The volunteerism spirit is very high among the diversified SM Group of Companies be it for church-based activities, BrigadaEskwela for school repairs, disaster relief and response and livelihood programs.
The volunteers do not use up company time and must do their volunteer work against their official leaves (sick and vacation) so as not to disrupt operations of their respective offices.
Some, if not all, donate their own resources during visits to the poor and sick, the elderly, the orphans, cancer-stricken children and other worthy causes.
And during volunteer work, everyone—the lowliest employee to the top manager (of up to the vice president level) is made to wear the same T-shirt or uniform and share the same packed meals (snacks, lunch and breakfast).
The natural result of such togetherness during a volunteer work is that the lowliest employee, who usually does not get a chance to talk to the ‘big bosses,’ establishes a rapport between employee & their peer group or manager and rapport is carried on even in the offices long after the activity is over, said Juris Umali, in charge of SM Foundation Inc. school building and repairs program and is on top of the collaboration of SM Group’s involvement in the annual BrigadaEskwela program of the Department of Education.
Needless to say, the SM Group’s volunteers (including those mobilized by the BDO Foundation) are also the first to respond to natural disasters and tragedies (like fires in blighted communities) to give relief goods and whatever else is needed by the occasion.
For education, the volunteers interview and personally visit the homes of potential scholars nationwide before a school-year begins. For the livelihood programs, particularly the rural and urban farming training modules, the employees help train the farmer-scholars understand what is taught them; till the soil with them and harvest the produce.
SM employees also donate blood for the blood banking of SM Group—which would be given first to employees and their dependents and occasionally to those outside the SM Group that are in dire need of blood.
In the SM Group, hope springs eternal.