says. When her husband’s work brought the family to Singapore, she began some voluntary work including a few hours a week at the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped. “I knew that the bridge and coffee circuits were not me. I needed to do more.”

I

“There’s more to resource mobilisation than just organising a walkathon. Good governance, leadership and strategic visioning are key.” In 1988, she joined the then Singapore Council for Social Services as a Volunteer Executive promoting the Community Chest’s SHARE programme to management and employees of companies in Singapore. The experience was a liberating one. “It so happened that I totally loved what I did.” Over the years, she took on new roles. She helped nonprofits in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Philippines prepare business proposals and mission

“Fundraising is

statements. She began tapping never about the money.” into the regional fundraising community and volunteered with the International Fundraising Group. Today, she wears many hats, but it’s her role as Chair-elect of the International Board of the Resource Alliance – she is the first Asian to assume the position – that has been generating the most attention. A volunteer, non-profit organisation registered in Britain, Resource Alliance’s raison d’etre is to build capacity in nonprofits and to mobilise resources for their causes. The organisation is building its presence in the Asia Pacific region. “We’re trying to focus on sustainable development. Fundraising is just a segment of the work. Alliances with local agencies such as the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre are key, so we don’t need to establish a physical presence in Singapore. We can outsource. Actually, using that model, Singapore can be an important outsourcing hub for other NPOs.” Menon believes the value of international nonprofits like Resource Alliance is the external point of view that can complement and empower the local component. Part of her job is to overcome a mindset sometimes skewed against nonprofits.

“When people find out that you’re working for a nonprofit, they ask, ‘Is that a real job?’ Well, yes it is. Resource mobilisation is a new developmental discipline. It’s just that the maturity of the sector varies in different countries.” In that regard, Menon is upbeat about the next five years. “We talk about limited resources, but we do not look within the sector. We feel passionate about our work but think other people do not have that same kind of passion. It limits us. But once nonprofits realise that it’s important to collaborate, that there are others who are like-minded and just as passionate, then many of them will thrive – especially those that seize the moment.” “There’s more to resource mobilisation than just organising a walkathon,” she continues. “Good governance, leadership and strategic visioning are key. The board must clearly articulate what the organisation stands for, otherwise, there will be a disconnect between board and staff, between mission and technique,” she states. Similarly, fundraising is never about the money. “It’s about the cause. Once people buy into the cause, it’s so easy to raise the money.” It’s this last mantra that forms the core of Usha Menon’s day, her life’s touchstone: the cause. For this mother of two, this dynamo who declined to just sip tea and play bridge, the key to an enriching career is simple: “Find out what you would do for free. Then find someone who will pay you to do that and, really, you’ll never have to work a day in your life again.” ✩ For more information on Resource Alliance, visit www.resource-alliance.org.

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

13


THE

GD ASK 14

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

“Ask, and say Thank You!” chorused delegates at this year’s National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre Conference when quizzed on the basics of fundraising. BRENDA YEO queries if nonprofits are as accomplished in practice as they think they may be in the theory.


Hands up for Hearts: Tanjong Katong Primary School students fold hearts for SingTel’s Touching Lives Fund. Picture courtesy of SingTel

The basics of fundraising appear clear enough to all. Pair that with the steady growth of the charity pie – donations to Institutions of Public Character (IPCs) jumped 34% from $382 million in 2002 to $512 million in 2003 – and the giving chain seems intact. Nonprofits are asking, and donors are giving. But are fundraisers as strategic and skilled at the ‘ask’ and ‘thank you’ as they could be? As it happens, corporate and Foundation heads – some of them active fundraisers outside of their day jobs – are grousing. The ‘ask’, they say, is perhaps a little weak. And the ‘thank you’ is often all too brief, with no effort to engage donors for the long term. “You’d be surprised how many just take your cheque, then you don’t hear from them again,” said Robert Tomlin, Vice Chairman for Asia at UBS AG. He was speaking as part of a high profile corporate giving panel mapping the state of giving in Singapore at the NVPC Conference on July 27 at the Meritus Mandarin. Corporations and foundations accounted for 61% of donations to IPCs in 2003. It hammers home the reality that such feedback is not to be dismissed. As Tomlin puts it, “Corporates have a lot of money – if you know how to ask for it.”

T

PITCH RIGHT Ms Jan Masaoka, Executive Director of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, one of America’s leading management consulting firms to nonprofits and itself a nonprofit, introduced another dimension on making the right pitch. “The act of asking for money is probably the most meaningful act of nurturing support – not just in terms of money, but for the cause.” So, Non Profit Organisations (NPOs) need to make their asks count. “Very often, fundraisers go in with their hearts first and their heads a few steps behind. Knowing how to sell your cause is important in the long run. Market your programme,” Tomlin advised. Mrs Margaret Lien, Governor of the Lien Foundation, is clear on what big ticket donors expect of the ‘ask’. “[Fundraisers] must tell us about the cause, how much money is needed, how many the project or programme could benefit, how long the programme or project is going to take. And give us information on the management – how you will account for the money spent, annual reports or other forms of reporting. Keep us informed on the progress of the project,” she said. At the end of the day, donors need to be satisfied that their giving agendas are met and that their money is well spent and making an impact on the community.

‘Informed giving’ is philanthropy’s latest mantra. It advocates donors to sit up and say to charities,‘Tell me more’ before demonstrating their largesse. This means charities must be able and willing to tell all in their pitch for donor dollars. By BRENDA YEO.

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

15


Have brand will travel: “Selling” the cause is a critical element of successful fundraising. Seen here: President’s Challengebranded ‘Heartbuses’ travel island-wide to spread the word. Pictures courtesy of SBS Transit

Look through the lens of the professional and certified fundraiser, and what grantmakers want is even clearer. Paulette Maehara is President & CEO of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, USA. She oversees AFP’s work through 174 chapters and over 26,000 members worldwide. “Most grantmakers today look for organisational accountability, programmatic results and an assurance that their funds are being spent for the purposes for which they are solicited,” says Ms Maehara. “Grantmakers want to make a difference and the organisation should take steps to make sure that the grantmaker understands how their efforts are making a difference in their local communities.” The key to the right pitch then, is finding and focusing on common ground. Find or create the closest possible match and highlight the fit. “By aligning the organisation’s mission with the purpose of the benefactor, the organisation can be much more successful in securing funding support, particularly from corporates. “Most corporations today practice ‘strategic philanthropy’ focused on the corporation’s bottom line, and so increasing share holder value,” Ms Maehara noted. Strategic philanthropy seeks to align an NPO’s mission with that of a like-minded corporation. Those are the most satisfying and sustainable matches between funder and the NPO. Case in point: the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS). Its core missions are to promote understanding and acceptance, and provide

16

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

training, education, employment and welfare services for intellectually disabled persons. Not always an easy sell, but Aaron Ng, Executive Director of MINDS says it’s all about knowing how to pitch the cause so it’s relevant to the corporate prospect. “When we talked to Merrill Lynch, we realised their giving philosophy was grounded on improving quality of life and to some extent, social integration. So, our pitch was ‘what better way to satisfy that than a project to provide employment for our people?’. Teach them to fish, so to speak. We proposed that they help us set up a car wash.” It worked. This was three years ago. Merrill Lynch put up seed money for the car wash and the seed money grew into an $80,000 fund for use on other developmental projects. MINDS also managed to pull in British Petroleum on venue and utilities sponsorship, and training for the beneficiaries on operating the car wash.

