ING Bank’s CSR focused on poor Filipino children
Ending the vicious cycle of poverty as a result of lack of education is now the focus of the local unit of ING Bank in its corporate social responsibility thrust (CSR).
Domingo Gavino Jr., ING Philippines’ chief finance officer (CFO) who leads the campaign, said “child leaders” from Baseco Compound in Tondo, Manila, one of the country’s most impoverished areas, have been passing on to other children the lessons that they receive from ING employee-volunteers.
The Baseco Compound has been home to the ING Learning Center (ILC) program for the last 15 years under Gavino, who joined ING Philippines in 1994.
Gavino said he introduced “some upgrades” to the ILC. “We were so bent on getting our employees engaged in the cause,” he said. “We paired off each volunteer with a child leader” in the ILC’s “Big Brother, Big Sister” program for “focused coaching and mentoring.”
ING child leaders get weekly tutorial lessons on math, English, and reading from ING employee volunteers. They then “pay it forward” by tutoring younger learners, as well as actively participating in village-based child welfare activities.
In turn, they qualify for ING Bank’s full high school or college scholarships that cover full tuition, book expenses, uniforms, transportation, and other allowances. ING’s scholarship program can be availed of at prestigious schools such as University of Sto. Tomas, Far Eastern University, Letran High School, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and University of the Philippines. ING also holds summer enrichment activities and financial literacy programs, not only for the child leaders, but also for the parents of the beneficiaries.
For Gavino, being CFO and CSR champion makes business sense for a foreign bank that has been operating in the Philippines since 1990.
“I make sure that the funds are appropriately deployed to charitable activities aligned with ING’s objectives. It is also about ensuring that we have the proper control framework in place,” said Gavino, who is also the current chair and president of the Bankers Institute of the Philippines. “The key is to be able to identify how to measure the success or impact of the project and be able to monitor its progress.”
Beyond making ING a good corporate citizen, Gavino said the ILC program also has a personal meaning. Just like the ILC kids, he said, “I was also a beneficiary of the same goodness, having been a scholar from high school to college.”
“Giving back to society has always been part of the DNA of ING. We cannot fulfill this long-term commitment if we don’t pay attention to the needs of the community — from children’s access to quality education to their family’s livelihood,” he said. “ING continues to support them until the community members become totally self-reliant and able to improve their quality of life.” (Editor: Tony Bergonia)
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