Laurence Lien — Philanthropist and Former Nominated Member of Parliament, Singapore

Place of Birth




Laurence Lien

Early Life and Career

Laurence Lien earned degrees from the National University of Singapore as well as Oxford University. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship in 2010.

Following graduation, Lien began his career as a civil servant, accepting posts to various ministries including Community Development, Finance, Home Affairs, and Education.

Road to Success

Lien served as the CEO of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Center in Singapore from 2008 until 2014. In 2008, he also founded the Community Foundation of Singapore, where he remains chairman.

Lien serves on the board of directors of the Lien Centre for Social Innovation at Singapore Management University. He is chairman of the Lien Foundation and the Center for Non-Profit Leadership. Additionally, Lien serves as CEO of the Community Foundation of Singapore and the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Center. He is the deputy chairman of the Caritas Singapore Community Council.

As a Nominated Member of parliament from 2012-2014, Lien worked as a tireless advocate for civil society and the social sector.


The Lien Foundation was established in 1980. Under Laurence Lien’s management, the foundation has set the bar for innovative approaches to pressing issues, such as sustainable communities, education, and elder care.

The Lien Foundation was founded by Laurence Lien’s grandfather, Lien Ying Chow who endowed the foundation in 1980 with half of his wealth. Laurence Lien has served as chairman of the foundation since 2009. The foundation continues to serve the vision and mission of its founder, focusing on early childhood education, water, sanitation, and elderly care. A total of approximately $120 million has been granted to organizations working in these spheres of influence.

Lien is also the co-founder and CEO of the Asia Philanthropy Circle, an incubator for Asian philanthropists. The Asia Philanthropy Circle’s vision is to create a sustainable future for Asia by bringing radical solutions to the complex and interconnected challenges that face the region.

The Lien Foundation

The Lien Foundation has three areas on which it places its focus—senior care, early childhood education, and water/sanitation. It seeks to make long-term investments in the projects it funds and maintains a goal of building capacity for innovation and collaboration.

In the area of senior care, the foundation has invested in 14 programs, including the Lien Center for Palliative Care and Project IngoT, a technology development project focused on improving patient care.

Within the Early Childhood Education portfolio is Circle of Care, which is a joint effort by the Lien Foundation and Care Corner. It is the first holistic preschool and childcare model in Singapore. Focused on at-risk children, the project seeks to close the gap between these students and their peers by providing high-quality education, social work, and healthcare. The project also builds parental involvement in their children’s education.

To address water and sanitation challenges, the Lien Foundation initiated Environmental Endeavor in 2006. In collaboration with the Nanyang Technological University, Environmental Endeavor is improving water, sanitation, shelter, and energy capacity in developing communities in Asia.