Opening Address by Mr David Gerald, Founder, President & CEO, SIAS at 2019 Charity Governance Conference, Excellence for Governance, at Furama Riverfront 1 October 2019

Date: October 1, 2019

Minister Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth

Dr Gerard Ee, Chairman, Charity Council

Dr Ang Hak Seng, Commissioner of Charities

Distinguished guests, Speakers and Panellists

Ladies and Gentleman

Good morning and a warm welcome to the 2019 Charity Governance Conference.

We are indeed honoured to have the presence of our Minister, Grace Fu, this morning. Thank you Minister. I would also like to thank MCCY for giving us this opportunity to organize this Conference for Charities. It is indeed our humble privilege to oblige.

Why we do this?

At SIAS, we believe that trust is fundamental to any relationship – it is the bedrock on which any lasting social pact can be built. Whilst we at SIAS have long recognized this, a central part of all our corporate governance efforts is aimed at building trust between companies and their stakeholders, charities must also build trust with its stakeholders and governance is an all-important framework. It is not only important to practice it, it is equally important to communicate how you, as a charity, put it to practice.

The concept of Co-Regulation adopted by MCCY goes a long way to help build trust. For charities we must take ownership in complying with the Charities Act and Regulations and adhere to good governance practices as laid out in the Code of Governance for Charities and IPCs. Tools, like the Visibility Guide, that has been developed under the leadership of Commissioner of Charities, is one such example that charities can leverage to build trust. Together with shared services, there are many resources available to charities to reply on today to beef up their governance and transparency practices.

Shared responsibility

Just as much as charities adopt transparent practices, donors too much act responsibly when giving to charities. Donors should ask, check, before giving. The Safer Giving campaign launched last year is yet another example of educating donors of practicing safer giving.  We encourage donors to ask the right questions and conduct checks before giving as these will also help charities uphold good governance practices.

As charities, we are here to help meet the needs of communities, improve the lives of Singaporeans and our beneficiaries. By giving them a helping hand, we empower them, thereby becoming our ambassadors for doing good. They provide testimonials to the good work we deliver, helping others in the process.

A connected ecosystem

The charity sector is a connected ecosystem. There is much literature written about this and you will witness this at work here at today’s Charity Governance Conference with the theme “Future-proofing Charities”. While it is only natural to focus on what is lacking, we much appreciate the strength we have in acting in unity, a movement to support the efforts in building a more caring and inclusive home for all.

We are indeed privileged to have 20 distinguished speakers from different charities and intermediaries to share their valuable experience on how to strengthen governance and transparency practices. I am assured that they will be sharing practical applications that would make a difference to managing your charity. I trust you would find their insights enlightening.

A word of thanks

A big thank you to Minister for taking time off your busy schedule to grace today’s Conference. A special appreciation to the speakers and panelists who have devoted much time in preparing today’s presentations and discussion. To you the delegates and fellow charity members, thank you for taking time to be with us. Last but not least, I thank the MCCY and SIAS teams for their hard work to make this Conference possible. United we stand, divided we fall.

Enjoy the Conference

Thank you.