IN-HOUSEKEEPING Before the pitch however, organisations may first have to step back, dig deep and take a hard look at their fundraising capabilities as they formulate strategy. The consensus appears to be that many NPO’s are short on long term plans that sustain giving. The majority raise funds on an ad hoc basis, driven by need rather than vision. And little attention is paid to building fundraising infrastructure. Some NPOs are a step or two higher on the ladder than others. But limitations, in one form or other, seem to be the norm.


“Grantmakers want to make a difference and organisations should make sure the grantmaker understands how their efforts are making a difference in their local communities.” Paulette Maehara, President & CEO, Association of Fund Raising Professionals, USA

“We work with what we have,” said Aaron Ng of MINDS. MINDS pulled in about $1.75 million in the financial year ending March 2003. But one of its limitations remains the manpower to take it to the next level. Although Ng says the staff are trained to be “ambassadors” for the organisation, the marketing of their cause, fundraising and cultivating prospects rests primarily on his shoulders. Here, Terry Farris, Head of Philanthropy Management, Asia at MeesPierson Asia, notes there is much to recommend the building of in-house fundraising teams. “A lot of people don’t see it, but Asia is a happy hunting ground for North American non-government organisations.” So, international charities compete directly or indirectly with domestic charities for the pie, and a dollar drain looms. “How can do you compete against these larger organisations who have the staff?” he argued. “Fundraising is friend raising. What has to happen is for organisations to hire people who are managers of the fundraising process, people who can write properly, who will be there to build and maintain relationships with donors.” This could well be a much more cost effective measure over the longer term compared to isolated fundraising events for instance, which are likely to cost more. But capacity building, is always going to be a challenge for small organisations. Consider The Promise Land Missions, a halfway home for ex-addicts. “I don’t know how to mess with words, I don’t have the network,” commented founder Richard Tan on fundraising limitations. His last attempt to bring in much needed funds was in 2003, when he hired canvassers who took a cut of every dollar raised. But controversy on the cost of fundraising followed. Now, despite funds running dangerously low, Tan says canvassers are no longer an option.

The “Red Cross Charity Golf – Swing with a Heart” is an annual fundraising event spearheaded by strong volunteer involvement and corporate support. A total of $356,698 was raised over three past events in aid of the Red Cross Home for the Disabled. Top: Former Minister for Environment, Lim Swee Say, flags off participants at the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) Charity Golf 2004. Above: The SRC Charity Golf 2004 raises $95,000 for the Red Cross Home for the Disabled. (L-R) Eric Low, Chairman of the Charity Golf 2004 organising committee; Lim Swee Say; Winston Choo, Chairman, Singapore Red Cross Society. Pictures courtesy of SRC

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

17


“You’d be surprised how many organisations just take your cheque, then you don’t hear from them again. “Very often, fundraisers go in with their hearts first and their heads a few steps behind.” Robert Tomlin, Vice Chairman for Asia at UBS AG

THE WRITE PITCH “I was actually willing to pay 30% commission, but now I don’t even dare consider it. I might get bombarded again.” So where does that leave an NPO like Promise Land? Are long term fundraising programmes and proper staffing even options for an organisation subsisting hand to mouth? Mr Chew Kheng Chuan, Director, Development Office, National University of Singapore and Chairman of the arts nonprofit, The Substation, summed it best, “It takes money to make money.” The building of in-house fundraising capabilities is where entities like the National Council of Social Service perhaps, can play a role in providing incentives for hiring full time personnel and training.

PLAY BALL Beyond polishing the ‘ask’ and ‘thank yous’, the ongoing fundraising debate has highlighted a dominant pattern in donor expectations. Big ticket donors want transparency, accountability, evidence of good stewardship. Finally, they want assurance that money raised equals money that benefits the needy. This suggests that fundraising capability will have to grow in tandem with other capabilities, not least excellence in management of operations and funds. The movement towards a culture of informed giving is strengthening, and the pool of discerning and more demanding donors will follow. It’s a landscape where nonprofits will most likely feel the push to play ball with not only corporate, but also individual donors. “My wife and I made the largest donation to date to a nonprofit recently, and we did it because that organisation has been cultivating us for close to eight years,” said Farris, on a more personal note. For nonprofits reluctant to be left with the crumbs of the charity pie, the pressure is on. They will have to start thinking long term, get their houses in order and set a strategic course for the future. ✩

18

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

What do grantmakers and corporate donors want to see in a funding proposal? Expectations vary based on foundation or corporate objectives. The homework counts for a great deal. Here’s a guide to what to include: • The amount requested; • Project budget and time-line; • Need or issue to be addressed by the project or programme, and the outcomes expected; • Specific targets to be achieved and how they will be achieved; • A plan to measure performance; • If a consultant or vendors are to be retained, information on the selection process and the consultant’s qualifications and credentials (include the consultant’s proposal if possible); • Information on any community partnerships formed to aid the programme; • Other sources of expected funding if any, and any plan for follow-up funding; • Qualifications and experience of key staff involved in the activity to be funded; • The use of volunteers; • Describe the organisation, the mission, the vision, activities and past achievements; • The organisation’s most recent annual report, audited financial statement, current operational budget and a list of accreditations and memberships if any; • A list of the organisation’s leadership (current trustees, key administrators and staff ) ; • Other information, including a brief executive summary, which would help the donor appreciate the merit of the request and understand why it is a good investment for society; • Name and telephone number of a contact person – someone readily available and knowledgeable about the organisation, cause and the request under review. Source: William J. & Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation’s website. www.oneillfdn.org


Race to the finish line. Photo courtesy of Triathlon Association of Singapore

Be a Sport! Is the sports volunteer the next big thing? MICHELLE BONG finds out if Singapore can breast the tape. o volunteers, no manpower, no sports. That’s the grim message from David Hoong, Deputy President of the Triathlon Association of Singapore (TAS). “Sports volunteers are vital in every sport,” says Hoong, a volunteer himself and also the man behind the New Balance Aquathlon at Sentosa. “On average, 300 volunteers are needed for every large sports event. For bigger ones like triathlons, the ratio of volunteers to athletes is 1:5.” Three hundred or even 400 volunteers are paltry figures compared to the numbers at international sporting events. The Athens 2004 Olympics gathered 45,000 volunteers, while the Sydney 2000 Games boasted a whopping 47,000. Clearly, volunteers are the lifeblood of mega sporting events. Mr Chris Chan, Secretary-General of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), bears witness to this. His most recent experience was at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002. “Ten thousand volunteers, aged between 16 and 87, raised the event to tremendous heights. The sight of so many young

N

people passionately doing their bit was really impressive,” he said. In many developed countries, volunteerism is a lifestyle. Volunteer flyers and application forms for the 2004 Olympics distributed at cafes and shops in Athens were snapped up. Seven million people across Europe volunteer for sports, and the German city of Dortmund alone has a pool of 11,000 volunteers who coach, organise and manage in the sports sector. And the success of the Sydney 2000 Olympics spawned the 1,000-member Sydney Olympic Volunteers Social Club, a volunteer organisation that promotes Olympic values such as international understanding and the pursuit of excellence. At the 2002 World Cup in Japan, Mr Abdul Aziz Bin Abu Talib attended as a sports representative. The Secretary-General of the Singapore Baseball & Softball Association was amazed at how the liaison officers delegated to him, changed every three days throughout the long competition. “I was really surprised there were so many volunteers. I was told it was compulsory for all Japanese employees to take three

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

19


days off a year to volunteer. These volunteers, some executives, had volunteered for all kinds of sports and they loved it. I think the Japanese model is one Singapore can follow,” he said. Indeed, how does Singapore fare on the sports volunteer front? “There’s a long way to go when it comes to a passion for sports volunteerism,” SNOC’s Chan concedes. “But I believe with the right approach and rallying effort, we can meet the challenge.”

