Ayala at 185: Faces of Ayala’s Social Commitment
Shared by seven generations and spanning almost two centuries, Ayala’s commitment to the country continues to evolve as it responds to the changing needs of Filipinos. Deeply rooted in Ayala’s heritage is the belief that good business must not only bring solid financial returns but must equally bring positive change in communities.
We have been consciously integrating sustainability and shared-value principles into our core businesses and scaling them to enrich everyday life. We build sustainable estates and services, and open access to finance, education, healthcare, mass transport, and energy.
As our business grows, so does our responsibility for good citizenship. This we exercise through various social commitments, but close to our hearts are these programs:
Ayala Foundation’s Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education (CENTEX) – helping bright children from economically disadvantaged families
the Ayala Young Leaders Congress (AYLC) – building a community of like-minded youth leaders across the country to nurture nationalism and faithful stewardship; and
the HERO Foundation – where we collaborate with other business leaders in helping ensure a better future for the children of our fallen soldiers through education.
Over the years, these collaborations have given rise to many of the country’s inspiring servant leaders, five of whom we are grateful to have met. Here are their stories.
Starting Over with a Little Help from Your Friends
Sam Abanto, 48 years old, lost everything to Typhoon Ondoy but has rallied against all odds to eventually lead an organic farming cooperative in Calauan, Laguna. With the help of Ayala Foundation through the MDC Greens program, Sam’s group found a way to better their lives through social entrepreneurship. Aside from growing ornamental plants for Ayala Land’s developments, the group now grows organic produce for healthy grocers and restaurants. Sam’s group has recently taken ownership of the program by establishing a cooperative called Inang Kalisakan. From a group of 10, the cooperative has grown to 30 people. Their P158,000 worth of plant orders in 2015 has grown to P4.7M in 2018. Sam is now approaching more agencies and potential partners to further scale their operations.
Taking the Road Less Traveled
Ann Marie Cunanan, batch 2004 of AYLC, is a young leader who quit her high-paying job to create a social enterprise—one that merges philanthropy, community development, and tourism into an innovative business venture. Ann’s company, called Meaningful Travels PH, is a for-profit venture with a strong non-profit core. The group aims to turn people's wanderlust into actions that enrich remote and poor communities. The enterprise upholds a host of sustainability ideals, including cultural heritage preservation, environmental conservation, and the support of grassroots industries. For Ann, AYLC inspired her to pursue her advocacies with vigor: "AYLC really helped me in terms of my formation as a leader. It was life-changing to be part of the program. A lot of us, even after several years, are really doing something for the country.” To date, Meaningful Travels has engaged over 600 travelers and volunteers and has distributed almost 7,000 school kits around the Philippines.
A Father’s Legacy, a Son’s Calling
Staff Sergeant Jealvies Sarte, an officer under the Civil Relations Service group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), upholds the legacy of his father who died in the line of duty. He was a scholar of HERO Foundation from high school to college and has also served two Philippine Presidents and high-ranking foreign delegates as closed-in security. Today, Staff Sergeant Sarte and his team serve as a conduit between civilians and the military, making sure that civilians have access to disaster relief assistance and accurate information about military operations. To follow his passion and pay HERO's support forward, Staff Sergeant Sarte decided to also pursue a career in the military despite losing his father to the same vocation. "Serving the country gives us an immense source of pride. It is the ultimate form of service for all of our troops here at the AFP.”
"Every Filipino Child . . . a Peace Hero"
Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman, AYLC batch 2003, is one of the youngest and staunchest peace advocates in the country today. She founded Teach Peace Build Peace Movement Inc. (TPBPM), a non-partisan and non-profit organization that aims to make every Filipino child a peacebuilder. She regularly works onsite in Marawi and Maguindanao, where she brings various groups together to foster dialogue and understanding. AYLC has inspired her to dream bigger. “AYLC was a lifechanger for me,” she said. “Our batch theme then was ‘Everyday Leadership’. This is directly connected to what I do now. AYLC taught me how I can make a difference.” To date, Ms. Usman’s movement for peace has reached over 65,000 children, youth leaders, teachers, and young professionals.
The Privilege to Serve
John Macneil Mendoza of CENTEX exemplifies Ayala’s commitment to service and volunteerism. After finishing class valedictorian at CENTEX, John went to De La Salle Lipa high school and Ateneo de Manila on full scholarships. Now pursuing a career in international relations, John still volunteers his time to various causes. “One of the core values I learned in CENTEX was servant leadership,” he said. “While the school aimed to raise future leaders, it also taught us that leadership is not only about being at the forefront but is more about serving the community. It is easy to be blinded by prestige and achievements, but this will lead to a tiring life if they are one’s only goals. With servant leadership, one will always be aware that true service is less about the self, but is more about the people who gave one the privilege to serve.”
On our 185th celebration, we pay tribute to the thousands of beneficiaries who continue to share our business and social commitment to improving lives.
In tandem and throughout 2019, Ayala citizens across the group will come together and scale key volunteer programs in each business unit to achieve 185,000 hours of volunteer work in communities where we live and work.
Together, we are Committed to the Filipino.