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Sustaining a legacy

Tycoons’ foundations undertake major social projects


By Loreto Cabañes

Almost all business conglomerates in the country have set up their own foundations to implement their corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. Indeed, these big companies embark on big social undertakings touching on the buzzwords of education, environment, health care, livelihood, and even arts and culture.



Aside from their corporate foundations, the founders of these evergrowing conglomerates have also established separate but complementary foundations in their names to ensure the legacy they are leaving
behind will be cherished and continue to inspire future generations.

As a non-profit corporation or a charitable trust, a foundation is a vehicle that makes grants to organizations,
institutions, or individuals for charitable purposes. As one tycoon puts it: “It’s giving back to society
what society has given us.”

For this special feature, the most notables are: SM Foundation, Gokongwei Brothers Foundation, Lucio
Tan’s Than Yan Kee Foundation, Lopez Group, Aboitiz Foundation, Filinvest, and the new kid on the bloc, Villar Sipag.

While charity and CSR projects of these foundations are good enough, some companies have started to bring their CSR initiatives to the core of their businesses. CSR can be unrelated advocacies to a conglomerate’s business and therefore some CSR can be irrelevant to its core existence.

Many conglomerates are now adopting the inclusive approach of doing business. Inclusive business is embedded from the start of the conceptualization of a company’s project.

It is part of the overall goal that without it, success can be uncertain but with it, growth is sustainable.
Inclusive business means forging value-chain collaborations with its stakeholders from suppliers, micro-entrepreneurs, and markets to help increase profitability, productivity, and competitiveness. It is a symbiotic
relationship with a company’s stakeholders.

By including the small in its value chain, a conglomerate is building an ecosystem that supports its operation sustainably. Conglomerates are expected to go beyond CSR initiatives; they must be inclusive.

Together with their corporate foundations, conglomerates are assured of a lasting legacy that would not only ensure the future of the next generations but an enduring and well-loved enterprise because it is inclusive.

There is also tax consideration involved. According to a knowledgeable lawyer, donations by corporations to their foundations can be tax-deductible on their part, provided the donee-foundations enjoy tax exemptions. To be granted such exemption, foundations must be duly registered with Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC) as a tax-exempt institution.

PCNC is a private voluntary, non-stock, non-profit corporation whose main function is to certify non-profit organizations that meet established minimum criteria for financial management and accountability in the service to underprivileged Filipinos.

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