Start Point

WHERE THE VOLUNTEERS ARE How many volunteers are behind key sports events? Here’s a rundown. Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon Volunteer strength: 700

OSIM Singapore Triathlon Volunteer strength: 330

International Rugby Board Standard Chartered Sevens Singapore 2004 Volunteer strength: 200

New Balance Aquathlon Volunteer strength: 100

Yonex-Sunrise Singapore Open 2003

Mass events attract entry level volunteers such as costumed “Runspirators” cheering on runners at the annual Standard Chartered Marathon.

Volunteer strength: 100

Sports volunteers here came to the fore in 2002, when the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) was restructured to meet the challenge of promoting and developing sports. While generally overseen by the SSC, these volunteers were recruited by and are affiliated to a network of organisations such as the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), schools, corporate companies and sports-related organisations. Obviously, some sports find it easier to rope in volunteers than others. Football and running events are ahead. But “niche” sports such as cricket, netball, baseball and softball, find the route one hard slog. The annual Children’s Carnival organised by the Singapore Baseball & Softball Association (SBSA) is now in its fourth year. It has no problems attracting over 600 children to its games. Not so volunteers. The event needs about 40 volunteers as coaches for its crash coaching clinics to teach 10-14 year olds pitching, base running, sliding and batting. “Schools are reluctant to send volunteers – no reason given. People we approach usually say they can’t take leave, their bosses won’t allow it,” said Mr Abdul Aziz. The SBSA is planning its Singapore Softball Open Invitation Tournament in February 2005. It’s asking for a minimum of 20 volunteers, mostly as liaison officers. Mr Abdul Aziz is keeping his fingers crossed he won’t have to rely again on the long suffering “girls who play softball in school” to volunteer. Training is manageable for sports volunteers, and typically involves a pre-event briefing the day before that lasts several hours. The entry level ease for most sports volunteers has Source: Singapore Sports Council and Triathlon Association of Singapore

20

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

created a loyal group of regulars who show up at every significant sporting event without fail, raring to go. These die-hards are an inspiration to the next generation of volunteers, who are recruited through roadshows for the public, NVPC’s Volunteer e-match system (an online service matching volunteers to causes) and networks, and talks at schools, student clubs and sports clubs.

Such efforts have eased the formation of three different sports volunteer pools. The first represents secondary and tertiary students, who are typically given road marshalling and time-keeping tasks. They commit an average of two volunteer days to the event, and go home with a certificate of appreciation and sometimes, transport allowance. The second group comprises members of some 59 national sports associations, whose members are passionate about a particular sport. They serve as volunteer coaches or officials, and are part of working committees, together with parents of athletes and former athletes who want to give back to their sport. The third group consists of individuals or organisations keen to contribute to the promotion of sports. They range from volunteer qigong instructors to photographers who may even pay their own expenses when accompanying Singapore athletes for events abroad. Through these poster boys and girls, the culture of sports volunteerism in Singapore is growing actively and steadily. Alex Chan of the SSC and the Triathlon Association’s David Hoong note that the number of young working professionals and adults volunteering at sports events is increasing. One of them is Peter Chua, 30, who has so far volunteered at two events. A football-related injury on his right knee has hampered his participation in sports activities, so he’s channelled that passion into volunteering. “It keeps me in touch with what’s going on in the sports scene,” he explains. His wife has also signed up with the triathletes and he’s trying to rope in more friends.

Going the Extra Mile The flag for sports volunteerism may be gently flapping, but more can be done to whip up the action. For a start, the SSC is considering developing a shared database of sports volunteers that can be accessed by the various national sports associations and sports bodies. This will effectively link up the various volunteer networks already in place. Clearly, one way to fan the flames for sports volunteerism is to generate a buzz about sports. The new Sports Hub at Kallang is a first step, providing quality facilities that can play host to large scale sporting events here. The SSC’s Chan predicts


that the $650 million project, announced last year, “will be to sports what the Esplanade is to the arts”. Construction begins in 2006 and is expected to be completed by 2010. The hardware is no small matter in sports development. Proper facilities and solid infrastucture engage and encourage sports volunteers. It all adds up to fun for individuals, groups and families to jump in and appreciate the personal benefits of such involvement. And never underestimate the Singapore attraction towards free, stylish sports gear. Sponsored sports apparel and accessories are a popular form of recognition and incentive for volunteers! Judging by the high profile involvement in mega national sports events from large corporates, the buy-in is gelling. International athletes, administrators and sponsors are now game participants.

A

M

E

JOIN IN! Want to be a sports volunteer? You can be a Sports for Life volunteer, just email SSC_Volunteers@ssc.gov.sg or visit www.ssc.gov.sg. Or sign on at www.teamsingapore.com.sg to volunteer for Team Singapore initiatives and activities. To volunteer at the Singapore Baseball & Softball Association, email: abdulazi@starhub.net.sg.

More significantly, volunteers here are coming forward, forming the essential nuts and bolts behind such national sports events. The highly popular Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon and the Osim Singapore Triathlon prove how large numbers of volunteers voting resounding approval with their dedicated presence, can make or break sports events. ✩

A SS UU RR EE A

O

F

S

A

L

T

“A Measure of Salt” is a new column that will feature comparative information of key players in specific nonprofit clusters and sectors. We hope it provides readers with a better understanding of nonprofit segments. We kick off with an overview of eight core national sports associations (NSAs).

Singapore Core Sports All information provided by NSAs

General Name

Date of registration Constitution Finances (S$’000) Income – Donations – Grants/Sponsorships – Membership fees – Other incomei Expenditure – Programme expenses ii – Operating expenses – Other expenses iii Surplus/Deficit

ATHLETICS

BADMINTON

BOWLING

Singapore Amateur Athletic Association 1948 Society

Singapore Badminton Association 1961 Society

Singapore Tenpin Bowling Congress 1975 Society

(2003)

(2003)

(2003)

862 – 824 2 36 744 423 295 26 118

1,397 – 1,330 2 65 1,335 – 1,334 1 62

2,070 – 1,649 33 388 1,721 1,436 285 – 349

No. of sportsmen/women – National – All others

25 240

18 52

38 –

No. of affiliate institutions

20

42

No. of employees

10

No. of volunteers International medals won in 2003 i. Includes investment income

SILAT

SWIMMING

TABLE TENNIS

FOOTBALL

SAILING

Football Association of Singapore

Singapore Sailing Federation

Singapore Silat Federation

Singapore Swimming Association

Singapore Table Tennis Association

1975 Society

1982 Society

1976 Society

1961 Society

1965 Society

(2003) 16,073 10,195 5,273 18 587 16,243 – 2,725 13,518 (170)

(2003)

(2002)

(2003)

(2003)

