From left: Mr Edmund Tie, vice-chairman, SJI Foundation Board of Trustees; De La Salle Brother Visitor Thomas Lavin and Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo presenting a plaque of La Julie, the ship that brought the first batch of De La Salle Brothers to Singapore in 1852, to the founding members of SJI Foundation.

The launch of the SJI Foundation “marked a new beginning, a new opportunity, a new necessary response to a different age,” said Mr George Yeo, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Mr Yeo, an old boy St Joseph’s Institution (SJI) was speaking at the official establishment of the foundation at SJI International on April 23.

The foundation is a charitable institution aimed at helping the Josephian community and its friends support the mission of the De La Salle Brothers, as well as the education of young people in Singapore and the region.

“For who and what we are today, we have the Brothers and the teachers to thank and we do so with gratitude,” said SJI Foundation vice-chairman Edmund Tie at the event.

He said the foundation felt a need to “provide a new platform” for the community to work together with the Brothers to further their mission.

SJI Foundation’s first project was a fund raising drive in support of the further development of SJI International. It saw 30 SJI old boys coming forward to contribute more than $2 million.

During the April 23 event, Minister Yeo officially opened a new academic block of SJI International, which was substantially funded by this donation.

Mr Tie said the foundation would support the Christian Brothers’ schools beyond fund-raising by also contributing “professional expertise, thoughts and ideas”.

The foundation had its genesis on May 7 last year when Mr Philip Yeo, chairman of SPRING Singapore and head of the foundation’s board of trustees, announced that a group of SJI old boys had come together to start this initiative.

During the official launch, principals of SJI and both SJI International Elementary and High Schools updated the audience on their new programs that were available in the coming years, notably SJI’s introduction of the Integrated Programme and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

There are now seven schools started by the De La Salle Brothers in Singapore, with 159-year old SJI as its oldest and SJI International, established in 2007, as its youngest.

By Daniel Lim

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