In Conversation with

Ng Boon Heong

How has the year been for Temasek Foundation and what can we expect in the year ahead?

2021 reinforced the need to listen deeply if we wanted to adapt to the disruptions brought on by the pandemic.
Shared learnings from our partners and our teammates helped us shape our future as we continued to build upon our strengths as active and agile pathfinders in programming. To this end, we focused our efforts to expand from programming into capabilities building; ‘investing’ in building and growing socially responsible institutions, so that the impact can be more enduring and sustainable over the longer term, independently.

We called for cross-functional project groups targeting priority focus areas like Crisis X, Climate Change and Mental Health. Such a setup helped us to harness synergies and creative talents within the Foundation and concentrate our limited resources to work on emergent and urgent issues faced not just by the Singapore community, but as a region as well.

We challenge ourselves to constantly seek new pathways to strengthen the philanthropic ecosystem. One of the ways is that of being a convener to bring together thought leaders from various foundations in Singapore and Asia for collaboration opportunities. The Temasek Shophouse Conversations that we initiated this year aims to fill this role through a series of thought leadership conferences that bring together leaders from multi-sectors to forge collaborations. This will culminate in the Philanthropy Asia Summit (PAS) in November 2021. PAS is designed to be a collaborative platform to convene and connect global and regional philanthropists with the objective of developing a shared framework for philanthropy, catalysing new partnerships and initiating innovative programming. We look forward to having robust discussions with impactful action and outcomes from this conference.

To connect with future leaders, we will also be embarking on a series of curated programming aimed at engaging with the youth generation. These efforts include Momentum Tea where we organise dialogues with youth leaders to address societal issues like mental health, economic and social trade-offs and biodiversity in urban cities. We will also run a series of short courses for Singapore youths to inculcate a deeper appreciation of societal and technological trends and challenges, and inspire a sense of community resilience towards a shared future.

Only through shared awareness, collective planning and deliberate actions, can we deliver the maximum returns for the precious philanthropic gifts that has been entrusted to us. Together, we can deliver a multiplier effect for greater impact and benefit.”

Has the pandemic changed the way Temasek Foundation works?

Temasek Foundation started its journey by focusing on the delivery of good quality programmes. As we progressed and grew, we saw the importance of building strong partnerships through collaborations with organisations who share the same intent of doing good.

Over the past year, we accelerated collaboration efforts with existing partners, corporate groups as well as other foundations in Singapore and the region to help communities in need.

We also extended our networks and built new connections. As an example, Temasek Foundation joined hands with a group of committed and driven donors consisting of Indonesia and Singapore companies, to provide more than 12,000 oxygenators to Indonesia to support their fight against the pandemic. It was a humbling and gratifying opportunity to come alongside likeminded partners. Through the pooling of resources, the impact of this collective donation by a network of donors was amplified in response to a dire need.

Only through shared awareness, collective planning and deliberate actions, can we deliver the maximum returns for the precious philanthropic gifts that has been entrusted to us. Together, we can deliver a multiplier effect for greater impact and benefit.

Similarly, for our inaugural Philanthropy Asia Summit, we hope to create a multiplier effect of partnerships which is not just about giving, but to ignite a movement of collaborations and stepping forward with active involvement.

With so much uncertainty and disruption, has it affected how Temasek Foundation works with the community?

To better identify needs and opportunities to support meaningful and innovative programmes, we will focus on deeper engagements with our grassroots and micro-communities, and support more ground up initiatives.

We will do this with empathy and deep listening, so that we can energise individuals to step forward and work together with us. If we do this well, we hope to build up an engaged pool of leaders and stakeholder base, to be community champions alongside us as we continue our support to:

  • Build a Resilient Singapore to care for underserved individuals, families and communities; and to nurture the growth and development of our future generations;
  • Build a Connected Asia Community through international multilateral capacity and capability programmes; and
  • Build Future Ready Societies through seeding innovations in science and advance capabilities for livability solutions, climate change, and public healthcare innovations.


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