We observed that many ground-up efforts sprang up during the pandemic. They form a landscape of loose polycentric networks which grew organically, driven simply by compassion and a common desire to help others. We should sustain and nurture these networks so that they may continue and grow beyond the pandemic. They were seeded in adversity and can grow strongly to foster resilience and a culture of care within our society.
Temasek Foundation strives to be a trusted partner for the common good. What does this role entail and why is collaboration a key driver of the Foundation’s work?
Being a trusted partner is a fundamental value in our operating ethos. We cannot do all things on our own. No one can. The world we live in is just too complex for that. So, we must rely on like-minded partners to share knowledge and pool resources, to learn and do good together more effectively than each of us can on our own. Certainly for Temasek Foundation, we know that without our partners, old and new, big and small, working alongside us, we could not have achieved the fullness of outcomes and potential of our programmes.
If collaboration is to be sustained and grown over time, mutual trust and respect are key. If this happens well enough, what we hope to develop eventually is a diverse network of trusted partners, connected in synergistic collaboration and plugged to a common mission of doing good but in different ways and in different domains.
Temasek Foundation is well-placed to help grow such a network, facilitate collaboration within it and cultivate synergies through the process. It can also be a bridge to reach out and connect with other such networks locally and beyond.
Could you tell us more about the Foundation’s collaborative work in 2022?
We were able to support our many partners in 182 new programmes in FY2021/2022 with close to S$70m in committed funding.
For instance, to enhance the well-being of women in Singapore, we partnered the Singapore Cancer Society to raise cervical cancer awareness and protection among females from low-income families by offering HPV vaccination against cervical cancer at no cost.
Temasek Foundation works with many regional partners to foster international exchange and to enhance local capabilities. One of them is the provincial government of Riau Islands. Together, we are developing capabilities in agri-tech and aquaculture to strengthen the region’s ecosystem and food supply chain.
Our programmes also seek to contribute to a future-ready world. We champion innovation and ideas to advance science for a healthier planet. One such example is the 2021 winner of The Liveability Challenge – SeaChange. Its game-changing technology allows the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide sustainably from the atmosphere and reduce carbon emissions.
These are just some of the examples that come to mind. I hope you will peruse this annual report to find out more of the many, many valuable partner programmes we have been happy and excited to support this year.
What can you share about the Foundation’s experience of collaborating, especially in recent years?
We have all been through a difficult two years of the global pandemic. But we found in this adversity, a constant source of inspiration in our partners - individuals, groups and organisations. Their dedication and readiness to pitch in and help, for instance, enabled us to quickly provide medical-grade surgical masks to low-income families and individuals at the height of the contagious Omicron variant.
We also observed that many ground-up efforts sprang up during the pandemic. They form a landscape of loose polycentric networks which grew organically, driven simply by compassion and a common desire to help others. We should sustain and nurture these networks so that they may continue and grow beyond the pandemic. They were seeded in adversity and can grow strongly to foster resilience and a culture of care within our society.
I am glad that Temasek Foundation is now managing the Oscar fund , which was set up specifically by Temasek Trust to support such spontaneous ground-up initiatives by many “ordinary” people to help people in need during the pandemic. The Oscar fund will ensure that such initiatives can continue to be supported beyond the pandemic.
How will Temasek Foundation tap the potential of these various networks to meet more needs?
We have established two new units – Community Networks & Partnerships and Institutional Relations & Partnerships. They are set up to be a resource to oversee, grow and coordinate the management and development of partnerships in our existing networks, including domestic and international institutional entities. These units will hopefully allow us to acquire an overall and comprehensive awareness of our various domains and the partnership networks residing within them.
We have also brought our programming capabilities in the various domains to come under one unit. Again, this allows overall central awareness of the landscape of what we do and the partners we work with. This structure will allow us to discover new areas of needs and opportunities for synergies. It will also enable the ease of cross-deployment and development of staff talent within the whole Temasek Foundation community.
In 2022, Temasek Foundation lost our Deputy Chairman, Mr Richard Magnus. What legacy did he leave behind?
Speaking personally, Richard was a joy to work with. I am sure many others in the Temasek Foundation family felt the same.
Richard was always passionate and devoted to improving the well-being of the community, in particular children and seniors. He introduced many new models of care to improve the quality of life of these individuals and their families. He did all this in a manner that was quintessentially him – measured, balanced and always kind – never putting anyone down but giving everyone a place at the table to participate.
For me, his legacy is showing us, by the way he lived his life, just what “good” looks like. Richard will be sadly missed for a long time to come.