Corporate Governance

The Community Foundation of Singapore complies with the requirements of the Code of Governance for Charities and Institutions of Public Character (IPCs) and is committed to upholding the values of accountability and transparency within our organisation.

CFS has achieved ED certification in February 2022. NGOsource has certified that CFS is equivalent to a U.S public charity.​

The CFS Board of Directors takes overall responsibility for the work of the organisation. The Board is responsible for the governance of CFS. It ensures that CFS is effectively and properly run and meets its overall purposes as set out in its constitution. Board meetings are held quarterly, where the Directors meet to take collective action.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the board include:

  • Furthering the charity’s overall purpose by setting its direction and strategy and monitoring its progress.
    Ensuring the work of the charity is effective, responsible and legal. The Board approves policies, procedures and systems for monitoring and evaluating the charity’s work.
    Safeguarding finances and resources and ensuring they are used solely to further the charity’s purposes. The Board monitors the income and expenditure and ensures the financial sustainability of CFS.
    Being accountable to funders and regulators by ensuring the preparation of annual reports and other reporting requirements.
    Ensuring that CFS is sufficiently staffed to carry out the work of the organisation.
    Upholding Board effectiveness by monitoring the organisation’s progress; planning the recruitment and induction of new Directors to replace those retiring; providing new Directors with support and training, and carrying out reviews or appraisals of the Board’s effectiveness.

Appointment

The Minister for Culture, Community and Youth appoints the Chairperson of the Board, and the rest of the Directors are appointed according to the CFS constitution. All Directors typically serve up to 6 years, with the maximum length of each term being 3 years. Directors eligible for re-election after serving 1 term may be re-elected by the Members of CFS at the Annual General Meeting. The Chairperson of the Finance Committee may serve a maximum of 3 years in the role.

There are no Directors who have served on the Board for more than 10 consecutive years. The CFS constitution does not permit remuneration of the Board. Our Board of Directors does not receive any remuneration from CFS.

Recruitment

The recruitment and selection processes are critical for obtaining the best possible candidates for the Board, who will contribute significantly to the effectiveness of CFS. The CFS Board needs balanced, diversified and fully committed Directors. CFS’s recruitment and selection process of Directors is fair, consistent, non-discriminatory on the grounds of age, gender, race, religion and sex to build a well-diversified board. The composition of the Board is systematically refreshed to ensure the Board contains Directors with skills and experience relevant to the organisation’s strategic direction and operating environment. Directors must possess the knowledge and ability to work with staff and key partners to deliver the high standard of governance performance expected by the Members. Planning for the recruitment of new Directors will be the responsibility of the Nomination Committee to ensure adequate succession planning and the correct mix of skills and experience to best lead and govern CFS. The Board’s Chairperson will lead the recruitment process.

Review

The performances of the Board and Committees are reviewed and evaluated at the Board level annually via a Board Self-Evaluation exercise. The Nomination Committee will incorporate the findings into the planning for any new recruitment and Board training.

Training

Training for appointed Directors and committee members are generally conducted via engagement sessions with the Board and senior management of CFS to provide them with an in-depth understanding of the vision and mission of CFS, our objectives, strategic focus and work plans. Directors may be invited to attend courses organised for charity Board Directors to improve their skills and competencies from time to time.

CFS Board Meeting Attendance for Year 1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021:


To enhance CFS corporate governance, the Board appoints its members to chair the following committees:

Audit & Risk Committee

objectives to safeguard and protect CFS’s assets and implement a proper reserves policy. It reviews the audited financial statements before they are presented to the Board for approval. Terms of reference for Audit & Risk Committee.

Donor Relations Committee

The Donor Relations Committee ensures that CFS has the appropriate policies and procedures to comply with the Code of Governance for good donor stewardship and fund administration practices. It provides counsel regarding stewardship policies and procedures and strategies that ensure that all donors receive the acknowledgement, recognition and engagement that constitute meaningful stewardship. It also reviews and endorses any strategic outreach programmes. Terms of reference for Donor Relations committee.

Finance Committee and Human Resource Committee

The Finance Committee supports the Board in fulfilling its responsibilities concerning finances required to achieve CFS’s corporate objectives. The Human Resource Committee ensures that the CFS has the right staff and other resources to efficiently and effectively carry out its work. Terms of reference for Finance & Human Resource Committee.

Investment Committee

The Investment Committee manages CFS’s funds with care, skill, prudence and diligence for the sole interest of the beneficiaries of the funds and in accordance with their objectives. Terms of reference for Investment committee.