3,490 – 2,667 6 817 3,159 1,821 1,298 40 331

478 1 458 – 19 471 – 163 308 7

1,752 90 1,515 – 147 1,414 1,002 402 10 338

2,371 10 1,985 1 375 2,315 – 2,092 223 56

275 750

100 –

160 –

37 97

23 143

12

102

12

21

30

23

17

12

48

33

12

8

35

120

30

300

50

30

130

50

14

18

23

86

162

33

ii. Also known as direct charitable expenses

iii. Includes publicity, capital expenses and all other expenses

Singapore Amateur Athletic Association: www.singaporeathletics.org.sg • Singapore Badminton Association: www.singaporebadminton.org.sg Football Association of Singapore: www.fas.org.sg • Singapore Sailing Federation: www.sailing.org.sg • Singapore Silat Federation: www.persisi.org Singapore Swimming Association: www.swimming.org.sg • Singapore Table Tennis Association: www.stta.org.sg Research compiled by TAN TZE HOONG, Sector Development, NVPC

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

21


NATIONAL VOLUNTEER & PHILANTHROPY CENTRE CONFERENCE 2004 27 & 28 JULY, MERITUS MANDARIN SINGAPORE UP FOR GRABS Five scholarships to the Association of Fund Raising Professionals’ International Conference on Fundraising are up for grabs. The conference takes place 3 to 6 April 2005 in Baltimore, Maryland. One successful applicant will also receive a US$1,000 travel stipend. So if you are a professional in the NPO sector, visit http://www.afpnet.org/ to apply using the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy 2005 International Conference Scholarship Application form.

“Profitable Giving: The Way Forward” was the rally cry for this year’s conference. And over 500 delegates from the people, private and public sectors heeded the call. The two-day conference surfaced attitudes towards giving from the perspective of grantmakers, corporates, foundations and individual donors. It tackled issues as varied as informed giving, sustained giving, new trends in fundraising and corporate involvement, nonprofit governance, accountability and performance. Panel discussions led by corporate and nonprofit leaders, grantmakers and government representatives, provoked lively debate on current issues. International speakers, Paulette Maehara (President & CEO, Association of Fund Raising Professionals, USA), Jan Masaoka (Executive Director, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services) and Kirsty McHugh (Director of Community Partnership Development, Business in the Community, Britain), provided benchmarks and reality checks from America and Britain, even as the Singapore nonprofit landscape firms up its act. 22

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

HOT WHEELS outh volunteer numbers have climbed. Twenty-five percent of Singapore youths volunteer now, up from 17% in 2002. And Nurulasyiqah Mohammad Taha defies you to dismiss that as just another nameless statistic. Syiqah as she is affectionately known, was among the youth volunteers who kept the conference logistics humming. She’s not out to change the world – just perceptions. “I can contribute too!” she says. Don’t let the wheelchair fool you. The full-time accountancy undergraduate at the Singapore Management University, leads a more active volunteer life than most citizens unaffected by mobility issues. A card carrying member of the university’s Rotaract Club, Syiqah also mentors teens in the Youth Helping Youth programme, an initiative from NVPC’s Community Involvement Programme targeted at teens. The NVPC Conference 2004 was helmed by a volunteer force of 20 from all walks of life.

Y


Left: (L-R) HE Alan Collins, British High Commissioner Singapore; Mr Lim Siong Guan, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance; Mr Willie Cheng, Chairman, NVPC; Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, former Minister for Community Development and Sports; Ms Lim Soo Hoon, Permanent Secretary, MCYS and Mrs Tan Chee Koon, CEO, NVPC. Above: (L) Ms Paulette Maehara, President & CEO, Association of Fund Raising Professionals, USA and (R) Ms Jan Masaoka, Executive Director, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services.

AND THE WINNER IS…

FUN-RAISING: A LAUGHING MATTER?

ritain has its Pop Idol, the United States, American Idol and we have, not only Singapore Idol, but also the SE (Social Enterprise) Idol. Five nonprofits vied for audience votes. They sang, danced and acted to pitch their social enterprise idea to the conference audience. Arts for Us All, a youth organisation gunning to promote the arts, proposed to marry makan and the arts. Their plan – partnerships with food and beverage outlets where they can display and sell art pieces. Yong-en Care Centre, which services the Chinatown community, plans to tap into their greatest resource – the rich heritage and oral history of long-time residents in the area. Their special service? Unique guided tours for a fee. Check out the authentic Chinese opera performances! Lions Befrienders, a voluntary welfare organisation, proposed fee based befriending services for the elderly. Aunty and Aunties Unlimited, placed homemakers to work at housekeeping and child minding service near their own homes – a sort of friendly, trustworthy neighbourhood nanny and housekeeping service for women who need to go out to work.Their main target market – neighbours in need and families where both parents work. The SE Idol line-up was completed by the Micro Credit Foundation, which intends to offer micro credit facilities to ‘not-so-cash-rich’ but entrepreneurial Singaporeans. Delegates cast their votes independent of the panel of judges. As it turned out, Aunty & Aunties Unlimited took the $1,000 prize, Lions Befrienders clinched second place and the $500 prize. The other groups won $200 each.

he post-lunch slump vanished without caffeine as conference delegates shed their inhibitions in an uproarious stretch, breath and exercise session immediately after the mid-day repast on the second day of the conference. Mrs Zareena Banna and her merry gang from the nonprofit Joo ChiatEast Coast Laughter Club, effortlessly turned the ballroom of delegates into one roaring, gesticulating group of happy folk. The health benefits of laughter, infused with elements of yoga, were so convincing that members from the National Health Promotion Board cornered Mrs Banna and her laughter gurus for a consultation. Laugh, as they say, and the whole world laughs with you.

B

Aunty and Aunties Unlimited.

T

Mayor of North East CDC, Zainal Abidin and Terry Farris of MeesPierson Asia Ltd.

Jack Sim speaks.

HIGH-LIGHT ho better to inject a whiff of toilet humour than Jack Sim, President of the Restroom Association (Singapore).“I’m up here because I heard a trigger word – ‘distress’, ” Sim said as he commandeered the floor mike. Sim rallied the audience behind his cause with wit and posed the common challenge: how best to brand and pitch unique causes to donors. Effective fundraising, like clean restrooms, is “everybody’s business”.

W

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

23


W

A

L

K

T

H

E

T

A

L

K

It’s in the Bag What’s in a plastic bag? An energy giant’s latest corporate giving initiative, that’s what. BRENDA YEO talks trash with ExxonMobil.

on’t trash the humble trash bag. It could very well be the light switch to your sense of environmental ownership and involvement. ExxonMobil joined forces with the National Environment Agency (NEA) in the good fight to keep Singapore litter free in 2002. The company produces about 500,000 plastic bags carrying the clean and green message a year – yes, including the ones in your National Day Parade goodie bags. “It’s about behavioural change,” says Jonathan Law, Public Affairs Manager at ExxonMobil. Hopefully, your litter makes it into the bag rather than onto the floor. The tactic seems to have worked. “Cleaning hours at the National Stadium after 2002’s National Day Parade was reduced from eight to five hours,” Law cites with satisfaction. But why the plastic bag? Surely the energy giant has the power to create a bigger bang? “This is not about advertising, and it’s not even about giving a bunch of money,” says Law. “We don’t go about and say – today we’re going to change the world and this is the programme that’s going to do it. “Our choices stem from the belief that the community gives us the right to operate. So we support causes that are relevant to the community where we are. In Acheh for example, ExxonMobil could be involved in healthcare or education. Many of the oil company’s programmes

