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Collaborative Approach

What Is Colabs?

Colabs is a community-based collaborative approach where diverse stakeholders come together to collectively unpack complex social issues and are inspired towards co-creating solutions.

It is a philanthropic initiative pioneered by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) and the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS)  to drive collaboration by bringing together the public, private and social sectors to tackle complex social issues. It enables the diverse sectors to come together, collectively build insights and work towards collaborating for greater social impact.

Following the conclusion of the first three series – Children & Youth, Persons with Disabilities and Seniors – NVPC distilled key insights and learnings from them and developed a Colabs Toolkit.

The Colabs Toolkit is a guide for anyone keen to champion the collaborative process and solve complex issues with different stakeholders. We welcome you to download it here.

Watch the video below to find out more about Colabs.

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Why Colabs?

Social issues today are complex. They are often interconnected and present no clear causes, effects or even solutions. These problems cannot be solved by any single entity, not even the government on its own; they require a whole-of-society effort.

At present, there may be many interventions on a particular problem. These tend to be conducted in silos, with different organisations operationalising their own strategies and programmes based on their own perspectives.

colabs website homepage graphic

Through Colabs, we hope to encourage cross-sector collaborations for greater social impact. We do so by facilitating a process of appreciating complex ecosystems in their entirety, and of developing emergent insights which lead to collective action.

Past Colabs Series

Since 2017, we have conducted four Colabs series: Children & Youth, Persons with Disabilities, Seniors, and Migrant Workers (our first virtual series).
For these series, we gathered diverse and vibrant communities of stakeholders to tackle the issues at hand:
Children & Youth
participants from more than 70 organisations
Persons with Disabilities
participants from 53 organisations
participants from 46 organisations
Migrant Workers
participants from 53 organisations

participants from 55 organisations

Lower-Income Families

participants from 85 organisations

The past three series have yielded collaborations amongst Colabs members. Here are some of the outcomes that emerged from each series:

Convening and Empowering the Ecosystem through Migrant Workers Colabs

The Migrant Worker series has made a significant contribution to the publication on "Immigrant Integration in Contemporary Singapore." by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS). NVPC's contribution is highlighted in the chapter on "Convening and Empowering the Ecosystem," The whole publication delves into the challenges, communities, and potential solutions related to immigrant integration in Singapore. It provides valuable insights into the complex and multifaceted nature of this issue, shedding light on both the obstacles faced and the opportunities available for addressing them. 


Book Cover Image Source: Institute of Policy Studies

Financial Literacy

Creating a Common Financial Literacy Curriculum for Lower-Income Families (Ongoing)

This collaboration between the financial industry aims to develop a standardised program that teaches essential financial management skills to lower-income families. The curriculum will focus on practical knowledge that can help families better manage their finances, including budgeting, saving, debt management, and basic investing. The program will be designed to be accessible and engaging, with interactive and age-appropriate materials that cater to different learning styles. The curriculum will be developed in consultation with financial experts, educators, and community leaders. The goal is to equip families with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed financial decisions and build a strong financial foundation for their future. 

Photo for Dementia Colabs Network

Dementia Colabs Network

The Dementia Colabs Network is a group of 40 industry partners in Singapore, led by Dementia Singapore, with a common goal of creating a dementia-friendly society. The network aims to foster collaboration and share innovative ideas and initiatives related to dementia. Members have the opportunity to connect with a variety of people from the dementia space, including PLWDs, caregivers, medical practitioners, community partners, corporates, and funders and form interest groups to support their shared goals. The network meets every four months to discuss progress and developments. By bringing together diverse perspectives and expertise, the network seeks to discover new approaches to dementia creating a dementia friendly Singapore. 


Children & Youth: The First Singapore Youth Impact Collective

This is the first initiative in Singapore that uses the collective impact model, which enables funders and non-profits to own and address complex social issues in a coordinated manner. The Collective comprises six members, namely Changi Foundation, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), Credit Suisse, Octava Foundation, SHINE Children & Youth Services (SHINE) and TOUCH Community Services (TOUCH). CFS serves as the backbone organisation for this Impact Collective. This initiative of saw the launch of two youth empowerment programmes and a new A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E. Centre at ITE College Central to help disadvantaged youths transition more successfully from the classroom to working life.


Persons with Disabilities: LIFT Community Impact Fund

CFS launched the LIFT (‘Learning Initiatives for Employment’) community impact fund in May 2019 to support marginalised individuals including persons with disabilities by providing vocational training and job placement opportunities in the F&B industry.

The establishment of this impact fund was sparked by discussions from Colabs, which identified the lack of post-18 pathways as a major challenge faced by PwDs.


Seniors: Collaborations

15 collaboration proposals were collated from stakeholders. During the Seniors Colabs Alignment Session, stakeholders had the opportunity to present new/existing programmes that could be scaled with the support of community partners.


Persons with Disabilities: Other Collaborations

UBS has pledged a 2-year funding to provide arts and sports related recreational activities to PWDs in Employment Development Centres.


Seniors: Collaborations (Ongoing)

O’Joy Care Services is partnering Temasek Polytechnic in developing a new Impact Assessment tool to evaluate and improve the effectiveness and delivery of their wellness programmes.