Ayala Foundation: Championing the Filipino for 55 years

Col. Joseph McMicking was credited as the man who, in the years immediately after the Second World War, envisioned the transformation of the swamplands of Makati into a sprawling, progressive business district. Together with his wife, Doña Mercedes Zobel-McMicking, he was also a pioneer in corporate social responsibility. They understood how business could contribute to nation building—even before “ CSR”  became a buzzword.

Col. and Mrs. McMicking established Filipinas Foundation Inc., the forerunner of Ayala Foundation, one of the leading corporate foundations in the country today.

Although officially incorporated on December 14, 1961, Ayala Foundation has traditionally celebrated its anniversary on the birthday of Col. McMicking—March 23.

Filipinas Foundation was established as a response to the Science Act of 1958, which sought to promote and intensify science and technology research in the country. FFI committed itself to “the advancement of human causes and the achievement of humanitarian activities”  by “pushing the frontiers of knowledge and abolishing poverty and privation in whatever form.”

Under the guidance of Col. and Mrs. McMicking, Filipinas Foundation started and implemented programs in science research and education, as well as arts and culture.

Aside from the McMickings, the chairmen of the foundation—Enrique Zobel, Jaime Zobel de Ayala, and now Jaime Augusto and Fernando Zobel de Ayala—have all contributed to the growth and transformation of the foundation.

In 1990, under the chairmanship of Jaime Zobel de Ayala and the presidency of Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala—Filipinas Foundation officially became Ayala Foundation, as “the concrete expression of the deep concern of the Ayala group of companies for the improvement of life of every Filipino, especially the disadvantaged.”

From then on, Ayala Foundation has contributed to the growth of corporate philanthropy as well as corporate social responsibility in the country.

Today, under the joint chairmanship of Jaime Augusto and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Ayala Foundation stands as one of the leading corporate foundations in the country, allocating over P300 million every year for its key program areas in education, youth leadership, sustainable livelihood, and arts and culture.

Ayala Foundation is headquartered in Makati City, and has regional operations based in Cebu City and Cagayan de Oro City. In 2015, the foundation’s initiatives are present in 52 out of the country’s 81 provinces.

In the 1960s, Col. Joseph McMicking used to say: “The brightest young people do not come from affluent Filipino families, but from poor families” (quoted in The Manila Chronicle, March 23, 1969). Over the years Ayala Foundation has seen the talent, perseverance, and willingness to grow and improve their lives not only in young people, but also adults; not only families, but also entire communities.

At 55 years, Ayala Foundation stays true to its founders’ strong faith in our communities’ ability to become productive, creative, self-reliant, and proud to be Filipino.

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