Through the years, poverty has been the most significant challenge the Philippines and its citizens faced. Due to various socio-economic hurdles and difficult situations, more and more Filipinos fell into extreme poverty.
Given the links between educational attainment, an individual’s future employment, and subsequent wage prospects—the path to inclusive growth necessarily includes investment in human capital: the country’s young people. A better-educated workforce offers a significant boost to a country. Thus, the youth is one of the major drivers of a country’s economy.
The late founder of the SM group, Henry “Tatang” Sy, decided to establish SM Foundation (SMFI) in order to invest in the country’s youth, thereby creating a greater impact in the communities the company found itself in. He believed that by providing the youth with access to quality tertiary and vocational education, they will be able to uplift the economic status of their families.
This idea brought to life the SM College and Technical-Vocational (Tech-Voc) Scholarship Program. Through this CSR program, SMFI contributes to eradicating intergenerational cycle poverty by giving scholarship grants to poor but deserving students.
These SM college scholarships cover the following field of studies: Computer Science, Information Technology, Engineering (Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Computer, and Electronics), Education (Elementary and Secondary); Accountancy, and Financial Management. On the other hand, the tech-voc scholarship covers the following areas of specialization: Food and Beverage, Automobile Mechanic, Fitter Machinist, Electro-Mechanical Technician, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning, Small Arc Welding and Electromechanics. SM Foundation has also partnered with around 170 tech-voc schools, colleges, and universities nationwide.
Annually, thousands of aspiring scholars apply to the scholarship program. Applicants go through a rigorous selection process that includes the validation of their personal and academic documents, an online exam, one on one interviews, and on-site house visits among other things.
Not only does the program provide the tuition of each SM Scholar, it also gives each SM Scholar a monthly allowance, job opportunities during the semestral breaks, and exclusive job offers with the SM Group upon graduation. Furthermore, SM Scholars are also provided regular enrichment and training activities to further boost their intellectual, emotional, and social skills.
To date, the program has produced more than 5,000 college and tech-voc scholar-graduates since its establishment in 1993. Due to its unwavering effort to spread social good, SM Foundation was awarded the Gold award for “Excellence in Provision for Literacy and Education” for its SM Scholarship Program during the 12th Global CSR Awards.
The Global CSR Awards is a prestigious recognition program in Asia for Corporate Social Responsibility that intends to recognize and honor companies for their outstanding and innovative projects and programs that demonstrate their commitment to sustainable development and have made a positive impact on the lives and communities in areas where they operate.