Manila, Philippines—Cherishing and nourishing the community where we live. It seems like a simple concept, but not enough people take the time to do it, let alone corporations. In February 2012, TELUS International Philippines (TIP) expanded its efforts to give back to the community with the establishment of the TIP Community Board.
The TIP Community Board, chaired by Mr. Javier Infante, consists of local community leaders from various sectors of Philippine society. Its board members include Rosanna Tuason-Fores, Chief Executive Officer of Hijo Resources Corporation, president of the Tuason Development Foundation Inc. and current Barangay Chair of Forbes Park; Dr. Lourdes Carandang, retired professor, clinical psychologist and founder of MLAC Institute for Children and Families; Pacita Juan, League of Corporate Foundations member and president of the Philippine Coffee Board; Dr. Jose Maria Mariano, president of University of Asia and the Pacific; Joy Virata, director, playwright, and award-winning actress; Jeff Uthoff, president TIP; Cris Rosenthal, vice-president TIP Human Resources; and Warren Tait, vice-president TIP Operations.
This year, the Community Board is distributing up to CAD$100,000 to local charities, with focus on grassroots projects in three focus areas: health and wellness, education and sports, and arts and culture.
Given the recent flooding in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon, where, in some cases, entire communities have been swept away, the Board will be allocating a substantial portion of this year’s funds to community restoration efforts. Charitable organizations who operate within the Board’s three focus areas and are involved in flood restoration efforts are invited to apply for funding from the Board.
Supporting the Arts
The formal turnover of the Community Board’s first CAD$10,000 grant was held last week at Market! Market! in Fort Bonifacio. The recipient, PHILSTAGE, is a diverse organization that has brought together such prominent groups as Actors Actors, Inc. (AA), Ballet Manila (BM), Ballet Philippines (BP), Gantimpala Theater Foundation (GANTIMPALA), Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), Repertory Philippines (REP), Tanghalang Pilpino (TP), and Triumphant People’s Evangelistic Theater Society, Inc. (TRUMPETS).
The event saw children from the TELUS-GK Villages being exposed to the different performance and artistic groups under the PHILSTAGE umbrella. Acting, singing, and dancing workshops were given to the children who excitedly joined in the festivities. TELUS International president Jeffrey Puritt, who was visiting from Canada, attended the event, together with TELUS International president Jeffrey Uthoff, as well as members of the TIP Community Board and representatives of PHILSTAGE.
“This first grant will fund up to three months of artistic activities for children from our GK villages. These will include trips to the ballet, the children’s theater, cultural shows and workshops. PHILSTAGE will also conduct a similar follow-on project for children from flood-stricken communities,” says Mr. Javier Infante, the TELUS Community Board Chairman.
“PHILSTAGE is an organization of performing arts companies,” says Ms. Joy Virata, a long-time luminary of Philippine theater and supporter of PHILSTAGE. “It is an organization of performing arts companies, not only theater. The original companies were unsubsidized professional companies. We later admitted other companies that wished to be included.” In fact, Ms. Virata shares that PHILSTAGE is still open for membership to all professional performing arts companies.
Asked what PHILSTAGE thought of the grant from TIP, Ms. Virata happily stated that, “We are very happy with the grant from TIP. We view it not only as an effort to improve the quality of life for underserved children, but as a sign of support and encouragement for the uplifting of art appreciation in the Philippines.”
Rebuilding Schools in Flood-Stricken Communities
The Community Board has also earmarked another CAD$10,000 to rebuild schools that have been damaged by the recent floods. TELUS has been working with the Philippine Red Cross and various local government units to identify recipients of the award and expects to release the funds within 30 days.