Belinda Tanoto: Why Education is Sustainable Giving

Belinda Tanoto, a member of the Tanoto Foundation Board of Trustees,  recently shared lessons from her philanthropic work in a feature published in the Nanyang Technological University (NTU)’s Circle of Giving’s Continuum magazine.

Belinda stressed the importance of education as a means to equip youths with the ability to break out of the poverty cycle, calling education “a form of sustainable giving and giving for the long term”.

“Education is something that resonates not just with me, but my family as a whole,” Belinda said. “Only when our youths are equipped with the basic skills of thinking, reading, writing and counting, can they break out of the poverty cycle,” she added.

Tanoto Foundation, which was founded by RGE Chairman Sukanto Tanoto and his wife Tinah Bingei Tanoto, funds the NTU Tanoto Scholarship, offered to full-time undergraduate students at the university’s College of Engineering, Nanyang Business School or Wee Kim Wee School of Communications & Information. 

“At the Foundation, we don’t just provide our scholars with financial assistance and access to formal education, but also encourage them to give back and practice love and compassion. For example, every year, our Singapore-based scholars – including the ones from NTU – participate in a week of volunteering to help schools in rural Indonesia.”

This weeklong volunteering programme is called Project Sukacita – a student-initiated and student-led community service project that allows Tanoto Scholars from both Singapore and Indonesia to serve local communities in rural Indonesia. The activities range from conducting health screenings and raising children’s awareness on healthy, hygiene and nutrition, to cleaning and painting the walls of childcare centres.

“Through this experience, the scholars gain not only self-awareness, but also learn the value of empathy and gratitude – the more you have, the more you need to share,” Belinda said.

Belinda also spoke about the significance of teamwork and partnerships when it comes to giving.

“Many of our foundation’s programmes are impactful not because of the effort of a single individual, but rather the team as a whole. Each of us brings something to the table, complementing the other’s strengths, knowledge and experience,” she said.

She added that she does not believe that giving should be measured by “dollar terms”.

“What matters is the intention behind, and the impact of, the giving. Each of us have been given a unique gift, be it skills, money, relationships (and) we should use that gift to help make the world a better place,” Belinda said.

Click here to read the full feature in NTU Circle of Giving’s Continuum the