Philanthropists in Singapore have been supporting causes through private donations for decades. These donations have been made through multiple channels including personal accounts, family offices, trusts and/or foundations. In particular, the wealthiest individuals and corporates establish foundations – legal entities through which they can channel giving to their preferred causes.
To identify the biggest philanthropic foundations in Singapore, we examined those listed in the Charity Portal since it has the most extensive listing of such foundations in Singapore. These foundations are registered as charities with the Commissioner of Charities and must allocate most of their expenditure to causes in Singapore unless they receive an exemption.
Foundations not found in Charity Portal were excluded since there was a lack of public data on them. Foundations that derived most of their income from public donations were also excluded since our focus was on philanthropic foundations.
The latest available annual expenditure and grant data of these philanthropic foundations were collected between January and May 2021 from the portal as well as from public documents such as annual reports. Since grant data was not available for a number of the foundations, expenditure data was used to rank them.
In total, 91 philanthropic foundations were identified. Together they spent over S$264 million in their latest financial year to support a variety of causes, including poverty alleviation, education, healthcare, people with special needs and disabilities, ageing and the environment. Currently, this expenditure represents about 9% of total donations received by over 2,000 charities in Singapore.