Nomination Committee

The Nomination Committee ensures that CFS has the right Board and committee members to carry out its work efficiently and effectively. Terms of reference for the Nomination Committee.

Programmes & Grants Committee

The Programmes & Grants Committee ensures that CFS establishes strategic directions and has policies and procedures for all grantmaking and research activities. The committee supports the staff by reviewing, evaluating and recommending grant proposals to donors and works with the management team to identify community gaps, gather research and develop new programme areas. The committee also ensures that supported programmes are aligned with CFS’s mandate and donor intent. Terms of reference for Programmes & Grants committee.

CFS has in place policies and procedures to manage and avoid situations of conflict of interest. All Board and committee members are required to make declarations of conflict of interest to CFS at the start of their terms, annually, and as soon as such conflict or the possibility of such conflict arises. Conflicted individuals may participate in discussions but do not vote or engage in any form of decision-making on matters where they have a conflict of interest. All employees are also required to make declarations of conflict of interest at the point of hire, annually and as soon as the possibility of such conflict arises to ensure that all parties will act in the best interests of CFS.

CFS is committed to the principles of accountability and transparency. To adhere to these principles, CFS regularly makes available information regarding our activities, programmes, operations, audited financials, Board and management through our annual report, website and social media pages.

CFS won the 2019 Charity Transparency Award and Charity Governance Awards (Special Commendation – Governance & Management).

Our executive management team are professionals with the right skill sets and competencies to manage the organisation and deliver the results expected by the Board and funders. None of our employees is on the Board.

Please click here for details of our senior management team.

The Finance Committee and the Board review and approve the annual budget prepared by management. All extra-budgetary expenditure beyond the delegated management authority is reviewed and approved by the Finance Committee and Board. The operating and capital expenditure budget is regularly monitored.

CFS is committed to disclosing audited statements that give an accurate and fair review of CFS’s financial statements to ensure that they are in accordance with the requirements as specified by the regulatory bodies.

There are written procedures put in place for financial matters in key areas, which includes procurement and controls, receipting, payment procedures, controls and system for the delegation of authority and limits of approval.

CFS adopts a rigorous enterprise risk management framework, and internal audits are conducted yearly on key aspects of our operations. Both the external and internal auditors report to the Audit and Risk Committee.

CFS does not conduct public fundraising activities for our operating expenses. Our operating expenses are primarily funded by the Government, private grants and fees charged for our services.

CFS may raise donations for the Community Impact Funds that we manage. These donations go entirely towards the operation of the stated programmes and providing support to the beneficiaries.

Please click here for our latest Governance Evaluation Checklist. This is for the fiscal period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

CFS administers a Code of Ethics and a set of guidelines for employees to comply with, and this is made available to all employees. CFS understands the importance of and commits to incorporating systems that address employee communication, fair practice, performance management and professional development.

CFS focuses on hiring and talent development practices to ensure that we hire the right people with the skills and attitude to excel in their roles. We have a fair and objective performance management process. The objectives required for each employee ensure that everyone knows how they are contributing to the success of CFS. Concurrently, a comprehensive set of competencies matched to job requirements ensures that staff are trained and ready for their jobs. In addition, our supervisors are committed to helping staff thrive in their careers by making learning opportunities available to ensure their success for existing and future responsibilities.

CFS does not have paid staff who are close members of the family of the CEO or Board of Directors.

Staff are not involved in setting their remuneration.

CFS invests the endowment funds, other restricted funds and reserves to ensure that the value of these funds is not eroded by inflation and that they may grow over time to support the increasing needs of the intended beneficiaries.

The Investment Committee manages CFS’s funds with care, skill, prudence and diligence and for the sole interest of the beneficiaries of the funds and in accordance with their objectives. Investments of the funds are diversified to minimise losses from diversifiable risks while earning a fair return. The investments are made by external fund managers selected by the Investment Committee and approved by the Board. The portfolios are closely monitored, and periodic reviews are conducted by the Investment Committee.

More details of our funds can be found in our Annual Report.

CFS is concerned about the possible consequences that Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing may have on the integrity and stability of the financial sector and the broader economy. We take preventive measures to combat activities by maintaining high financial transparency through proper accounting and internal control procedures and maintaining good administrative, managerial and policy controls over our operations.

Donors wishing to establish donor-advised funds with CFS go through stringent Know-Your-Donor checks. Similarly, our grantees go through our Know-Your-Grantee checks before they are eligible to receive grants from CFS.