D

are designed to reach out to the community and hopefully, address its needs. Making a real dent in the needs of the community is serious business. And the company prefers to take the time to sift through the barrage of calls for support and assess the merits of each – diverse as they may be. “We get a lot of letters that say ‘hey can you buy a table or sponsor this walk-a-jog?’ and unfortunately, we can’t help those out,” he says. Instead, ExxonMobil supports a slew of causes that cover environment and safety needs, education, the arts, what they call civic and community needs and health related causes. Other than bagging trash, the company’s environmental endeavours include their network of service stations “adopting” their surrounding land area. Each station has the responsibility of keeping the area litter free. It’s also active in NEA organised Clean & Green Week programmes. In education, the company is a regular supporter of campus concerts

“We don’t say ‘today we’re going to change the world and this is the programme that’s going to do it’… we support causes that are relevant to the community where we operate.”

and partners the National Institute of Education to organise the biennial Caring Teacher Awards to recognise outstanding educators who nurture both heart and mind. ExxonMobil brings the arts to the community through sponsorship of Bag it. ExxonMobil outdoor concerts and is a produces 500,000 “green” plastic supporter of the Singabags a year for distribution at pore Repertory Theatre. the National Day Parade, service In the area of civic stations, outdoor and community contrievents and schools. butions, it organises an annual blood drive that sees staff working the crowds onsite; disburses meal coupons to underprivileged students in the South-west of Singapore; and supports the National Council of Social Service’s Outstanding Social Worker Award. Did we mention the Employee Volunteer Involvement Fund? It’s ExxonMobil’s nudge to employee volunteerism. “The company has funds set aside to support employees who volunteer. If the employee is active in a particular organisation outside his work capacity and he does it for interest or the skills that he can contribute – then we say ‘good for you’. A lot of staff are actually volunteering and this is our way to mark that effort,” Law explains. The funds go directly to the cause. “If an employee comes to us and says, we need chairs for the classroom for example, we could support that,” he adds. And in the pipeline – a full-scale volunteer programme to step up their connection with the community. More power to them. ✩

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

27


S A L T S H A K E R S & M O V E R S

De-Bunker of Wealth and Privilege Picture by SPH – The Business Times

He spat out his silver spoon and tossed his tuxedos decades ago. Guest writer, LEE POH WAH, retraces activist and social entrepreneur Bunker Roy’s bare footsteps.

“It’s very empowering to have no money. I don’t understand its value. I can’t be bought. Yet I have everything. It always comes.’’

have absolutely no money,’’ says Mr Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy almost proudly. And he means it. At 59, the founder of the world famous Barefoot College of India draws only 2,000 rupees (S$77) a month. Bunker was born with the proverbial silver spoon to an upper crust family in an affluent steel town near Calcutta. His late father was a mechanical engineer, his late mother was India’s Trade Commissioner to Russia, and his late grandfather was a former Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Department in the United Nations.

‘‘I

28

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

He attended the best schools – including Delhi’s St Stephens College (known as India’s Oxbridge). “The world was at my feet,’’ he relates. “But it was a cloistered, unreal existence. Sedate, secure, structured and ordained. No one rocked the boat and I could see myself retiring before I even started.’’ On a lark, at 22, the newly-minted English literature graduate decided to head out to the northern famine-stricken state of Bihar “to see how the other half dies’’. “It was the first time I had seen poverty at such close range. To see

people dying of starvation in front of your eyes and being unable to do anything about it was terrible,’’ he recalls with a shudder. So, on 1 Nov 1967, he chucked a well-heeled job with Grindlays Bank and set off to live and work in the arid, impoverished village of Tilonia. He also threw out all his three-piece suits and tuxedos. “I haven’t worn a suit and tie since,” he says. It was in the village that his “real education’’ started, sleeping under the stars, working cheek by jowl with ordinary people and listening to the


BROUGHT TO YOU BY

problems of those who subsist on less than $1 a day. Of course, they all assumed he was just there to exorcise his middle-class guilt, while it lasted. But five years later in 1972, he surprised them all with the birth of the Barefoot College – named in honour of the 70 per cent of Indians who live and work barefoot in the villages. Early on, he made up his mind it would be a “college for the poor’’ in every sense, reflecting only what the poor think is important and teaching only what matters to them – such as how to get running water, electricity, access to education and medicines. “The first thing the poor told me was to forget paper qualifications. This is one organisation where degree holders are not eligible. Reading and writing are not considered essential skills. The practical skills and traditional knowledge of the rural poor are much more important. Only cop-outs, washouts and drop-outs are allowed,’’ he says. Today, he’s the only one at the college “unfortunate enough to have a degree’’, which he disses as useless and “only good for writing vitriolic articles to the press’’. He maintains that the traditional societal register of education – literacy – is no barrier to learning the most sophisticated of technologies. “If you put someone who has not been to school or college in a situation where he has to observe the most sophisticated of technologies, within six months, you can turn him into a practical doctor, architect, engineer, IT specialist. The only barrier is in us, in our minds,’’ he says. And his Barefoot College – the only fully solar electrified college in India serving more than 125,000 people – is living proof of that conviction. Its 19-acre campus in Tilonia was designed by an illiterate villager with no formal training. It has optical fibre and

Specialists in Philanthropy Management STRUCTURING • FINANCING • TRUST AND CORPORATE SERVICES • INVESTMENTS • INSURANCE • REAL ESTATE

video conferencing facilities – all managed and maintained by people who cannot read and write. Night schools are another of Bunker’s bright ideas. “Seventy per cent of children in India don’t go to school,’’ he explains. “Not because they are lazy or uninterested but because they have to help their families. So I decided to create schools that operate at their convenience, instead of the teachers’. Now they do their chores during the day and come to school at night.’’ There are now about 150 night schools teaching more than 4,000 barefoot pupils who attend “based on trust, not obligation’’. But for all the ingenious ideas, do Bunker’s beliefs have a place in urban, well-shod Singapore? For one, they are testimony that self-help is the best help. They highlight the importance of putting skills and resources back in the hands of people so they can solve their own problems and pursue their passions.

“Barefoot College is one organisation where degree holders are not eligible. Only cop-outs, wash-outs and dropouts are allowed.’’ Bunker also believes that too much money destroys the volunteerism of the nonprofit sector. The Barefoot College gets by on US$2 million a year. About a third of that is from earned income. Government, foundation and corporate funding accounts for the rest. So, how do they do it? First, the college keeps a tight reign on the administrative budget. None of the staff take home more than US$100 a month.

Salaries are reviewed every two years. And don’t expect automatic annual increments here. Pay packets go up or down depending on the outcome of the employees’ public evaluations. And salaries are posted on the notice board for all to see. Spending on advertising, marketing, publicity or fundraising is unheard of. They believe the work they do speaks for itself and have found that the media spreads the word – especially through the internet where international funders find and willingly support Barefoot College without any prodding. Although he can easily raise 10 times as much as he presently does, he refuses to. Bunker maintains that the way to go is to “take less and show that you can spend it better’’. As a result, he doesn’t believe in accumulating big budget surpluses or reserves for Barefoot. “Where is the volunteerism in that? Volunteerism is doing your best work when you’re insecure. You’re always fighting for it. You can’t be sitting down, feeling complacent because you don’t need to work hard with so much reserves behind you. That’s completely wrong psychology.’’ Does he ever get wistful whenever he meets his prosperous St Stephen’s contemporaries who have gone on to become ambassadors, politicians and captains of industry? He shakes his head. “You know what I see in them when they see me?’’ he says, “Envy. Their body language says, ‘I wish I’d the guts to do what you’re doing.’ It’s very empowering to have no money. I don’t understand its value. I can’t be bought. Yet I have everything. It always comes.’’ ✩ Lee Poh Wah is Business Development Manager at the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS). He manages the ministry’s Social Enterprise initiatives. Bunker Roy spoke at a Social Entrepreneurship Forum organised by the National University of Singapore in partnership with MCYS.

