Empowering Singapore’s Groundup Movement: NVPC, Temasek Foundation and Tote Board Launch ‘BAGUS Together’ Initiative, A First-Stop Resource Platform

By Samantha Yeo  /
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  • NVPC and Tote Board also unveil the Groundup Initiative Study (GUIS) 2023 Report, Singapore’s first national level study examining the groundup movement, and “Leading from the ground up”, a guide to starting and running groundups to complement BAGUS Together.
  • The GUIS, whose findings catalysed the enhanced support for groundups, saw an increase in groundups started during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost three times more than in the previous year.

Singapore, 18 January 2024 – To encourage stronger resident participation and contribution towards strengthening the nation’s social compact, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), Temasek Foundation and Tote Board today launched the “BAGUS (Building All Groundups for Success) Together” initiative, a multi-sectoral partnership with a first-stop platform and key programmes, to enable and empower Singapore’s groundup movement. The event was graced by Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law.

In addition, NVPC and Tote Board also unveiled key findings of the first-ever national-level study on the groundup landscape, the Groundup Initiative Study (GUIS) 2023. Together with the study, NVPC also released the ‘Leading from the ground up’ digital handbook, a practical guide for aspiring changemakers complementing BAGUS Together.

The findings from GUIS 2023 served to catalyse the development of BAGUS Together and the digital handbook. These aim to enable and empower potential changemakers and existing groundups with know-how to carry out their initiatives and support the Forward Singapore effort to foster an active citizenry in building a shared future together.

Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law, commended the initiative, stating, “We welcome the initiative by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, Temasek Foundation and Tote Board to build an ecosystem where groundups can thrive. Groundups make a positive difference to the local community and exemplify what active citizenry means. We believe their stories will inspire more Singaporeans to join the SG Cares movement to build a more resilient, inclusive, and caring society.”

Empowering Changemakers: The BAGUS Together Approach

Building upon the insights gleaned from the GUIS 2023, a tripartite collaboration between NVPC, Temasek Foundation and Tote Board – across the 3Ps (People, Public and Private) sectors – the BAGUS Together initiative aims to rally stakeholders including groundups themselves, to work collaboratively to help more Singaporeans to not just start, sustain and scale their groundups, but also eventually to support one another in the groundup ecosystem.

NVPC’s existing Groundup Central will lead the BAGUS Together initiative, in collaboration with other partners. Groundup Central was launched in 2018 with the objective of empowering and supporting groundups by providing access to carefully curated resources, programmes and events. The BAGUS Together initiative extends and broadens the effort established by Groundup Central, providing a platform for the ecosystem to work collaboratively to help more Singaporeans to start, sustain and scale their groundups.

Temasek Foundation and Tote Board are co-funders of BAGUS Together. S$5 million will be committed over five years from the co-funders to collaboratively build the capability of the groundup movement in Singapore and strengthen our civic culture of compassion and care.

Mr Ng Boon Heong, Chief Executive Officer, Temasek Foundation, said, “Our groundups have inspired Singaporeans with their resilience, adaptability and can-do community spirit. With BAGUS Together, we hope to nurture our flourishing groundup network, promote collaboration and grow this noble network.”

Mr Tan Choon Shian, Chief Executive, Tote Board, said, “During the pandemic, we witnessed the groundswell of informal giving and community mobilisation. We saw that small, collective actions by individuals can make big impact in the community. BAGUS Together and the various groundup empowerment initiatives reflect our collective commitment to building a community of good. In various ways, we want to enable the average man and woman on the street to shape our Singapore story of care and resilience.”

