New S$100mil endowment to help mums, children dedicated to late judge Richard Magnus

The late Richard Magnus spent more than 50 years in public service. - ST FILE

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): A new S$100 million endowment, named in honour of the late Richard Magnus, was launched on Monday (June 5) in support of the health and psycho-social needs of mothers and children.

Temasek Foundation’s Richard Magnus Endowment will support programmes that provide antenatal and postnatal care for mothers and babies, and initiatives to further the development of children’s health and well-being.

Anchor, one of the programmes, supports children facing challenging or traumatic events experienced in early childhood. The programme includes home visitations and regular assessments of their developmental, emotional and physical health.

Retired judge Richard Magnus spent 50 years in public service and held leadership roles like chairman of the Public Transport Council and founding chairman of Temasek Foundation Cares. He died of a heart attack at age 77 in March 2022.

His granddaughter, Nicole Magnus, said at the launch of the endowment on Monday that her grandfather was a model for kindness and showed her the importance of making a difference to the people around her.

He always had some bottles of water in the car to offer to food delivery workers or postmen he came across, she said.

She said: “I saw him reverse his car once in a car park, when he saw a road sweeper looking despondent from the rear-view mirror. He handed him some money for what he said was for a cold drink on a hot day. I saw the man cheer up immediately.”

“Every person seemed to matter to Grandpa. He cared not only about those who were family and close to him or those he came across. Stories of pain, suffering and injustice affected him as he discussed incidents and people he read about in the newspaper. He impacted my life not by talking about it, but by the way he lived.”

The late judge spearheaded efforts to engage parents, caregivers, and the community to build a healthier future for children and families, and one area he paid particular attention to was maternal and child wellness, said executive director and chief executive of Temasek International Dilhan Pillay.

Richard Magnus and his team at Temasek Foundation piloted an integrated health and wellness hub at Punggol Polyclinic in 2019 to care for mothers and children through developmental screening, growth monitoring, nutrition and lactation support, and screening for postnatal depression in mothers. Within two years of the pilot, more than 14,000 screenings were carried out.

The Integrated Maternal and Child Wellness Hub (IMCWH) model has been expanded to Bedok Polyclinic and Tampines Polyclinic, followed by Sengkang Polyclinic later this year.

Nicole said: “The IMCWH represents the very essence of my grandfather’s work, a dedication to nurturing and supporting both mother and child throughout their life journey.”

Pillay said: “Richard was someone who could connect with people from all walks of life. A compassionate individual, he had a heart for people, championed for the vulnerable and disadvantaged, and constantly sought to create a positive change in society.”

“The new endowment is not just a tribute to his memory. It will serve as a beacon for social innovations to address current and emerging needs.”

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Singapore , Richard Magnus , fund , endowments , women , children


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