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

29


S

A

L

T

A

N

D

P

E

P

P

E

R

Different Strokes? Both charities and sports are managed by government funds from the same ministry. Can the two be considered in the same light? ALEX CHAN, Chairman, Singapore Sports Council, tackles the parallels and contrasts. BY

ALEX CHAN CHAIRMAN S INGAPORE S PORTS C OUNCIL

peed can be measured in seconds. Strength can be measured in kilograms. Courage… you can’t measure courage.” So goes the narration accompanying the Olympic Games video, as it showed an injured runner picking himself up and limping to the finish line after snapping a thigh muscle mid-race. With the Athens 2004 Olympic Games just past, sport again takes centre stage. And this comes only shortly after the thrilling Euro 2004 football season. There, the unexpected happened, and the underdogs beat the giants. This could be a lesson for Singapore. What makes sports so uplifting to the spirits? It must be the struggle to win, the exuberance of having tried one’s best, the joy of winning and the pain of losing, the juxtaposition of friendship and respect for nobleness of effort, that continues to tug hard at the emotions of people from nations big and small. Similar emotions also hit us when it comes to causes less spectacular and less organised than sports competitions. Suffering, the under-privileged, disability, disease, destitution, hopelessness, and disaster, all similarly tug at our hearts

Salt and pepper shakers from a private collection

‘‘S

30

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

with sober but equally powerful pangs. Because as human beings, we wish for improvement in the human condition, so we refuse to accept less. In order for society to continue to move and progress, both the stronger and the weaker parts must go forward together. So, is there a link, a symbiosis, between sports and charitable organisations? What are the parallels and the contrasts? Our charity sector has become quite coordinated in Singapore. One key success factor has been how structure, organisation and proper governance have made charitable causes that much more visible, understandable, productive, and therefore, fundable. There has been an overall up-leveling of capabilities, yet there will always be

“I sense we are at the beginning of resurgence in Singapore sports. There will be plenty of opportunities created for the community to be involved and to get behind our stars.”

differences in performance and attractiveness of the different causes. This is the nature of such things. Passion comes from the heart, and not from hard-headed rationality. A question recently posed made me ponder: should national sports associations (NSAs) be considered charities too? They are registered societies. They have constitutions and some have recently made positive changes to improve governance. They serve their particular sports causes and receive their mandates from their respective sports communities. Most receive state funding through the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) in order to accomplish their mission. SSC is a statutory board under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports, the same ministry that manages the charity sector. However, while National Sports Associations, like charities, do receive funding from the state, their basic premise for existence is vastly different from charities. I would like to think that sports associations build upon activities that take sportsmen and women from raw talent to great talent, from youth to adulthood. They also create enjoyable sporting experiences for as many as possible. Sports can offer a great takeaway of life’s experiences – of trials and tribulations, of teamwork and intense competition. The power of


sports stems from the natural expression of the human spirit for self improvement, and from the shared experiences of joy and disappointment – never grief – which come from winning and losing and just trying one’s best. Each athlete’s journey is one of gain coming from sacrifice, a have, rather than a have-not. This is a transformational journey that provides a positive collective good for Singapore. This is the element of motivation and drive. Charities work from a different start point, mostly from one of disadvantage, something below the norm perhaps. This alone should encourage some resources to flow from those who have to those who have not, like water flowing from high to low. However, this is by no means automatic. It needs marketing and communication. Donations from the public can significantly augment funding from the state, and a thriving charitable sector is one where the public plays a significant role. In contrast, sports associations do not suffer this sense of disadvantage, and so, ironically, do not enjoy the compassion of the public. Water will not automatically flow from high to low in this case. However, NSAs do not want compassion. They want the collective passion. There is the very important task of marketing and communications in order to create public awareness, understanding and support, and to promote the value of sports. Whereas donation dollars can immediately be applied to feed charitable mouths, the fruits of toil in sports often happen only after many years of effort. This is the element of development and investment in sports that may not always be present with charitable causes. Without good leadership, management and governance, such long terms goals cannot be achieved. I wish to conclude by drawing upon another common area of

“Sports can offer a great takeaway of life’s experiences – of trials and tribulations, of teamwork and intense competition.”

Athletes and sports officials can do with more support and passion from volunteers.

community. Both charities and sports need broad and deep support from volunteers. The Sydney 2000 Olympics saw 60,000 volunteers at work during the main and para-Olympic games. The 2003 Special Olympics in Dublin drew upon 30,000 Irish men, women and youths from all over Ireland, a country of under four million people, like Singapore.

Our athletes and sports officials can do much more with strong support and passionate and hard-working volunteers. I sense we are at the beginning of resurgence in Singapore sports. We are not short of volunteers and there will be plenty of opportunities created for the community to be involved and to get behind our stars. Be where the action is. Just do it! ✩

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

31


S

A

L

T

T AA

LL

KK SS

Paying Up Should volunteer work carried out in the public sector be paid for? There are sound political and economic reasons why the answer should be a firm No. BY

KEVIN LEE DEPUTY DIRECTOR, SECTOR DEVELOPMENT NVPC

ach year, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) seeks the help of volunteers to help taxpayers e-file their taxes. Some hospitals recruit volunteers to assist patients. The Singapore Prison Service and Singapore Police Force also use volunteers, while volunteer lawyers give criminal legal aid. It has been argued that the government should pay for such public sector work instead of using volunteers for free. This argument is based on two reasons that are political and economic in nature.

E

The Case For The political reason is simple: the people elected the government. The government is then obliged to look after the people and provide these services instead of using volunteers. By this reasoning, government and philanthropy also do not mix. Since the government is obliged to look after people, the government should give to charity instead of encouraging others to do so. The economic reason is that unemployment will be lower if the government employed people instead of using free labour. According to a study by the National Volunteer &

Philanthropy Centre in 2003, there were 400,000 volunteers in Singapore whose total volunteer hours amounted to the equivalent of 35,000 full-time jobs. Even if the government hired a fraction of these volunteers, the economic effect, so the argument goes, will be significant. The Case Against So why promote and develop volunteerism and philanthropy in Singapore? The reasons are also political and economic in nature. The political argument has both individual and national dimensions. At the individual level, volunteers exercise their personal liberty to work for free. It is politically incorrect to say to them, “Stop volunteering until you are paid.” Besides depriving help for those who need it, such a position also deprives volunteers of the benefits of volunteering such as learning new skills, making new friends, having fun and feeling good about doing good.

“If everyone were to be paid for volunteer work, then no one helps another freely. This does not augur well for building a caring community.”

