A History of Sharing

Creating the Framework (1979-1987)

In a sense , the story of Metrobank Foundation is intertwined with the story of the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company. When, at the young age of twenty-nine, George S.K. Ty founded Metrobank in 1962, he already had a vision of becoming a leader in the financial world. At the same time, Chairman Ty was, even then, steadfastly committed to the idea that leadership in business implied leadership in community service as well. For Mr. Ty, it was very clear that every private corporation had social responsibilities and the more successful the corporation, the greater were its responsibilities to the community. As the embodiment of this resolve to share the fruits of Metrobank's success with society, the Metrobank Foundation came into being on January 8, 1979. From its inception, the Foundation strove to assess the needs of its target sectors and evolve the most efficient ways to improve social conditions.

As the bank grew so did the Foundation. Seeing that the health sector was a strategic area where judiciously conceived contributions could make a big difference in people's lives, it was decided to obtain a controlling interest in the Manila Doctors Hospital in Ermita, Manila. With its involvement in the Hospital, Metrobank Foundation hoped to develop a medical institution which would provide an impeccable model of health care in the country. The Foundation embarked on a long term improvement program which saw the expansion and enhancement of hospital facilities. Eventually, the Foundation set up programs to support the charity wards of the hospital and its outreach missions, and to provide scholarships for students in the Manila Doctors' College, the educational arm of the Manila Doctors' Hospital.

Another original project which defined the Foundation's working parameters was the Young Painters' Annual, then known as the National Painting Competition. The year of the competition's inception, 1984, was a time of economic crisis for the country. It was felt that a painting contest could help improve the climate by providing a venue for artistic simulation. Likewise, the arts helped foster creativity, an important attribute to encourage in any program to enhance a society's global competitiveness. Among the first batch of winners was Roberto Feleo, who has since made a name for himself, winning other national and international awards in arts. Just a year after its inception, the Competition bagged the prestigious Anvil Award in 1985 as "Outstanding Special Events Program."

Still another pillar of the Foundation's program which was defined in this period is the concern for the well-being of teachers. Teachers have always been highly regarded in Chinese society. Imbued with this perspective, Chairman Ty was disheartened to note that many of the country's mentors were marching on the streets asking for better work conditions. He then conceived of an awards program which would honor educators and act as incentive to the teaching profession. Thus was born the Search for Outstanding Teachers in 1985. The first batch of winners consisted of ten awardees.

The success of the Search led the Foundation to create, in 1986, another awards program focused on a special education sector: Chinese teachers. This was in recognition of Metrobank's roots in the Chinese Filipino Community and of the important contributions of Chinese Filipinos to nation-building. Meanwhile, the Search for Outstanding Teachers was likewise awarded an Anvil Award as an "Outstanding Institutional PR Program."