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Newsletter, What's New in FSSI

Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI) Executive Director Sixto Donato C. Macasaet spoke about COVID-19’s impact on social enterprises and its partnership with Australia’s Investing in Women on CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Ngayon, hosted by Senior Correspondent and News Anchor, Ruth Cabal.

Watch the interview here:

Click here for the interview transcripts in English and Filipino.


What's New in FSSI

For the first time in 25 years, member organizations of the Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI) gathered virtually for its 31st General Assembly (GA) on July 28, 2020, held online through video conferencing. 

FSSI Chairperson Norman Joseph Jiao, in his report to the GA, noted that while 2019 now seems so far away and the world is now very different from what it was a year ago, reviewing and reflecting on the past year is valuable.  

The Foundation started 2019 with the implementation of its new organizational structure, which did away with the geographic area-based units and instead set up the function-based units with the creation of the Project Development and Monitoring, Partnership, and Financial Services units. FSSI also continued its delivery of development and financial services, as well as partnerships with local civil society organizations to support building community enterprises.  

2019 marked the end of FSSI’s Medium Term Development Plan for 2017-2019, and those three years had their fair share of trials and triumphs. Mr. Jiao said the plan’s implementation generated lessons which helped guide FSSI in crafting its Strategic Plan for 2020-2024. These lessons include:  

a) Cooperation among social enterprises serves as a mechanism in promoting inclusive growth; however, such cooperation needs to be focused on a specific value chain, and clear business plans have to be crafted early in the process to better facilitate the cooperation; 

b) Social enterprises need technical assistance to improve business efficiency and effectiveness and to assist them in developing their own 3BL strategy. There is a need to further develop FSS’s business development services in terms of internal capacity and the setting up of additional delivery mechanisms; and 

c) Community organizations representing marginalized sectors in many cases demonstrate a lower capacity to absorb investments. There is a need to adopt a more proactive role in ensuring the success of their enterprises through investment in the form of seed capital and in building up their readiness and capacity. 

You can read the full Chairperson’s Report here The heads of FSSI’s Investment and Finance Committee (IFC), Internal Affairs Committee (IAC), Projects Committee (PROCOM), Committee Education and Advocacy (CEA), and Good Governance Committee (GGC) also shared their key activities and accomplishments for 2019.

In 2018, it was agreed that the triple bottom lines (3BL) of People, Planet, and Profit would be the organization’s overarching advocacy. However, member organizations had varying definitions, practices and manifestations of 3BL. In 2019, FSSI set out to build consensus and facilitate discussion among members through the Statement of Commitment (SOC) to 3BL. The SOC was borne out of the results of a survey on members and FSSI’s 3BL checklist. While member organizations are bound by their own by-laws or mandate adopting specific frameworks or strategies, all have committed to support and promote FSSI’s 3BL activities.

The Assembly also expressed its gratitude to the members of Board of Trustees (BOT) and the GGC who finished their terms of office: Mr. Benedict Balderrama of the Partnership of Philippines Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA), who served in the GGC beginning August 2017; Ms. Sylvia O. Paraguya representing the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO), who headed the IFC beginning in May 2018 and served in the BOT starting August 2017; and Ms. Christie Rowena Plantilla of the Federation of People’s Sustainable Development Cooperative (FPSDC), who headed CEA  beginning in May 2018 and served in the BOT starting August 2017.

Mr. Balderrama was reelected to the GGC, and Ms. Paraguya and Ms. Plantilla were also re-elected to the BOT in the ensuing elections, retaining their former positions as Treasurer and Secretary, respectively. All the BOT officers and the chairpersons of PROCOM, CEA, IAC, and IFC were also elected to their former positions.

The following are the officers and members comprising FSSI’s BOT:

Chairperson: Norman Joseph Jiao (Representing AF)

Vice Chairperson: Lauro Millan (Representing NCCP)

Corporate Secretary: Christie Rowena Plantilla (Representing FPSDC)

Treasurer: Sylvia Paraguya (Representing NATCCO)

Auditor: Betta Socorro Salera (Representing PCF)

Member: Agnes Bolanos (Representing MINCODE)

Member: Reynaldo Antonio Laguda (Representing PBSP)

View photos of the 31st GA here.


Learning from Experience, Ushering a New Beginning  

Sixto Donato C. Macasaet

This month is special to FSSI. Twenty-five years ago, on August 11, 1995, a successful debt for development agreement was signed between the governments of the Philippines and Switzerland.  FSSI’s organizational documents were also signed on this day.  Less than a month later, on September 6, 1995, the Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. was formally registered.  

As we quietly commemorate our silver anniversary this 2020, we also value both the trials and triumphs that have come our way.  

During a most challenging time for most of us in the country in March 2020, we received word from the Investing in Women (IW) Program that our proposal to be a local fund manager of IW had been approved. The program seeks to address the financing gap for women-owned and women-led social enterprises and will be implemented in partnership with the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) and the Philippines Business for Social Progress (PBSP). 

Last July 28, 2020, we successfully held FSSI’s annual general assembly (GA), with all of FSSI’s 18 member networks participating from various parts of Metro Manila and even from Visayas, Mindanao, and other parts of Luzon.  The online GA allowed us to get connected, even with COVID-19 forcing us to keep physical distance. 

As part of the preparation for our GA and the celebration of our 25th anniversary, FSSI organized a webinar last July 23, 2020. Former NEDA Director General and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Cielito Habito and Mr. Rico Gonzales of social enterprise incubator Xchange talked on their insights for social enterprises (SEs) navigating the pandemic. 

This year we not only commemorate our 25th anniversary. We also mark the start of our 5-year Strategic Plan for 2020 to 2024. We crafted this plan last year and set our strategic goals for four key result areas – Financial Service Delivery, Social Enterprise Development, Asset and Investment Management and Organizational Development.  We also identified four priority value chains, organic vegetables, cacao, bamboo and renewable energy. Given the pandemic, we will review and adjust our Strategic Plan in the next months.  

As we now move towards the end of the year and with our fight against COVID-19 not expected to end soon, we draw strength from our history and experience, and the certainty that the challenges shall pass. Together, we will overcome this crisis.