The privacy of your personal data is important to us, and we are committed to safeguarding it. The term “personal data” refers to personally identifiable data about you, such as your name, birth date, e-mail address or mailing address, and any other information that is identified with you personally.

By visiting, using and/or accessing the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) website in any way, you fully understand and expressly consent to CFS’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) policies and procedures for collection, use, disclosure, access, correction, accuracy, protection, retention, transfer and withdrawal of your personal data for the following purposes:

  • Awareness and Outreach programmes
  • Corporate giving programmes
  • Fundraising programmes
  • Philanthropy programmes
  • CFS grants
  • CFS news, events, publications, media releases & reports

If you choose to contact us or send us information for which you provide us with personally identifiable data, we may share necessary data with other partner organisations to process the information in a most efficient and effective way, unless such sharing is prohibited by law.

For your convenience, we may also display to you the data you had previously supplied us. This will speed up the transaction and save you the trouble of repeating previous submissions. Should the data be out-of-date, please provide us with the latest data. We will retain your personal data only as necessary for any business or legal purposes. All electronic storage and transmission of personal data are secured with appropriate security technologies to safeguard your personal data.
This site may contain links to non-CFS sites whose data protection and privacy practices may differ from ours. We are not responsible for the content and privacy practices of these other websites and encourage you to consult the privacy notices of those sites.

You understand and agree for CFS to contact you for any other purposes related to the services that CFS is providing or had provided you with and/or on matters which you have an ongoing relationship with CFS. If you do not agree with any of the terms and conditions, please do not visit, use and/or access this website.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What personally identifiable information does CFS collect?
CFS’s primary goal in collecting personal information is to provide you with the best and most useful content and services. CFS collects personally identifiable information when you provide it to us, such as when you register on our site, and when you visit CFS pages and subscribe to any of our services. Once you register with our site, you are no longer anonymous to us.

2. What anonymous information does CFS collect?
Your Internet browser has a feature called “cookies”, which store small amounts of data on your computer about your visit to any of our sites. However, cookies tell us nothing about who you are unless you specifically give us personally identifiable information. We use tracking technologies in a variety of ways, including:

  • Keeping count of return visits to our site or our advertiser’ or partners’ sites.
  • Accumulating and reporting anonymous, aggregate (data collected in mass), statistical information on website and advertisement usage.
  • Determining which features users like best.

3. How does CFS use the information?
The information we gather is mainly used for general purposes, including:

  • Enhance the user experience in our network of sites. We use tracking information to determine how well each page performs overall based on aggregate user demographics and traffic patterns to those pages. This helps us continue to build a better service for you.
  • Fulfil your requests for certain products and services.
  • Customise the content you see.

4. What are my options?
Users who would rather not provide any user data requested by our registration process do not need to register with us. You can still view much of the content without registering.

5. How will I know if the privacy policy is changed?
Any modifications to our privacy practices will be reflected first on our site. If there is a material change in our privacy practices, we will indicate on our site that our privacy practices have changed and provide a link to the new privacy statement.

(13) Reserves
An operating reserve is an unrestricted fund balance set aside to stabilise CFS’s finances by providing a cushion against unexpected events, loss of funding or income and large unbudgeted expenses. Reserves are also set aside to meet future, unforeseen needs or pursue an opportunity.
The reserves policy applies to that part of the foundation’s income funds that are freely available for its operational purposes. It excludes endowment, restricted and designated funds established by donors. It is the intention of the Board of Directors to ensure that the level of reserves is adequate to sustain CFS for a period of two years, with sufficient time to build an alternative source of income.
Reserves may be used to:

  • meet commitments when expenditure overruns or income is delayed
  • begin new projects or activities that further the objectives of CFS
  • renovate, replace or repair premises and assets
  • respond to an unexpected opportunity or community need (e.g. Covid-19)
  • respond to any unforeseen difficulties or crises faced by CFS

CFS reserves stood at 1.7 years of operating expenditure as of 31 March 2021.

Volunteers can bring diversity, talent and a fresh set of eyes to CFS as we work to inspire philanthropy in Singapore. Our volunteers contribute mainly at Board and committee levels, and their roles and responsibilities are clearly defined in the Terms of References that are provided to them prior to their appointment. The Board is mainly responsible for the recruitment of these volunteers. CFS occasionally recruits volunteers for Adhoc skills-based volunteering projects.

Training for volunteers is generally provided via engagement sessions with the Board and Senior Management of CFS to provide them with an in-depth understanding of the vision and mission of CFS, our objectives, strategic focus and work plans. From time to time, Volunteers may be invited to attend external courses organised for volunteers to improve their skills and competencies.

