AVPN Global Conference 2023 | 20 - 22 June 2023


Case Study

Octava Foundation

A private grantmaking foundation funded through donation funds from its principals.

Year of set-up: 2017

Market(s) based: Singapore

Markets active: Singapore, Southeast Asia

Key Impact Areas: Education, Student Finance

Partners include: Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Temasek Polytechnic (TP), Republic Polytechnic (RP), Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), NUHS Fund Limited, AMKFSC Limited, Care Corner

Networks & Memberships: AVPN, International Education Funders Group, Chairman is a member of Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC).

Setting Up: Moving from a family office to a foundation and the synergies that can be utilised

Octava Foundation is a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) that is registered under the Charities Act as well as a registered Grantmaking Philanthropic Organization (“Grantmaker”) with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). The Foundation gives in Singapore and across Southeast Asia.

Funding for the Foundation’s work is supported through donations by Principals of the Octava Family Office. The Foundation was set up in 2017 to pool together resources from the principal donors and to provide structure for the philanthropic resources to be deployed in a strategic manner. This entailed identifying a common focus area, closer monitoring to understand the impact of their giving, and to learn together on their own journeys as philanthropists. The principals of the Family Office serve on the Board of the Foundation. From the onset, they jointly decided that the target population identified for support was to be underserved children and youth in our communities. At the same time, enabling intergenerational social mobility remained a top priority with education being a key lever in enabling it.

Programme Strategy: Carefully growing the complexity and scale of giving

Since its inception, the foundation has supported education and specifically provided financial support for children and youth in Singapore. Initially, investments were made in a broad spectrum of interventions to better understand how underserved children and youth could be supported to attain developmental, educational and employability outcomes. There was keen intent to partner a variety of impact organisations within the social service sector and other purpose-driven organizations in the private sector as part of the grant-making journey.

Having supported a diverse set of programs in 2021, Octava Foundation embarked on formulating a new strategy informed by its past successes and failures.

This resulted in the decision to streamline their efforts to deepen impact and strengthen expertise in :

  •   addressing the disadvantage gap in primary school-aged children and
  •   supporting youth in higher education through the provision of study awards/bursaries and bespoke personal development opportunities.

Almost five years on from inception, Octava Foundation had partnered with over 30 impact organisations and supported 24 programs in Singapore in delivering positive outcomes to over 7,000 children and youth. As of September 2020, the foundation’s geographical focus has expanded to include select countries in Southeast Asia, staying close to the themes of quality education and student finance.

Key Learning: Ensure that verified needs form the core of your partnerships.

The Foundation’s Board and team believe strongly in understanding the needs of the community so that support provided is relevant for the target population. Key learnings include:

Maintain partnerships

The Foundation seeks out and strives to maintain close connections with other foundations and impact organisations who are aligned on the outcomes and target group. It is also essential for the foundation to learn from the work of others and where possible syndicate collective grant making with other funders to further the work of successful programmes.

Invest in needs assessments

In addition to conducting in-depth field scans, the foundation commissions research and evaluations for programmes that it funds. The team works with grantees to measure the reach and outcomes of each programme, and where necessary provides grantees additional technical assistance and capacity-building support on performance management and measurement. Close monitoring enables changes to be made that can enhance the design of future iterations of the programme based on lessons learned.


A. Environmental Stewardship
To protect the environment, we organize programmes like mangrove nursery and Reforestation, Coastal and River Clean-Up, Community Based Environmental Solid Waste Management, Environmental IEC Campaign and Eco-Academy

B. Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood
To ensure a sustainable livelihood for the community, eco-tourism include Buhatan River Cruise Visitor Center Buhatan River Mangrove Boardwalk are run by the community. Others include Organic Vegetable and Root crops Farming, Vegetable and Root crops Chips and by-products Processing and establishing a Zero waste store.

C. Empowered Communities
To empower the community, we provide product and Agri-Enterprise Development Training, Immersion and Learnings Exchange Program, Earth Warrior Training and Community Based Social Entrepreneurship Training

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