At the national level, to say that government should take over the work of volunteers is to say we should hire more civil servants so they can be everywhere to watch over the community. Taken to its extreme, if everyone were to be paid for volunteer work, then no one helps another freely. This does not augur well for building a caring community. The economic argument is that if the government pays for volunteers and donations, the money has to come from somewhere. Generally, government money comes from reserves, taxes and fees. Reserves are saved for a rainy day. Suffice to say that drawing down reserves to pay for work done for free by volunteers is not an option. Paying through the use of taxes is also difficult to support. Why should taxpayers pay for volunteer services by volunteers – which by definition are free anyway? Moreover, it is possible that tax rates will have to go up if what was previously provided through volunteers or donors have to be funded by taxes. Recovering the cost of volunteers and donations through fees is also untenable. The beneficiaries (eg the poor) cannot pay. If costs for volunteer work cannot be paid through reserves, taxes or fees, then it follows that they have to be provided for free. Which is precisely what volunteers and donors do. And some of them are civil servants. ✩

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

33


N

E

W

S

A

L

T

It Only Takes a Spark SPARK gets the flame going on understanding and coping with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. MICHELLE BONG finds out how.

hey are children who seem to have boundless energy and who simply cannot sit still. They do poorly at homework and have great difficulty completing a simple task. About three to five per cent of schoolgoing children in Singapore – that’s about two students out of a class of 40 – have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). And more boys than girls have the condition. Dennis the Menace these children are not. But they certainly seem that way to long-suffering parents and harassed teachers. What can their stressed out parents do? It was one mother’s quest for help that triggered SPARK (Society for the Promotion of ADHD Research & Knowledge). The word spread and what began as a group of 20 families banding informally together for support, soon became the registered charity, SPARK. “We knew more had to be done to help patients cope better and appeal to greater understanding from the public and educators,” said Bella Chin, the Society’s President, and herself a parent of an ADHD child. Today, SPARK helps around 100 members keep their chin up in the fight for affected children and families. AHDH is a neurobiological disorder caused by the failure of chemicals in the brain to work properly. The three main characteristics of ADHD are extreme distraction, impulsiveness and, in some cases, a hyperactivity that makes sitting still all but impossible. Without hyperactivity, the disorder is called Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD. Like many other medical conditions,

T

ADHD/ADD has both psychological and social implications. And not surprisingly, given the amount of time children spend in school, many of these problems surface and are most glaring in the classroom. Children with these conditions can be distracted by little sounds that drown out a teacher’s voice. They also tend to have low self-esteem and poor social skills, a problem exacerbated by a tendency to pick fights with their peers and a refusal to cooperate during playtime.

SPARK also publishes handbooks and newsletters for care-givers of ADHD children.

Research says some 50 per cent of children with ADHD/ADD may carry this condition for life. However, as they grow older, hyperactivity will diminish, and ADHD adults will go on to learn how to manage themselves in adult life, making suitable work and career choices that accommodate their condition. But the learning and coping in the meantime, requires constant supervision. And the drain on child, parent and often teachers, can be tremendous. So SPARK hopes to spread the word,

build greater awareness and offer practical tips to members coping with the process. SPARK runs on volunteer steam. “Programmes are run solely by parents of ADHD children who volunteer their time and dedication. The only professional in our committee is a psychiatrist in private practice,” says Chin. The group organises outreach programmes. The first Saturday of every month, for example, is reserved for families with ADHD/ADD children to come together. Chin says these sessions are a critical platform for families to raise issues or questions for discussion. “Families bring along their children, who learn that they are not alone in facing their challenges. We also invite speakers to these monthly gatherings to talk on various topics including ADHD management at home, new research areas, and alternative treatment methods.” The Society was recently offered charity organisation status, which the group says puts them in a better position to do more as SPARK. “We are deliberating on how we want to take SPARK to greater heights. A lot depends on manpower and funding. But ultimately, we want to do more and more for children and help them cope with their condition so they can better face the demands of everyday life. Giving parental support and promoting awareness are not the be all and end all.” ✩

For more information on ADHD, visit www.spark.org.sg.

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

35


SCENE&SEEN Party with Passion 26 June, Passion Ball, Shangri-La Hotel It was Food from the Heart’s first fundraising event. The debutante teased 330 guests with an Arabian theme, tickled them with saucy entertainment and persuaded them to part with their cash for the cause. President S R Nathan and Mrs Nathan attended. Food from the Heart is a volunteer network that collects and delivers unsold bread from bakeries to the underprivileged. The group has expanded its programme to include the distribution of books to children in need.

Dining with Dino

12 June, Barney’s Charity Tea Party, Downtown East

Monstrous fun. Barney entertains his guests at the Charity Tea Party. Above: Jammed with goodness. Jam jars were sold for $100 each. Left: Brush with compassion. President S R Nathan put brush to canvass for the cause.

Cause Connect 14 July, Blog-for-a-cause, Sakae Sushi @ Funan The IT Mall

Jack Neo explains what you get when you cross mobile phones with blog sites. Photo by SPH – The Straits Times

36

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

They came from everywhere to rally Singaporeans to their causes. Class95 DJ, Jean Danker, set up a blog site dedicated to responsible pet ownership. National swimmer, Leslie Kwok’s cause was underprivileged children. Showbiz’s Jack (of all trades) Neo called for creativity. Publisher, Goh Eck Kheng, supported the Make-a-Wish Foundation with his site, and volunteer nature guide, Ria Tan, called for volunteers to join her in protecting the environment. And the public let their fingers do the talking. Some sent messages of support to the blog sites via SMS. Some volunteered. Blog-for-a-cause was a joint effort by the National Day Parade Committee and Singtel.

Every child’s purple pal, Barney, flew into town with his dinosaur friends on the first leg of his Asian tour recently. It was straight from the airport to a tea party for 100 children from the Down’s Syndrome Association of Singapore, Club Rainbow and Assisi Home & Hospice. The children had a roaring good time and each took home a Polaroid with the dino. MediaCorp TV12 brought Barney to our shores and the party was sponsored by NTUC FairPrice and NTUC Club.

Beautiful on the Inside 25 June, Miss Singapore International Beauty Pageant 2004 & Singapore Women’s Association Charity Dinner, Neptune Theatre Restaurant Pretty maids all in a row. Ms Sherry Ng takes the crown.

Perhaps beauty isn’t just skin deep. Contestants in the 29th Miss Singapore International Beauty Pageant visited homes for the aged, sick and disabled during their quest for the title. Proceeds from table sales for the gala finale went to the Moral Home for the Disabled and Singapore Women’s Association (SWA) community projects to benefit the elderly and children. The pageant and gala dinner were organised by the SWA. Mrs Goh Chok Tong was the Guest-of-Honour.


Photo courtesy of Changi General Hospital

Lengthy Matters 8 June, Changi General Hospital HomeCare Assist 2004 Fundraising Drive It was a supersized snack from supersized hearts. Chefs from five chef associations, volunteers and staff of Changi General Hospital (CGH) lent many helping hands to rolling out the world’s longest popiah (206.32 metres). Setting a world record with 270 chefs is hungry business. The wrapped and tasty portions hawked for $2 a piece. Proceeds went to the hospital’s HomeCare Assist (HCA) Fund. HCA provides short-term financial aid to Changi General Hospital patients. It funds basic home modifications, medical and food supplies, transport fees and respite care.

Wet & Wild Triple Happiness 6 June, Jetty Jump, Singapore River

More than 130 swimmers took a flying leap into the Singapore River as part of the National Family Week festivities. Guest-of-Honour Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, former Minister for Community Development and Sports, cheered from the banks. The event raised $104,000 for the Student Advisory Centre, which helps teen runaways.

3 June, Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society’s Triple Celebrations Dinner, Neptune Theatre Restaurant The Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society celebrated the Holy Birthdays of its patron saints and its 26th birthday with a bash. Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, former Minister for Community Development and Sports was among the well-wishers. The Society runs over 50 facilities and womb-to-tomb charity programmes. Holy Harmony. Representatives of the Inter-Religious Organisations kick-off the birthday bash.

