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Temasek Trust Conversation 2020: Reinventing How We Do Good During Bad Times

Features 04 Jan 2021

Temasek Trust Conversation (TTC) 2020 was held virtually for the first time on 3 November, to accommodate COVID-19 safety regulations. Part of a multi-year series, the event centred around the theme “New Pathways of Philanthropy”. Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development and Minister-in-charge for Social Services Integration, opened the Conversation by emphasising the importance of exploring how philanthropy can evolve to support our communities through such trying times. He reiterated the importance of cultivating a culture of regular giving, and encouraged organisations to foster collaborative long-term relationships with social service agencies, to capitalise on innovative ways of giving such as impact investing.
Mr Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara, Executive Director and CEO of Temasek International Pte Ltd, shared his views on the importance of collaborative philanthropy, where partners actively work together to design and implement solutions. He discussed the elements of successful collaborative philanthropy, namely trust, reliability, and a sense of shared purpose. Partnerships built upon these elements enable us to tap into the expertise of various stakeholders in order to deliver initiatives that are both effective and impactful. He further elaborated on the importance of consistent giving, by both individuals and corporates alike, to ensure institutions have better capabilities and capacities to assist people in need in the best ways.
Highlighting how collaboration can work to address pressing needs during a time of crisis, Mr Tan Chong Meng, Group CEO of PSA International Pte Ltd, recounted how agencies came together and lent their expertise to convert existing infrastructure into community care facilities during the circuit breaker. In spite of mounting pressure due to the spread of the virus, the collaboration was successful and the first hall in the Singapore Expo was set up as a community care facility within six days. He emphasised the need for flexibility and strong communication, particularly in novel situations where needs and challenges may not be predictable beforehand.
Finally, a panel on creative trends in philanthropy was engaged, where each panellist shared how their respective organisations harnessed their strengths creatively to assist those adversely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Mediacorp, for instance, used their strength of storytelling to facilitate public education and lift spirits. Google.org similarly harnesses its technology and staff expertise to fill technological and knowledge gaps in the social sector. Organisations such as VintageRadio.SG and Ninja Van Singapore also used technology as an enabler in their solutions. VintageRadio.SG focuses on supporting the mental wellness of seniors by providing them with curated music via a mobile phone application, which brings back nostalgic memories and builds a sense of community. Ninja Van Singapore developed the #SGPaySitForward initiative, which allowed individuals to easily send care packs to low-income households simply by going online, with these care packs being delivered via Ninja Van’s nationwide network of doorstep delivery fleets.
The ongoing crisis has reiterated the importance of such novel and innovative solutions to address consistently evolving societal gaps. It has been a driving force to push the boundaries of doing good in society, and to think critically on how new pathways of philanthropy might continually be created.
For more information, please read our “Insights from the TTC 2020” found here.
Highlights of TTC 2020 may also be viewed here.