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Shared Gifting Circles


Tote Board is piloting Shared Gifting - a new form of funding that empowers grantees to make funding decisions based on collective grounds-up needs and synergistic collaborations. Shared Gifting shifts the decision-making power from the grant-maker to the grantees themselves. This is effected through setting up Shared Gifting Circles, with a facilitated process which engenders active and open participation from the Shared Gifting Circle Members. Through this pilot, Tote Board seeks to broaden its repertoire of grant-making, while evaluating how the model might be further enhanced.

About Shared Gifting Circles

“In archaic times, gift and gifting were the primary form of exchange within communities. Gifts by their nature are meant to flow towards the needs of the community members while building a social fabric within that community. With no expectation of returns, gifts allow for innovation, education, experimentation and failure. A true gift will continue to grow in value and circulate in the world endlessly.”

Kelley Buhles, Senior Director of Philanthropic Services & Organisational Culture, RSF Social Finance, Executive Summary, Shared Gifting - Transforming the Dynamics of Philanthropy

SG transforms the power dynamics that typically exist in traditional philanthropy by moving the allocation decision of funds from the grant-maker to the organisations themselves. This enables the creation of trust, accountability, reciprocity, and collaboration that are less seen in traditional philanthropic models that often tend to be competitive.

The Shared Gifting process empowers the group to use its collective wisdom to collectively deliberate and determine how best to use the funds towards collective objectives. It also encourages the recipient to create mutually-beneficial relationship-based collaborations, beyond the financial decisions alone.

Focus of the pilot Shared Gifting Circle in Singapore

For this inaugural Shared Gifting Circle in Singapore, Tote Board has set aside S$2 million to convene a Shared Gifting Circle focusing on developing Community Based Mental Health Services for Children and Youth to build stronger networks and a mentally resilient community over the next three years. This sum can be used to co-fund up to 90% of the supported projects under this Circle; significantly higher than many of its co-funded programmes.

The projects supported under this Circle must meet at least one of the following outcomes:

  • Improve early identification of Mental Health issues in Children and Youth;
  • Promote help-seeking behaviour and empower Children and Youth by building on their strengths and resilience; and/or
  • Increase accessibility of community-based services to support the recovery process and reduce impact of mental issues.

Tote Board aims to shortlist 6 to 8 Circle Members for this first-ever SG Circle.

Process and Timeline

Unlike the usual funding process where grantees submit a funding proposal to be evaluated by the grantor, SG starts with a nomination of suitable organisations, who will then be approached to submit an application. The figure below illustrates the overall timeline.


Shared Gifting Launch Event 24 September

You may access the videos of the launch event by Tote Board and Empact, as well as the sharing by the Institute of Mental Health (PDF, 3.2 MB) and the Agency for Integrated Care (PDF, 604 KB) as attached. You can also refer to the loop video for further information. The Shared Gifting Launch event was attended by over 100 organisations, non-profits, social enterprises, foundations and corporations, and is Singapore’s first Shared Gifting Circle.

Updates on the Selection of Shared Gifting Circle Members

On 28 November 2018, Tote Board announced the final list of Circle Members selected for the pilot Shared Gifting Circle:

1.            Acceset

2.            Boys’ Town

3.            Campus PSY

4.            Caregivers Alliance Limited

5.            Limitless 

6.            Singapore Association for Mental Health

7.            Singapore Children’s Society


Interested organisations may refer to the Fact Sheet (PDF, 844 KB) for more information.

Please contact Lu Jiali ( or Xing Lingzhi ( from Empact Pte Ltd should you have any further queries. Empact Pte Ltd has been appointed by Tote Board as the Faciliatation Organisation to plan, facilitate and implement the pilot SG Circle.