Big hearts, lending a hand
As a broad-based grantmaking organisation which helps to contribute to nation-building, the Tote Board Group (Tote Board, Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club) made possible many of the good we see in S'pore today. Here's a look at what goes on behind the scenes
Call her an accidental grantmaker.
Ms Joei Leong was working at the Ministry of Law's Insolvency Office when she saw an ad by Tote Board, looking for grant management officers.
She left her civil service job to join Tote Board four years ago. The 35-year-old assistant manager of Funding And Partnerships (Community) works with 19 colleagues in grant management.
"The scope of work includes looking into, developing and putting into effect grant programmes to strengthen community bonding and uplift vulnerable groups in society. I was hooked," said Ms Leong.
Tote Board is a broad-based grantmaking organisation that contributes to sectors in arts, community development, education, health, social service and sports.
Up to the 1970s, organised gambling was the domain of the Chinese triads, and banning it would drive activities underground.
In a practical solution, the Government established state-run lotteries to provide a safe outlet for gamblers and to stop the syndicates and their illegal activities.
The surplus collected is channelled towards worthwhile causes.
Chief Executive of Tote Board Fong Yong Kian said: "We provide a legal means for punters to have an occasional flutter. Legal means of gambling serve to keep illegal gambling in check, helping to make society safer.
"Tote Board's subsidiaries − Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club − do not keep profits for their own use. Through Tote Board, these gaming surpluses are channelled to our community, to provide help to vulnerable groups, beautify our city with quality common spaces for all to enjoy, and promote sports and the arts."
The Tote Board Group has contributed more than $6.4 billion over the last 11 years, to help uplift the community. (See table above.)
"Behind every grantmaker is a very big heart.
"But giving out grants also involves the mind," said Ms Leong.
"There is a rigorous mechanism behind giving grants. We have to consider carefully the needs of the beneficiaries and how the grant would work out for them."
Tote Board is pro-active and pulls partners together to work with them to identify social gaps and curate programmes to help meet the needs of the community. Tote Board focuses on the vulnerable groups to help make their lives better.
"I work with partners like the Health Promotion Board, National Arts Council, the Ministry Of Social and Family Development, National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and the Singapore Police Force (SPF). With NCPC and SPF, we worked together to shape the Delta League Programme, with help from SPF mentors to guide at-risk youths over the popular game of football.
Although Ms Leong finds joy in what she does, there is no single case that particularly stands out.
"Our grants also went to funding national icons like Gardens by the Bay, The Esplanade and Sports Hub," she said. Tote Board funds these quality public spaces to make it accessible for all in Singapore.
"There isn't just one thing I've worked on that made me proud, but it is several different things put together. In my work I see bits and pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that make up the bigger picture of how the grants have helped to make Singapore inclusive, resilient and vibrant and I feel proud to be part of the process."
TOTE BOARD GROUP STAFF GIVES BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
Apart from channelling the surplus collected towards worthwhile causes, Tote Board Group, comprising Tote Board, Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club, encourages the staff to actively serve and give back to society.
For instance, one of Singapore Pools staff community programmes is iShine, or I Serve from the Heart and In Nurturing Everyone.
For 13 years,employees have been putting in time, effort and talent to engage disadvantaged children and the needy elderly, preserve the environment and organise fund-raisers.
Each employee gets two iShine leave days a year to take part in the many activities that are organised for the elderly, special needs children, at-risk youth and the environment.
Last year, the staff clocked 2,233 volunteer hours - a three-fold increase from five years ago.
Human Resource Senior Director Evelyn Goh said: "Giving back to the community is deeply ingrained in Singapore Pools' culture and DNA from the beginning.
"As a major source of funding in Singapore's nation-building days, Singapore Pools made possible many of the good we see today.
"Employees who are committed to doing good will naturally care for the people they serve, our customers."
Singapore Turf Club adopts local charities such as Club Rainbow, Thye Hua Kwan EIPIC Centre @ Woodlands and Melrose Home run by the Children's Aid Society as part of its CSR efforts, not just through fund-raising but also through staff-volunteer engagements.
It also sponsored TV series RenovAID TV, a reality series which makes-over homes of poor HDB dwellers through the assistance of interior designers, renovation contractors and social workers or volunteers.
Last year, the Tote Board Group hosted about 450 beneficiaries from 24 charity and community groups, which included Assisi Hospice, Handicaps Welfare Association and St John Elder's Home to its carnival at the Singapore Racecourse.
About 7,000 people - mainly families, young children and the elderly - turned up to celebrate Singapore's 50th birthday together.
Singapore Sporting Club formed. First horse race on Feb 23, 1843 at Farrer Park with prize money of $150.
