Despite gains in PHL economy, ex-Maryland student says ‘more needs to be done’

The author is founder of the social enterprise organization SocialProject.PH

The author is founder of the social enterprise organization SocialProject.PH

By Justin Garrido

As a Filipino American, I moved back to the Philippines to pursue this venture with my former MBA classmate, who is Filipino Australian.

Yes, I live in Manila now. I’m in the U.S. for a couple of months promoting our projects as well as building partnerships with like-minded groups with a heart for what we’re doing.

I’m from the East Coast, Maryland primarily and lived a few years in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I went to college at the University of Maryland in College Park. I worked seven years in corporate America with Aldi Inc. first as a district manager across the East Coast (covering South Jersey to Philly to North Virginia) then as a director of purchasing in Chicago. I left when I no longer had passion for what I was doing.

I soon discovered social entrepreneurship, while pursuing my MBA at Melbourne Business School in Australia, and went on an exchange program in Manila’s Asian Institute of Management. After seeing poverty, as well as the tremendous potential of the people and NGOs doing work there, I started something to help empower our people.

I developed SocialProject.PH, a U.S.-registered platform for Philippine social enterprises and non-profit organizations to raise funds for compelling and relevant social projects that will help alleviate poverty in the Philippines as well as address other social and environmental challenges in this beautiful country of 7,107 islands.

We connect inspiring initiatives to advocates and partners in building communities.
 We are looking to engage overseas Filipinos, local Filipinos, and friends of the Philippines as supporters for our projects and partners. In this regard we have developed a strategic alliance with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas under the Office of the President for cross-promotions with our programs to engage the Filipino diaspora and those interested in the Philippines.

After graduation I moved back to Manila last July to pursue it full time. With one-third of Filipinos still mired in poverty and despite the positive economic progress of the Philippines, we felt more had to be done to make growth inclusive and felt at the base of the pyramid. Hence, we feature projects related to education, livelihood, environmental sustainability, as well as health-related initiatives in a fun, transparent, and engaging way via a donation & rewards-based crowdfunding platform.

Our five awesome pilot projects are:


“Hapinoy: Kayang-kayang kumita sa Hapinoy.” A financial literacy and skills training for 500 ‘sari-sari’ store Nanays in Bicol. The Hapinoy program has reduced ‘kupit’ and ‘pautang’ from stores, resulting in better business management.

“Bambowtie (Bambike company) and Gawad Kalinga (GK). Look cool, send kids to school!” Developing bamboo products with the GK Tarlac community which provide them livelihood and with a portion of the proceeds going towards an education fund for the children in Victoria, Tarlac.

“Stiftung Solar Energy Foundation: Solar power to the people.” Providing 600 solar beneficiaries with 90 solar lamps to support livelihood and education in the off-the-grid rural community in Apia, Antipolo.

“Gifts & Graces Foundation.” Design workshops and labs for social innovation. Bringing in top designers to train 30 co-op partners from across the Philippines on making higher value products for workshops in Manila.

“Ayala Foundation: Support the education of bright students.” Providing up to 10 grade school scholarships for underprivileged youth scholars in Tondo, Manila and Bauan, Batangas.



2 Comments

  1. [...] “Ayala Foundation: Support the education of bright students.” Providing up to 10 grade school scholarships for underprivileged youth scholars in Tondo, Manila and Bauan, Batangas. – The FilAm [...]

  2. Congratulations on a very worthwhile program. I’v associated with a nonprofit in the Washington,DC metro area and have been for 15 years. Looks like you’re off to a huge start. Don’t spread yourselves too thin with too many stokes in the fire. Work on one project and achieve success, then move on to the next. Creating a record of one or two in the beginning will open doors to other exciting prospects. There’s a lot to learn with the way things work in the Philippines…a bit different from the US and Australia.

    Best of luck to you and keep us posted in this amazing adventure!

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