Unveiling the Groundup Landscape Study: GUIS 2023

After two years in development, NVPC, in collaboration with Tote Board, unveiled the key findings from the inaugural GUIS 2023. Based on extensive research and engagement with over 1,800 individuals from the groundup space and members of the public, this comprehensive study provides valuable insights into the dynamic and diverse groundup landscape and sheds light on the characteristics and impact of groundups in Singapore. This landmark study reveals key findings such as:

  • Increased groundup activity during COVID-19: Although the groundup landscape is fluid and some groundups are transitory in nature, they have existed long before the pandemic. Groundups substantially increased in numbers during the pandemic; a snapshot of NVPC database has shown that there were 109 groundups formed in 2020, almost three times more than the 28 formed in 2019.
  • Strong community focus: Groundups prioritise community building and development, with 73% identifying this as their mission, nearly half (50%) providing befriending and social time services, over a quarter providing necessities (29%) and mental health support (26%).
  • Majority are youth-led: Groundup founders are from diverse backgrounds, 56% of the surveyed founders are aged 18-34, and 35% are aged 40 and over.
  • Existing gaps: In a self-evaluation of operational performance, groundup leaders identified increasing publicity, planning long-term trajectory, recruiting leadership, recruiting members, and raising awareness of cause areas as key areas for improvement. They also examined the frequency of groundup interactions with ecosystem stakeholders such as funders, charities and corporates, and identified skill-based advice, mentorship, sectoral knowledge, credibility, and funding as areas where they can benefit from more support.

This first-ever study provides a strong foundation for various stakeholders to better understand the groundup movement and key areas of development and paves the way for more targeted and effective support to the groundups.

Mr Tony Soh, CEO of NVPC, said, “In alignment with NVPC’s vision to build a City of Good, Groundup Central has laid strong foundations for the support of such community-led initiatives. Through the launch of BAGUS Together and the unveiling of GUIS 2023 and the handbook, we invite Singaporeans to step up and contribute their unique talents to co-create a more caring, inclusive and compassionate society.”

“Leading from the ground up”: A Practical Guide for Groundups

Complementing BAGUS Together is the “Leading from the ground up” handbook, a practical guide developed from GUIS 2023 insights and augmented with further consultations with groundups. This comprehensive resource further empowers groundups, guides aspiring changemakers through the stages of the groundup journey, and aggregates resources available in the ecosystem, offering practical guidance across all stages of their development.

Together, BAGUS Together and the “Leading from the ground up” handbook represent a significant step forward in empowering Singapore’s groundup ecosystem, where groundups can flourish with support from one another, partners and the larger community.

For more information and to access the GUIS 2023 report, BAGUS Together and “Leading from the ground up” handbook, please visit bagustogether.sg.


About National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC)

The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) is the steward of the City of Good vision for Singapore, where individuals, organisations, and leaders come together to give their best for others. Through our brands, programmes, and initiatives, we facilitate partnerships with non-profits, organisations, public sector bodies, and individuals to enliven the giving ecosystem within Singapore. We invite you to join us in becoming a #CityofGood together. Visit us at www.cityofgood.sg.

About Tote Board

Established in 1988, Tote Board is a statutory board of the Ministry of Finance. Our vision is to build a caring and resilient Singapore through our broad-based grantmaking efforts. We steward the operating surplus from gaming revenue by supporting a wide range of community-based projects for social impact. Collectively, our grantmaking work is focused on four strategic outcomes: encouraging healthy lives and well-being, empowering communities, fostering a cohesive and resilient society and making Singapore a sustainable and liveable home.

Tote Board exercises strategic oversight of our wholly-owned subsidiaries, Singapore Pools (Private) Limited and Singapore Turf Club. As one Tote Board Group, we work with stakeholders to foster responsible gaming. We uphold our mandate to counter illegal gambling by providing a safe and trusted environment for people who choose to engage in betting activities. For more information, visit https://www.toteboard.gov.sg.

About Temasek Foundation

Temasek Foundation supports a diverse range of programmes that uplift lives and communities in Singapore and beyond. Temasek Foundation’s programmes, made possible through philanthropic endowments gifted by Temasek, strive towards achieving positive outcomes for individuals and communities now, and for generations to come. Collectively, Temasek Foundation’s programmes strengthen social resilience, foster international exchange and regional capabilities, advance science, and protect the planet. For more information, visit www.temasekfoundation.org.sg.