Singapore Sporting Club renamed Singapore Turf Club (STC).
STC buys part of Bukit Timah Rubber Estate and moves there in 1933.
Public allowed to attend races.
Singapore Pools established to provide a safe outlet for customers and to neutralize illegal betting. TOTO game launched.
Singapore Pools introduces Singapore Sweep with $400,000 as first prize.
Queen Elizabeth II Cup inaugurated to mark Her Majesty's visit to Singapore Turf Club.
Singapore Pools contributes $14.5m (1968 - 1976) to building of National Stadium and repays $7.8m government loan for its management. PM Lee Kuan Yew opens stadium.
Singapore Pools becomes subsidiary of Temasek Holdings.
First female jockey granted licence to ride. $18m North Grandstand opens, both stands can seat 50,000.
Singapore Pools launches 4-Digit numbers game.
It contributes $45m (1986 - 1989) towards the building of Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Singapore Totalisator Board set up and appoints Singapore Turf Club as agent for racing and 4-D operations. It channels surpluses towards public, social or charitable purposes, and in the advancement of culture, arts and sports.
Singapore Totalisator Board donates to schools to speed up adoption of IT. Grants also given to polytechnics and technical institutions for students' projects. Singapore Totalisator Board helps build and upgrade community centres and clubs, and sets up trust fund for Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
Singapore Pools contributes $40m to Sports Excellence up to year 2002. Singapore Totalisator Board initiates to fund public health education projects by non-profit organisations, and sets up trust fund for Singapore Dance Theatre.
Singapore Totalisator Board launches Arts Grant for Schools and Arts Grants to support arts scene. It also funds research programmes at NUS and NTU.
Singapore Totalisator Board partners MOH and HPB on national screening programmes and other public health projects.
Singapore Pools and Singapore Totalisator Board contribute more than $500m to Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.
Singapore Totalisator Board launches initiative to fund school students to embark on overseas community projects to promote character building and volunteerism.
Singapore Totalisator Board contributes to redevelopment of Singapore Discovery Centre and Singapore Pools pledges proceeds from Singapore Sweep to Esplanade.
Singapore Turf Club moves to new premises at Singapore racecourse at Kranji. Singapore Pools launches sports betting on S.League to support professional football development.
Singapore Racecourse at Kranji officially opens. Singapore Pools conducts the first TOTO Hongbao Draw.
Singapore Totalisator Board supports project on Family Matters!. Singapore Pools pledges $375m to Sporting Singapore Fund.
Singapore Pools introduced international football betting.
Inaugural Singapore Turf Club Charity Raceday raises $1.15m in aid of Community Chest. Singapore Pools launches its iShine staff community programme to promote corporate volunteerism.
Singapore Totalisator Board acquires Singapore Pools from Temasek Holdings and consolidates its grantmaking function.
To support community participation and resilience, Singapore Totalisator Board funds milestone events such as National Day Parade, Chingay and President's Challenge.
Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh witness Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Kranji. Singapore Pools adopts World Lottery Association Responsible Gaming Principles. Singapore Totalisator Board sets up Tote Board Social Service Fund to help vulnerable groups in community, enable them to contribute to society and support social integration.
Singapore Totalisator Board contributes to building of School of the Arts (SOTA). Singapore Pools launches Responsible Gaming Programme and opens live betting venue at PoMo.
Singapore Totalisator Board adopts Tote Board as name. Tote Board funds public spaces such as National Gallery Singapore, Gardens by the Bay and ABC Waters Programme. Singapore Pools offers sports betting on Formula One.
Tote board community healthcare fund set up to build healthier nation and make healthcare services more affordable and accessible for vulnerable groups in community. Tote board supports community chest to help these people.
Tote Board provides seed capital to Caring Fleet Services, a transport operator for wheelchair users. Launch of Tote Board Social Innovation Research Fund, which provides seed funding for innovative projects from polytechnics and ITEs that improve delivery of social services.
Tote Board provides seed capital to set up Social Enterprise (SE) Hub to nurture social enterprises with investment funding and incubational support.
Singapore Pools achieves the highest global certification standard in the industry for responsible gaming. Launch of Football With A Heart to raise funds for the less fortunate.
Tote Board contributes to Care & Share @ SG50 Movement. It launches the Tote Board-Enabling Lives initiative to help persons with disabilities and their caregivers and also funds the development of Enabling Village.
Tote Board launches Capacity and Capability Building initiative to nurture leadership in VWOs and NPOs.
Launch of See The True Me disability awareness campaign, part of five-year public education effort to promote inclusion in Singapore.