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Amplifying the impact of Giving for a City of Good

Speech by Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law at the City of Good Summit 2024


  1. A very good morning to all.
    1. I am happy to be here among friends and partners across the giving space today.
    2. All of you who have the shared passion for doing good,
    3. coming together, exchanging information, building networks and talking about the latest in thought leadership about the spirit of giving.
  2. This is the first-ever City of Good (CTOG) Summit held by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC),
    1. which brings together voices from the People, Public and Private sectors.
    2. I congratulate NVPC for putting this together.
    3. For always championing and building the spirit of the City of Good,
    4. And always moving us towards being a better version of ourselves each time.
  3. This conference takes on an expanded perspective on what it means to be a City of Good – a city where everyone gives their best to create a compassionate society with a strong culture of giving.
  4. The vision of a City of Good aligns well with Forward Singapore, where everyone comes together to build a future.
    1. And seeing the task of uplifting and helping one another as one that is not just for you and I to do separately, but for us to do jointly,
    2. where there is a shared mutual responsibility so that no one is left behind.
  5. Last week, DPM Lawrence Wong made some announcements in his budget speech that speak to this aspiration.
    1. First, for donors. Many who have done well and want to give back, may not know how or where to start.
      1. The Community Foundation of Singapore, in partnership with MSF and the Community Chest, will help donors better appreciate the needs of our society.
      2. They will advise them on how to direct their resources more effective – financial and non- financial – to support lower-income families.
    2. Second, for charities. We have extended the Charities Capability Fund Collaboration Grant for three years till end-FY2026.
      1. This will support collaborative projects among charities to enhance their governance, efficiency and capabilities.
    3. Third, for Singaporeans. We are a generous people, and many wish to support those affected by humanitarian crises overseas.
      1. We might not always be able to associate with a cause or take sides.
      2. And sometimes, natural disasters.
      3. But we can always show sympathy and compassion.
      4. To that end, we have introduced an Overseas Humanitarian Assistance Tax Deduction Scheme.
      5. This will provide 100% tax deductions for cash donations made towards overseas emergency humanitarian assistance causes through designated charities.
  6. These measures are intended to further strengthen our giving spirit in Singapore.
    1. We must keep building the resilience of our nation, which lies in the strong bonds Singaporeans forge among ourselves,
    2. and in our collective willingness and desire to take care of each other.
  7. It is a tapestry of interwoven relationships between individuals and groups in our diverse society.
    1. Each playing a giving role in the unfolding of our Singapore story.

    A City of Good Vision

  8. Is Singapore a City of Good?
  9. There are many encouraging signs that show we are aspiring to be so.
    1. A prime example would be how many Singaporeans stepped forward to give during the COVID-19 pandemic.
      1. On, there was a 160 percent increase in online donations from $35.8 million in 2019 to $93.4 million in 2020, and $95.5 million in 2021.
      2. Based on NVPC’s 2021 study, there was a 7 percent increase in individual in-kind donations between 2018 and 20211,
      3. as well as a 13 percent increase for corporate in- kind donations over the same period 2 .
    2. In the volunteering space, 109 ground-ups registered with the NVPC in 2020 during the pandemic, compared to just 28 in 2019 3 .
  10. Everyone is doing their part to do good.
  11. Amplifying Impact of Giving

  12. It is apt that today, we have representatives from different segments of society reimagining what philanthropy is about.
    1. Even as we encourage everyone to contribute and play their part in building a better home, society and future,
  13. I want to begin by thinking how we can shift giving beyond a single act of giving, towards sustained, collective action.
  14. On the corporate front, companies can design and structure their corporate contributions in ways that amplify their impact.
    1. They can go beyond their employees, to include their vendors and customers in their corporate contribution efforts.
      1. An example of this is Woh Hup. As a company, Woh Hup provides construction and civil engineering services.
      2. But beyond the services they provide as a company, Woh Hup regularly holds fundraising initiatives that involve their subcontractors, clients and consultants to raise funds for charities in Singapore.
      3. To date, their philanthropic actions have raised more than $2.3 million for 18 charities.
  15. Unilever and NVPC co-developed the "Purpose for Growth" to support knowledge transfer from MNCs to SMEs,
    1. to help SMEs level up, and position themselves for future growth in a way that creates positive societal impact.
    2. Under the programme, Unilever mentored 16 SMEs on how their businesses can make a longer-term impact on the community.
  16. I am happy to share that NVPC will be launching another similar project this year called "Grow with Purpose".
    1. This project will extend the scope to include SME-to-SME mentorship in an industry-specific context.
    2. This time, ABR Holdings will lead this project, supported by Saladstop!, with a focus on the F&B sector.
  17. NVPC has also enhanced the Company of Good (COG) Recognition System to be more inclusive.
    1. The COG is a recognition given to organisations for the progress in their corporate purpose journey.
      1. The NVPC has now expanded the focus on Society to other impact areas such as People, Governance, Environment and Economic.
      2. This increases the radius of consideration for companies to be recognised.
      3. I strongly encourage those of you here from the corporate sector to join the COG to shape our nation’s future for the better.

    Community-led Giving

  18. Besides corporate efforts, we are also seeing community-led initiatives as well. We have seen Singaporeans stepping up to create solutions with the communities they are helping.
    1. Using their time, talents or treasures to become a force for good.
  19. I am happy to share that some of them are with us today to share their perspectives as panelists and speakers.
  20. One of them is Malcolm Chen of the Ageless Bicyclists. Malcolm worked with teachers from Grace Orchard School to develop cycling and bicycle-repairing programmes for children with special needs.
    1. It instills them with confidence and skills for the future.
    2. Through his Ageless Bicyclists group of volunteers, Malcolm continues to raise awareness and organise teachings and activities to benefit these children.
  21. Another person going the extra mile is Nabillah Jalal, who is not only a talented musician, but also an inspiring youth changemaker active in many parts of society.
    1. She started ArtSee, a non-profit initiative that aims to provide access to music education for underserved youths.
    2. Artsee will be collaborating with the Djoko Mangkreng Performing Arts group for a music mentoring programme for residents of the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home.

    Government Support

  22. The government is committed to supporting companies and individuals who go the extra mile in giving.
    1. The SHARE As One (SAO) scheme enables employees to donate monthly through payroll giving.
      1. The Community Chest will be providing a dollar- for-dollar matching for any additional donations from companies, employees and individuals.
    2. Community Chest will also allow up to 50 percent of matching grant for any organisation who wishes to set up Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes for service users of a Social Service Agency (SSA),
      1. or to enhance the CSR capabilities of the business.
      2. The rest of the matching grant will go to a fund to be managed by Community Chest to benefit the social service sector.
    3. Finally, the Government has provided a 250 percent tax deduction for corporates and individuals who donate to an approved Institution of a Public Character (IPC) to encourage continuous giving.
  23. We hope that these initiatives provide support mechanisms and incentives that cultivate a culture of giving, fostering a more philanthropic and compassionate society.
  24. Conclusion

  25. It is through these partnerships across people, communities and businesses that we continue to create a virtuous ripple effect,
    1. spreading positive growth and collective impact across the ecosystem,
    2. and further strengthening the bonds of our society.
  26. This fuels the growth of the SG Cares movement, where through our collective contributions as individuals, as groups, as organisations – we will be able to continue building a Singapore that cares. Not only through words, but also through deeds and actions.
  27. I wish you all a pleasant day ahead. Thank you.

From NVPC's 2021 Individual Giving Study

2 From NVPC's 2021 Corporate Giving Study

3 From NVPC's 2023 Groundup Initiative Study

Last updated on 28 February 2024