“Today’s topic is essentially a question of how to do good ‘well’ ”, says Mr Kevin Teo, Chief Operating Officer at Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) and Chairperson of the NUS Greater Good Series talk ‘Foundations and a Lasting Legacy’. “Most people agree on doing good. And for those who have been doing good for some time, they probably agree that doing good ‘well’ takes a lot of work,” Mr Teo observes. The talk aims to provide the philanthropic community with information on how to fulfil their philanthropic aspirations through foundations.
Ms Catherine Loh, Chief Executive Officer of the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), shared with the audience what a foundation is and how a foundation can be used to manage a person’s or a corporation’s philanthropic vision. “In Singapore, a foundation is a legal entity set up for charitable purposes and subject to sound governance, business practices and government regulations”, she says.
However, to set up a foundation, one has to consider many issues, including the need for a board of directors, an officer to manage the day-to-day activities of the foundation, an annual board meeting, proper bookkeeping of all the investments and disbursements, and clear guidelines on the grant evaluation and selection process. More than S$10,000 is required for setting up the infrastructure before one can start giving to charity.
During the talk, Ms Loh answered a question that most potential donors would ask with regards to the high costs and hassle of setting up a foundation. : “Why don’t I simply just donate to a charitable organisation?” To which Ms Loh replies , “Firstly, this is a cause that you care passionately about. Secondly, you may want to have a say in how the programmes are being run or you would like to work with some of the charities to create and craft programmes that are not available currently. Thirdly, a foundation is a transparent vehicle for your donors to know that the money they have donated is being properly accounted for. Lastly, you may not be happy with just writing the occasional cheque and you want to carry out philanthropy in a more meaningful and impactful way. Setting up a foundation allows you to do that and leave behind a lasting legacy.”
Ms Loh shares with the audience that a good way to avoid the high costs and hassle of leaving behind a legacy is to go through CFS. An independent and not-for-profit organisation, CFS, is able to streamline the giving process by providing strategic planning, a legal and administrative framework and strong on-the-ground knowledge, to not only help connect donors with suitable beneficiaries, but also lower the costs of setting up a foundation.
Donors who want to remain anonymous may also do so through funds such as “the Kampong Spirit Fund”, where the supported charity organisations will receive money through CFS. Ms Catherine Loh concluded her talk by highlighting the role of foundations in structuring legacy giving and hopes that it has given her audience the inspiration to “step forward to do good for the society.”
The NUS Greater Good Series features talks by leading minds on topics related to philanthropy. These include generosity, giving and service to the community, as well as leadership, personal well-being and mental resilience. The Series aims to raise awareness of philanthropy and its impact on society. The Series was made possible thanks to a generous gift from Newsman Realty Pte Ltd.
For further information on the NUS Greater Good Series, contact Chow Wei Ling firstname.lastname@example.org