Rallying The Business Community For Collective Social Impact
Singapore Business Federation (SBF) Foundation, the social impact arm of SBF, seeks to encourage corporate social responsibility and corporate giving among companies to support employees in need and the community.
The SBF Foundation believes that people are the heart of a business, and businesses, in turn, can play a more active role in fostering a better society for all.
Caring For Workers
Workers form the backbone of our economy; hence a key part of the Foundation’s work is to build a resilient workforce by supporting employees in need.
One example is the industry-led Compassion Fund established in 2019, where SBF Foundation has partnered trade associations to create a platform for businesses in the same industry to pool their resources together to support employees within their sectors.
The fund is open to workers who experience hardships due to unforeseen personal or family crises. Eligible applicants will receive a one-time financial assistance and referrals to other community support such as counselling centres and family service centres.
The SBF Foundation has raised $2 million to encourage industry leaders to do their part and set up a fund for their employees. Partnering the associations in this effort, the Foundation matches it dollar-for-dollar (up to $200,000 per association) for every dollar raised by the trade associations from their members.
Since 2020, seven trade associations have heeded the call to set up their Compassion Funds. Together, they have raised $1.9 million from their members to help more than 3,000 employees in need, including migrant workers.
One such organisation is the Singapore Cocktail Bar Association (SCBA) which raised $120,000 to help 240 bar staff affected by the pandemic via the SCBA-SBF Foundation Compassion Fund. To-date, this fund has helped 40 individuals by providing them with $500 each.
The other associations are:
- ASME-SBF Foundation Compassion Fund
- SCAL-SBF Foundation Compassion Fund
- SAS-SBF Foundation Compassion Fund
- ACSA-SBF Foundation Compassion Fund
- SFA-SBF Foundation Compassion Fund
- LawSoc-SBF Foundation Compassion Fund
Besides the Compassion Fund, SBF Foundation also set up the Employability Fund to support vulnerable individuals to live independently and with dignity despite their life circumstances.
One such programme is by the New Hope Community Services which supports homeless individuals to find sustained employment through a 3-phase job support intervention model. Since 2017, over 600 jobseekers were gainfully employed.
These individuals, while keen to work, face multiple obstacles to joining the workforce because they may have one or more issues that need to be addressed. For instance, some of them may need help with emotional issues, while others require housing and financial support.
Besides that, there are also systemic barriers such as non-inclusive hiring practices that hinder these individuals in their job search.
To tackle these complex issues, the Foundation works with community partners to implement employability programmes and businesses to delve into their hiring practices and job opportunities. Currently aiding parents of at-risk children, the programme will be expanded to other groups such as women and individuals recovering from mental health conditions.
Bridging Business to Charities of Choice
Besides providing platforms that encourage businesses to support employees in need and enabling vulnerable individuals to gain employment, another platform is to connect businesses with charities of different causes.
A case in point is the Project MigrantWell. A cause initiated by two philanthropists, it aims to be a holistic approach in caring for the physical and wellbeing of migrants, who form an important part of our workforce.
The idea for this project was mooted by the Estate of Khoo Teck Puat and Estate of Ng Teng Fong who were concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic had taken a significant toll on the wellbeing of migrant workers.
While both government and non-governmental agencies have initiatives to support these workers, the Khoo and Ng families believed that more can be done to strengthen their physical and emotional wellbeing.
SBF Foundation spearheaded this effort with partners from both the public and private sectors and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch the Project MigrantWell on 29 November 2021. (Read more on the event here.)
Project MigrantWell includes the establishment of a charity, MigrantWell Singapore, a MigrantWell Welfare Fund, and a medical centre at Penjuru serving 57,000 migrant workers living in the surrounding areas when it opens in Q1 2022.
The Estate of Khoo Teck Puat and the Estate of Ng Teng Fong donated $20 million while SBF Foundation will galvanise the business community to reach its aim of raising $15 million for the Welfare Fund.
Commenting on the donor-initiated programme, Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, Chairman of the SBF Foundation said, “People are at the heart of any organisation and also whatever we do. As business organisations, we can contribute to alleviate social issues of those in our employ and of the community at large. In this spirit, Project MigrantWell is SBF Foundation’s latest initiative to encourage a compassionate business community.”
The Foundation believes that businesses have a responsibility and can do more to uplift the community. It enables collective participation by providing platforms such as the Compassion Fund, Employability Fund, and the latest addition, the MigrantWell Welfare Fund. Collectively, they will contribute to a greater societal impact by the business community.
*All donations to the SBF Foundation are eligible for tax deduction of 250%.