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  • Beyond Grants: Metrobank Foundation Invests in the Potential of Filipino Communities

Beyond Grants: Metrobank Foundation Invests in the Potential of Filipino Communities

Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) stands tall as a ray of hope in our nation’s development landscape—dedicated to forging sustainable solutions that uplift individuals and communities. As a dynamic grantmaking institution, MBFI has undergone relentless evolution over the years, driven by a profound vision to eradicate poverty and adapt to the ever-changing needs of the sectors it serves.  

2023 marked a pivotal transformation for MBFI, as it begins to embrace an integrated, holistic, and multi-sectoral approach through its Grants Program. Aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Foundation focuses on SDG 1 No Poverty, SDG 2 Zero Hunger, SDG 3 Good Health and Well Being, SDG 4 Quality Education, SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities. This intentional focus positions MBFI strategically to address societal issues, forging key partnerships with organizations for a more sustainable impact. 

“Holistic collaboration is our strategy of choice. We advocate vigorously and extend support to empower others to make a lasting difference over the long-term. Most importantly, we measure the impact of our grantmaking initiatives and transparently share the results of our efforts,” said MBFI President Aniceto Sobrepeña. 

The Foundation’s priority thrusts find embodiments in the acronym H.E.A.L. – Health, Education, Arts, and Livelihood – forming the cornerstone for collaborative partnerships with socio-civic and charitable organizations dedicated to the noble cause of nation-building across different parts of the country.  

Health (SDGs 2 & 3): Addressing Core Needs 

In health, MBFI emphasizes the critical role of proper nutrition during the first 1,000 days in laying the foundation for a healthy and productive life of an individual. The Foundation prioritizes sustainable interventions aligned with the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN), focusing on nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific initiatives for vulnerable groups in food-insecure households.  

Collaborating with partner organizations, MBFI endeavors to combat high malnutrition rates in the country through practical and empowering interventions. Noteworthy is the “Roots to Shoots” of the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) in Pasacao, Camarines Sur. PSFI steers the program towards ambitious goals over three years. This initiative aims to reduce stunting, wasting, and underweight conditions among children while enhancing food availability and access through sustainable agriculture and livelihood as well as fortifying maternal and childcare The partnership with PSFI aspires to impact 245 individuals including key local government personnel, parents and malnourished children illustrating the enduring impact of MBFI’s commitment to holistic health. 

Education (SDGs 4 & 6): Practical Solutions for Improved Learning 

On a mission to foster sustainable education outcomes, MBFI is actively rolling out a series of projects aimed at enhancing accessibility and empowering learners across diverse settings. Central to this initiative are key priorities such as literacy and comprehension, Water Access, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH), non-tuition support for students, and teacher training. These endeavors support MBFI’s strategic shift towards more integrated and sustainable interventions for a profound and lasting impact.  

Taking strides towards educational transformation, the AHA Learning Center, operating under the Commodore Jose S. Francisco Foundation is leading a groundbreaking pedagogical shift through its flagship initiative, “Tulong Eskwela: Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL).” The initiative benefitted 200 teachers from Department of Education School Division Offices (SDO) of Zamboanga City, Sorsogon, Quezon City and San Juan (Metro Manila) through provision of trainer’s fee and TaRL learning materials.    

Significant progress in both literacy and numeracy skills among students in SDO Sorsogon and SDO Zamboanga City is evident through the percentage increase from baseline to endline results of the students capable of reading at least a paragraph or story with comprehension and performing subtraction and division with at least 2-digit numbers. In SDO Sorsogon, literacy progress surged from 82% to 96% with 488 students assessed, while numeracy progress leaped from 24% to 95% with 720 students assessed. Similarly, in SDO Zamboanga City, literacy progress rose from 59% to 87% with 1,505 students assessed, and numeracy progress increased from 48% to 80% with 1,644 students assessed. 

Arts (SDG 11): Fostering Creativity for Resilience 

In the arts domain, MBFI champions the creative spirit, celebrating Filipino artistry and nurturing psycho-social well-being. Beyond mere initiatives, these projects are affirmations of resilience and practical well-being, especially for vulnerable sectors within the creative industry. 

One such initiative is the “Angat Sining Fellowship” facilitated by Angat Pinas Inc. The fellowship, which started in September 2023 and is set to conclude in April 2024, offers intensive sessions that will culminate in an art exhibition. With the objective of elevating and nurturing young artistic talents, the fellowship provides a vital platform for showcasing the burgeoning creativity of Filipino youth.


Livelihood (SDG 1 & 2): Elevating Lives Through Empowerment 

The Foundation’s heartbeat resonates in its unwavering dedication to empowering communities through practical and sustainable livelihood initiatives. Livelihood grants extend far beyond traditional economic support. MBFI prioritizes transformative journeys of empowerment, bridging gaps and imparting essential skills for financial literacy and entrepreneurship. These are implemented through capacity building workshops, provision of essential equipment, microfinancing, and other collaborative ventures to drive forth sustainable agripreneurship.  

One prime example under livelihood grants is the “METROBANK HOPE Program” led by the Cabuaan Ginger Association and Development of Indigenous Women’s Association in Nueva Vizcaya. This program seeks to sow the seeds of sustainable enterprises in the province from September 2023 to October 2024. Through the provision of equipment for food processing, Metrobank Hope aims to establish enterprises for the Ayangan and Kalanguya indigenous communities. The ongoing program will touch the lives of 35 members of DIWA, 55 members of CGA, and 100 Barangay Nutrition Scholars/Barangay Health Workers. 

Building a brighter future, together 

To catalyze transformative impact, MBFI invests not merely in projects but in the very infrastructure of positive change, addressing gaps that impede progress. By collaborating with organizations aligned with these priorities, the Foundation ensures a synergistic approach to addressing societal challenges and contributing meaningfully to the overarching goal of ensuring a future of resilience and prosperity. 

MBFI’s commitment to nation-building transcends mere rhetoric; it orchestrates a cohesive ensemble of hands-on, practical efforts resonating with the hopes and dreams of our communities. This year’s shift toward integrated and multi-sectoral interventions signifies not just progress but a promise of inclusive prosperity.  

 “As we step beyond the confines of these projects, let’s carry forward the spirit of innovation, breaking molds and forging new paths. Our impact is not confined to the duration of these programs; we’re propelling the momentum of empowerment into the chapters yet to be written—where every initiative becomes a stepping stone to a future shaped by shared dreams and collective resilience,” said Sobrepeña.

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