Philanthropists forum on healthcare, ageing and philanthropy

by | November 16, 2017

Credit Suisse forum releases report that analyses the opportunities and challenges of the ageing sector.


Francesco de Ferrari, head of Private Banking Asia Pacific and CEO Southeast Asia and Frontier Markets, Credit Suisse, at the Credit Suisse Philanthropists Forum.

Credit Suisse held its seventh annual global Credit Suisse Philanthropists Forum in Singapore, titled “Healthcare Giving in Asia” with a particular focus on ageing and opportunities in eldercare philanthropy. The Forum was attended by over 200 guests from around the world and featured 10 renowned speakers from across the region, including leading philanthropists from the healthcare sector, business leaders and heads of non-profit organisations. The Forum covered topics including key trends affecting healthcare philanthropy in Asia, the importance of furthering access to healthcare and eldercare, and opportunities to engage with players in the healthcare philanthropy space.

Francesco de Ferrari, head of Private Banking Asia Pacific and CEO Southeast Asia and Frontier Markets, Credit Suisse said, “This year marks the seventh edition of the Credit Suisse Philanthropists Forum which discusses some of the most pertinent issues in the healthcare sector that our region as well as Singapore face today. The needs for eldercare initiatives and programmes become greater than ever but at the same time, the sector faces major funding challenges.

“At the Forum and through the research paper, we encourage philanthropists to look into the opportunities in this sector, and to complement government-funded old age programmes so as to deliver the best possible impact in this sector.”

The panel session on “Ageing and Opportunities in Eldercare Philanthropy” – from left to right: Prof Kua Ee Heok, senior consultant psychiatrist, Department of Psychological Medicine, National University Hospital; Dr Christopher Lien, senior consultant geriatrician; director, Community Geriatrics, Changi General Hospital; Laura Lee, senior philanthropy advisor, Credit Suisse; Zulkifli Bin Baharudin, board member, SymAsia Foundation Ltd; Paul Robertson, Chair, St Vincent’s Health Australia.

At this year’s Forum, there were two panel sessions focused on the key challenges in healthcare giving and opportunities to address them. The first panel, “Healthcare Giving”, examined the increasing costs and needs of medical care, exacerbated by considerable pressure on medical facilities to curb spending, and explained why supporting healthcare causes is essential, and that furthering access to medical care is important to tackling poverty and development issues.

The second panel, “Ageing and Opportunities in Eldercare Philanthropy”, discussed the challenges faced by societies with rapidly ageing populations, and shared opportunities for high-impact philanthropic giving, highlighting some of the greatest needs the elderly in the region faces, as well as some cutting-edge approaches that pioneering philanthropists can invest in and adopt for their own communities. The forum also had a keynote speaker, Dr. Mary Ann Tsao, vice-chairman, Tsao Holdings, and also the chairwoman and founding director of Tsao Foundation, who discussed the Foundation’s focus on aged care and ageing issues, and her experiences championing causes relating to ageing and eldercare.


Report released

Also at the Forum, a report focused on eldercare titled “Silver Threads among the Gold: Philanthropy and Aging in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore” was released. Commissioned by Credit Suisse and conducted by independent non-profit consultancy Just Cause, the report looks at the ageing/eldercare sector in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, which all face an increasingly ageing population over the coming decades. With an overwhelming set of unmet needs and relatively little action to date (especially in Malaysia and Indonesia), there are huge opportunities for philanthropists to achieve an impact in this sector.

The report titled “Silver Threads among the Gold: Philanthropy and Aging in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore” was released during the Forum.

The report provides a comprehensive overview of six major themes in the ageing sector, including active ageing, financial security, mental well-being, dementia, long-term care and end-of-life, with an in-depth analysis of the opportunities and challenges of the ageing sector in each country, and the impact potential donors can make.

Some of the Singapore highlights:

  • In Singapore, the proportion of older people is forecast to increase rapidly in the coming years, rising to 31 percent (2.0 million) by 2030. Ageing has become an increasingly prominent issue over the past decade, while there are multiple government and non-profit initiatives in place, the country still faces a wide range of unmet and growing needs.
  • The topic has been championed by several high-profile philanthropic foundations (in particular the Lien Foundation and the Tsao Foundation, as well as the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation) and is starting to gain attention from other private donors. Relative to Malaysia and Indonesia, there are many well-established and professional non-profit organisations in the sector.
  • For donors and volunteers in Singapore, the topic of ageing offers multiple opportunities for impact. Options for philanthropists include supporting Government-funded programmes to boost their quality, seed-funding new and innovative initiatives (for example, to tackle the shortage of manpower within the long-term care sector or to re-frame the popular perception of ageing in a more constructive light), or commissioning research.

In many cases, the Government-funded programmes receive around 80 percent of their basic costs from the Government, leaving charities under constant pressure to raise additional resources from private donors in order to ensure quality,

The report concludes with five key messages for strategic philanthropists:

1) Ageing is not always the most attractive topic, but it is a strategic and relevant choice – Few donors have focused on this topic, and this creates multiple gaps and opportunities for those who wish to make a real difference on a topic that ultimately relates to every one of us.

2) Particular opportunities in Indonesia and Malaysia for venture philanthropy – There are very few non-profits operating in this sector and those that do exist tend to be small and underfunded. These organisations would welcome any support offered, but in particular would benefit from venture philanthropy.

3) Money goes a long way in Singapore, especially when we take a bolder approach – In Singapore, there is a significant level of Government funding. Private donors have the opportunity to leverage this funding (e.g. Community Silver Trust scheme) so that their donations can go further and deeper. Charities do look to private donors for longer-term and more flexible funding that can allow them to add extra value: to innovate, research, and invest in training and quality.

4) Small is beautiful, but we need to think big – Small-scale programmes such as individual nursing homes offer the opportunity to make a deep and lasting impact for a limited number of individuals. To broader challenges facing this sector, large scale programmes are necessary and will require Government leadership (as is already present in Singapore), but private donors and non-profits can also play an important role in researching, testing and advocating for innovative approaches that address the question of scale.

5) For the real change-makers, philanthropy is a personal quest.


(** PHOTO CREDITS: Credit Suisse)




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