For the Common Good
Mr. Norman Joseph “Oman” Jiao
For the common good.
Twenty-five years ago, this guiding principle birthed the Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI). With an endowment of P454.8 million, FSSI geared up to battle poverty by financing sustainable development projects. We could only imagine the exhilaration and the joy of that moment, the minds of enthusiastic development workers already churning out the many possibilities on how to reach out to as many of our less fortunate fellowmen as possible and help in making their lives better.
Today, FSSI’s fund balance has grown to Php 922,305,2221 and over the past 25 years, we have invested in and supported more than 230 social enterprises through loans, equity investments and grants. Our loans and development deposits to partners now amount P 410 million and our net equity investments in enterprises total to P 46 million. The numbers are big, but we cannot rest on these achievements. Poverty and inequity are still on the rise, many are still struggling to make a decent living. As we pause and look back to 25 years, we also ask the question, “Have we done enough?” Being a steward of the Fund is an opportunity, putting us in a unique position to make a difference and effect change in the quality of lives of individuals, families, and communities.
In this milestone year, let us re-live that moment of exhilaration and joy 25 years ago and, with renewed enthusiasm, think of innovative ways to contribute to achieving the country’s development goals, because truly, we can do much more.
We cannot talk about development and not talk about the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected and is drastically changing our lives. As it affects our communities and our ranks, it has become our own battle to take on. We pray for wisdom to guide us through strategic actions and significant engagements to address the challenges brought forth by the pandemic. We are determined not to be deterred by it, rather, we will do our best to continue serving our communities and find ways to cope with the “new normal.” We should be able to use the Fund to continue supporting meaningful and relevant interventions for development, while ensuring that the Fund is sustained and its value maintained. As we move forward, let our core values of Stewardship, Inclusivity, Good Governance, and Excellence (SIGE) be our guide. We survived many economic, social, and political unrests and we will get through this pandemic because we believe in the resilience of the Filipino spirit.
Let us not allow this pandemic to take the joy away from celebrating our 25th founding anniversary. On this milestone year, we honor our Swiss and Filipino colleagues in the sector who, 25 years ago, vigorously campaigned for the debt agreement, and the citizens and government of Switzerland for the generous consideration. We look back with gratefulness to the management, staff and trustees who came before us and steered FSSI to where it is today. We give credit to our development workers for the work that they do and their genuine compassion for the respective communities they are assigned to. Without their hard work, we could not have accomplished as much.
To all of you, maraming salamat po.
FSSI commits to uphold its mandate and engage in significant undertakings for the common good. This is what we are here for. This is what FSSI is all about.