200 Years of Philanthropy in Singapore

This project aims to trace the story of giving in Singapore from its founding in 1819 until the present. Through various exploratory papers, ACSEP hopes to offer a first overview of how philanthropy has unfolded over the past 200 years.

Our on-going series of studies document giving by ordinary and wealthy people, individuals, families, the grassroots community, women, and corporate entities, among others. The influence of Asia’s traditions, ethnicities, nations, wars, progress and the new millennium in shaping the landscape of philanthropy are also part of our research focus.

Through our research, we hope to contribute new, previously undocumented knowledge in Singapore’s heritage that shows how philanthropy and voluntary action is a central part of Singapore’s history.

Between 2018 and 2020, we are planning the several initiatives, including:

  • Research papers offering historical and anthropological studies on giving in Singapore’s history
  • Online database/encyclopedia that provides the public with access to the profiles of many historic philanthropists
  • Targeted events during the 2019 bicentennial
    commemoration to, creating awareness about of the importance of philanthropists in Singapore’s history

Framing the Roots of Philanthropy
Swee-Sum Lam, Gabriel Henry Jacob and David Jeremiah Seah
Tsao Foundation – A Catalyst for Change
Achsah Ang and Swee-Sum Lam
Lien Foundation – Philanthropy for Social Innovation
Achsah Ang and Swee-Sum Lam