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30 in 2010: More than Three Decades in Development Work

 

 JVOFI_Logo_30yrs-web

Formation 1980-1985

 

1980. Benguetcorp Foundation, Inc. was founded by Benguet Corporation on the principle that corporate responsibility encompasses a social dimension. The Foundation became the social development arm of the company.

1981-1985. The major programs implemented were Education and Training, Community Development, and Social Services. Its main clientele were the BC mining communities in Benguet and Zambales. The Foundation directly implemented these programs in coordination with the BC Personnel Department. Its forms of assistance were grants, training and technical assistance.

Growth 1986-1993

 

1986. The Foundation secured a grant from USAID for the Benguet Community Development Project enabling it to expand its services beyond the mining camps and decentralize its operations.

1987. JVOFI began the Integrated Livelihood and Primary Health Care Program in partnership with the Department of Health. Funded by Benguet Corporation, the programs implemented within this period were Livelihood Development, Social Development and Support Facilities. The Foundation was renamed the Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation, Inc. (JVOFI) in honor of the former president of Benguet Corporation and Finance Minister of the President Corazon Aquino administration who initiated the creation of the Foundation.

JVOFI diversified its fund sources to include loans to people’s organizations as a sustainability strategy for its beneficiaries and to provide a steady income stream for the Foundation to be able to sustain its projects.

1988-1989. JVOFI begun to be involved in protecting and conserving the environment. It helped implement the Marine Conservation Project for San Salvador Island which earned for the LGU of Masinloc, Zambales a Galing Pook Award from the Ford Foundation and the national government.

1990-1993. The Foundation’s involvement in relief and rehabilitation was inevitable because of its presence in Baguio City which was struck by a devastating earthquake. Earthquake-damaged school buildings, foot bridges and irrigation systems were reconstructed and rehabilitated.

With the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption in Zambales, the Foundation provided medical and feeding services to displaced Aetas who were found to be suffering from poor health. USAID tapped JVOFI to implement the Aeta Emergency Targeted Assistance Program in 12 resettlement sites in the provinces of Tarlac, Pampanga, Zambales and Nueva Ecija.

Consolidation 1994-2003

 

1994-1996. Four core programs were implemented using the Strategic Area Management Approach: Ecological Enhancement, Enterprise Development, Institution Building, and Internal Capacity Building. This approach was piloted in Itogon, Benguet and Masinloc and San Marcelino in Zambales.

1997-1998. The Foundation became financially independent from Benguet Corporation in 1997 as the company veered away from mining as its core business. Faced with dwindling donor funds, the Foundation pursued projects which incorporated cost-recovery mechanisms to ensure sustainability of operations. It also assessed the quality of its loan portfolio to more accurately report its assets.

1999-2000. Innovative development models were replicated in other areas in Baguio City. The Foundation focused its thrust on environmental protection with watershed rehabilitation as its centerpiece in Happy Hallow and Atok Trail barangays; microfinance in barangays Irisan, Happy Hallow and  Atok Trail; and solid waste management in partnership with the Baguio City government.

2001-2003. Learning from previous years, the Foundation forged new partnerships with government, business and civil society as it pursued its programs on microfinance, watershed protection and solid waste management.

Maturity 2004-2010

2004-2005. With JVOFI’s chest of rich lessons, the Foundation institutionalized its development approach which is holistic, area focused and attuned to the demands of the times. Beginning 2004, JVOFI adopted the triple bottomline approach targeting three (3) pillars for development: the economic, the social, and the environmental.

The Localized Anti-Poverty Program funded by the World Bank through CODE-NGO equipped JVOFI and its local government partner, the La Trinidad local government unit, with tools for local development planning and participation. Through this project, priority development needs were identified and JVOFI took the lead in mobilizing funds from the New Zealand Agency for International Development for the Water, Trees and Life Project. Microfinance support from DISOP-Belgium complemented the project allowing the Foundation to extend a suite of assistance targeted at environmental protection and poverty alleviation.

2006-2010. As JVOFI matured, it was befitting for the Foundation to share its strategies and approaches to other communities in similar need. At the same time, it remained open to continuous learning brought forth by new partnerships with local governments, business and the non-profit sector in Benguet province and selected urban and rural areas in Regions 1 and 2.

New needs prompted JVOFI to explore new projects that were consistent with its triple bottomline approach. Organic farming spearheaded by a group of local vegetable farmers surfaced as a viable strategy for putting control over prices to the farmers, for ultimately addressing poverty, and for contributing to environmental protection. On the Foundation’s end, it became an opportunity for it to also develop its expertise in rural microfinance.

Vulnerability of the poor to climate change was highlighted by the devastating Typhoon Parma in 2009. Benguet province was among those worse hit and it was but natural for JVOFI to be called upon to help farmers restore their livelihoods.

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