Policy

CFS is committed to the highest standards of honesty, transparency, ethical and legal conduct and accountability. The whistleblowing policy aims to provide an avenue for employees and external parties to raise genuine concerns relating to any aspect of CFS’ operations, including serious breaches of the code of conduct by employees. The policy aims to:

  • Promote standards for good financial and corporate practices and deter wrongdoing.
  • Provide proper avenues for employees and external parties to raise concerns about suspected improprieties and receive feedback on any action taken.
  • Give employees and external parties the assurance that they will be protected from reprisals or victimisation for whistleblowing in good faith.

Reportable incidents

Some examples of concerns covered by this policy include:

  1. Impropriety, corruption, theft/misuse of CFS’ properties/assets/resources.
  2. Conduct which is an offence or breach of law.
  3. Breach of or failure to implement or comply with CFS’ policies.
  4. Concerns about CFS’ accounting, internal controls or auditing matters.
  5. Serious conflict of interest without disclosure, resulting in material gain.
  6. Acts that mislead, deceive, manipulate, coerce or fraudulently influence any internal or external accountant or auditor in connection with the preparation, examination, audit or review of any financial statements or records of CFS.
  7. Abuse of power or authority, for example, Finance Director asking Finance Manager to make false declarations on company’s accounts.
  8. Physical and emotional bullying by colleagues.
  9. Sexual harassment:
    1. Physical harassment (sexual gestures, inappropriate touching etc.).
    2. Verbal harassment (sexual comments/jokes, asking for sexual favours etc.).
    3. Visual harassment (showing derogatory or pornographic materials etc.).
    4. Any other serious improper matters may cause financial or non-financial loss to CFS or damage to CFS’s reputation.
  10. Fraud or the making of fraudulent statements to members of the public and regulatory authorities.
  11. Concealing information about any malpractice or misconduct.
  12. Intentional provision of incorrect information to public bodies.

Procedure Protection against reprisal

13. CFS recognises that the decision to report a concern can be challenging to make, not least because of the fear of reprisal from those responsible for the alleged malpractice. CFS will not tolerate harassment or victimisation and will take all possible action to protect anyone who raises a concern in good faith.

14. However, CFS does not condone frivolous, mischievous or malicious allegations, and anyone making such allegations may face disciplinary action.

Confidentiality

15. CFS requires the whistleblower to identify himself/herself when raising a concern or providing information. All concerns will be treated with the strictest confidentiality.

16. Exceptional circumstances under which information provided by the whistleblower could or would not be treated with confidentiality include:

a. Where CFS is under a legal obligation to disclose information provided.
b. Where the information is already in the public domain.
c. Where the information is given on a strictly confidential basis to legal or auditing professionals for the purpose of obtaining professional advice.
d. Where the information is given to the police or other authorities for criminal investigation.

17. In the event of a circumstance not covered by the above, and where the whistleblower’s identity is to be revealed, CFS will endeavour to discuss this with the whistleblower first.
18. Anonymous complaints would be investigated only if there are clear merits for continuity.

Procedure

19. Concerns should be raised in writing to whistleblow@cf.org.sg. The e-mail will directly reach the Chairman of the Audit & Risk Committee.
20. The whistleblower should detail the background and history of events and the reasons for the concern. Important points to note:

e. The earlier the concern is raised, the easier it is for CFS to take action
f. CFS expects the whistleblower to provide his/her concern in good faith and to show that there are sufficient grounds for his/her concern
g. CFS also recognises that the whistleblower may wish to seek advice and be represented by his/her advisor.

Proceedings upon disclosure

21. Any concern raised or information provided will be investigated. Consideration will be given to these factors:

h. Severity of the issue raised.
i. Credibility of the concern or information.
j. Likelihood of confirming the concern or information from attributable sources.

22. Depending on the nature of the concern raised or information provided, the investigation may involve one or more of these persons or entities:

k. The Investigation Committee appointed by the CEO/Audit & Risk Committee.
l. External and internal auditors.
m. Forensic professionals.
n. The police or Commercial Affairs Department.
23. Further information may be sought from the whistleblower during the course of the investigation.
24. The Investigation Committee will submit the findings and recommendation(s) to the CEO or Chairman of the Audit Committee for his/her necessary action/advice.
25. The whistleblower will be kept informed of the progress of the investigations and, if appropriate, of the final outcome.

Occurrence 

Since the inception of CFS, there has been no whistleblowing report to the Audit & Risk Committee.