Through the Tanoto Foundation, Sukanto Tanoto has achieved enormous change in Asia. Established in 1981 by Sukanto Tanoto and his wife, Tinah Bingei Tanoto, the foundation had its humble beginnings in North Sumatra with a kindergarten and elementary school. Tanoto’s foundation is based on the belief that quality education accelerates equal opportunity.
In 2017, the Tanoto Foundation refreshed its strategy with the desire to create impact on a larger scale and facilitate a quality education lifecycle. Today, the foundation is built on three pillars which involve collaboration with like-minded partners to focus on ‘Learning Environments, Future Leaders, and Medical Research and Sciences’. In the many years since, Sukanto Tanoto’s education and leadership development programmes have changed the lives of many in Singapore.
The Scholarship Programme in Singapore under the Leadership Development initiative was established through endowed grants by the Foundation and Tanoto himself. The scholarships provide financial assistance and support to deserving undergraduate students who demonstrate strong leadership and academic excellence and are currently pursuing their education at the Singapore Management University (SMU), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), or the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS YLLSoM).
From 2001 until 2018, the programme has provided USD 3.6 million worth of funds in terms of total grants. Up until 2018, the leadership programme has helped 122 talented scholars.
The Tanoto Scholars Association in Singapore (TSA SG) was established in 2018, combining the cohort of scholars and alumni across all three universities. This association aims to forge bonds and strengthen networks in order to further the cause of developing future leaders.
Further, the Leadership Programme launched Project Sukacita in 2018, an initiative which brought together Tanoto Scholars from SMU, NTU, and NUS YLLSoM to reach out to marginalised communities in Riau, Indonesia.
Project Sukacita, a yearly community service programme, focuses on helping raise the standard and quality of life through cleaner environments, improved public health awareness, and by placing an emphasis on early education for local children.
The Scholarship Programme in Singapore specifically aids medical students for specific reasons. Sukanto Tanoto’s commitment to improving healthcare in the region is unmatched, and this, paired with Tanoto’s initial unfulfilled aspirations to be a doctor during his youth, inspired Tanoto to help others achieve their dreams through medical scholarships.
The Tanoto Foundation supported the YLLSoM in establishing a financial assistance fund to sponsor deserving medical students who may be lacking in financial aid. Tanoto Scholars further attend the Tanoto Scholars Annual Networking (TSAN) event where scholars pursuing undergraduate studies in Singapore at all three universities come together to meet, network, and welcome any new recipients. In 2018, the event saw the official launch of the 16th chapter of the Tanoto Scholars Association in Singapore.
Through these initiatives which fall under the Scholarship Programme in Singapore, the Tanoto Foundation hones leadership development, aids students in their education, and fosters an entrepreneurial spirit, creating a strong network of scholars, academics, and future leaders who will go on to conquer many fields in Singapore and Asia, particularly the field of medicine.