Reality Bites 12-13 June, Under No Roof, Victoria Junior College

Top: Jetty jumpers wait in line to take the plunge. Above: Diving right in. Below: The Jetty Jump raises $104,000 to help the Student Advisory Centre keep its head above water.

It was a long 24 hours. About 300 teens tasted poverty at Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Singapore’s annual Under No Roof camp. The teens from Victoria and St Andrew’s Junior College and Catholic High, scrounged for scraps to build shelters, cleaned toilets and collected drink cans for minimum wage. Their fragile shelters were hit by “earthquakes” and “floods” and blankets and torch lights were luxury items. HFH facilitators were on hand to supervise and lead discussions on poverty issues. HFH volunteers build homes for third world communities in need.

Top left: Necessity – the mother of invention. Teens build shelters from scrap. Top right: Don’t scrap that. Above: Home is where the heart is. This was home for 24 hours.

Sep-Oct 2004 S A LT •

37


CALENDAR D A T E S

T O

N O T E

27 August – 12 September President’s Challenge 2004 Highlights: Charity Briyani, Junglathon, NVPC Families as Volunteers Experience Camp, Hearts in Harmony: 50 Hours of Music Making. Donations still open. Log on to www.pc2004.org.sg.

September – October Sing Song – Music Theatre by The Necessary Stage (TNS) 16-18, 22-25, 29-30 September, 1-2 October: 8pm; 18-19, 25-26 September, 2-3 October: 3pm

Where words fail, music speaks. Romance, break ups, birth and death. Victory and defeat. Celebration and devastation. Sing Song is a tribute to the musical stories of people’s lives. The show is part of the The Triangle Project line-up. The Triangle Project provides opportunities for the less privileged to watch theatre. TNS matches donors and charities with donors buying tickets for beneficiaries to TNS performances. Interested donors and beneficiaries for Sing Song, contact Lai Fun at 64408115 or email laifun@necessary.org.

38

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

11-26 September The Substation Septfest 2004: Artists & Other Animals

2-9 October Yellow Ribbon Project

The Substation Septfest is an annual event, organised jointly by Substation and various artists. This year’s Septfest, Artists & Other Animals, continues the dialogue between environmentalists, conservationists and animal welfare groups, artists, writers, and the public. Volunteers are needed to help in a variety of roles. They have to be at least 15 years of age. For more information, contact Ms Malissa Gough at 63377535 or email admin@substation.org. Or visit www.substation.org.

Organised by the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network. Yellow Ribbon Project events aim to promote community acceptance of ex-offenders, and showcase their talents and contributions back to society.

25 September Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital & Nursing Home Walkathon

2-9 October Wear-a-Yellow-Ribbon Week

Venue: MacRitchie Reservoir The KWSH Walkathon is open to all. From now till 15 September, participants can raise funds using donation pledge cards. Donations can also be made direct to KWSH by cheque or at their premises at Serangoon Road. Please make cheques payable to “Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital”. Corporations are invited to sponsor gifts and refreshments for the event. For more information, contact Peak Fong at 62948265 or email fund_raising@kwsh.org.sg.

26 September Ren Ci Hospital & Medicare Centre’s 10th Anniversary Open House Venue: Ren Ci Hospital & Medicare Centre, Blk 9, 10 Buangkok View Time: 8.30am – 2pm There will be shuttle buses for participants from Sengkang MRT and Yio Chu Kang MRT to Ren Ci from 7.30-8.30am at 15-minute intervals. Return journeys are from 1-2pm every 15 minutes. For more information, call Alison Hack at 63850288 or email alison_hack@renci.org.sg.

2 October Charity Concert Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium • Time: 8-10pm The charity concert will bring local and overseas celebrities and talented ex-offenders together on the same stage. Catch Taiwanese group, Tension, local artistes like Sheikh Haikel and Azrina Ahmad, and winners of the Song Writing Competition for Ex-offenders held in July 04. Guest-ofHonour, President S R Nathan, will also be appointing ‘Rehab Ambassadors’ to help spread the message of acceptance and second chances for ex-offenders. Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the Yellow Ribbon Fund, which finances aftercare programmes and support programmes for families and children.

The CARE Network aims to rally the community behind ex-offenders and their families. Yellow ribbon packs symbolising acceptance and second chances, will be available for $1 each. Organisations and individuals can support by helping in selling and distributing the ribbons. All proceeds to the Yellow Ribbon Fund. For more information on all Yellow Ribbon Project Events, visit www.yellowribbon.org.sg or email yellow_ribbon_proj@yahoo.com.sg.

22 October The Bull Run 2004 Charity Drive Venue: Central Business District The Bull Run is a unique charity fun run organised by the Singapore Exchange (SGX). Participants charge down busy roads in CDB in office wear, as part of their fundraising effort. SGX aims to rally Singapore’s financial sector and SGX listed companies to promote corporate social responsibility. The 2.8km fun run will begin and end at the Padang and will be flagged off by Guest-of-Honour Ms Ho Ching, Executive Director and CEO, Temasek Holdings (Pte) Ltd. Proceeds will go to the Autism Association, the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and the Community Chest. For more information, contact Cheng Lee Ching at 62368135 or email leeching_cheng@sgx.com.

23 October Flag Day by Christian Outreach to the Handicapped Time: 8am – 6pm Venue: Island wide, reporting stations at various MRT stations COH’s Flag Day needs 2,000 volunteers. Funds raised will go to the operation of the day activity centre (DAC) run by COH. The DAC serves youth and adults with Down’s Syndrome, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism and multiple disabilities who are unable to find work due to age and/or disabilities. The DAC offers meaningful activities, social opportunities and training to help the handicapped lead more independent lives. To sign up, email your particulars to admin@coh.org.sg.


D D A

S

H

O

F

Picture by SPH – The Straits Times

A

The late philanthropist, Dr Lien Ying Chow and his wife, Margaret.

“Anyone who works hard like me can do the same – if he has some luck. Now I’m able to donate 48% of whatever I got from society back to the people. This philosophy I learnt from my father, who was not rich, but who did much charity work in our village.” Dr Lien Ying Chow

“He was a real icon. One of the last few who came here from China barefooted, with just a carpet on his shoulder, and he made good.” Mr Lim Kim San Special Advisor, Singapore Press Holdings

40

• S A LT Sep-Oct 2004

S

A

L

T

“There’s a great view in the nonprofit sector worldwide that nonprofits are kind of like patients and they need a doctor to help them figure out what’s wrong with them. Change that view to one where we understand nonprofits to be Olympic potential athletes, and the people around them are coaches. Rather than fixing athletes, you help them to bring out the best in themselves… and that’s the only significant way to change nonprofits.” Jan Masaoka Executive Director, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, USA

• • • • “You cannot just send a proposal, sit back and wait to be hit by a cheque.” “People don’t give to a need. They give to a vision.” Chew Kheng Chuan, Director, Development Office, National University of Singapore and Chairman, The Substation during the NVPC Conference Panel discussion on Innovation in Fundraising.

• • • • “Aunties also have pride, aunties have face and aunties also want to contribute.” Peter Khoo Vice President, Singapore Press Holdings and Chairman, ST School Pocket Money Fund Opening bids for SPH’s annual charity auction for donated hampers are exclusively for cleaning and support staff.


salt_2004_09_10