The Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF) recently kicked off its 30th anniversary celebration, highlighting its thrust of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in the Philippines, believing that this is the way to build the future.
“With our common goal of making lives better, GBF creates meaningful breakthroughs in the field of education,” said Lance Gokongwei, GBF chairman, and head of the Gokongwei Group.
The Gokongwei family believes STEM education is a driving force in sustainable national development, the stepping stone to success for many Filipinos, and the path to industrialization for the country as a whole.
With its long-standing commitment to support the growth of STEM learners, GBF offers different scholarship programs for high school, technical-vocational (tech-voc), and college students.
To date, GBF is the largest private sector provider of STEM scholarships in the country. So far, it’s supported a total of 1,841 STEM scholars—1,116 of whom have already graduated.
Among these programs is the STEM Scholarship for Excellence, given to underprivileged and deserving STEM college students from centers of excellence. 82% of graduates go on to work at Gokongwei Group companies. In partnership with the Gokongwei Group’s business units, scholars are provided with employment opportunities after graduation.
The Next Gen Scholarship for Excellence extends support for college education of children or siblings of Gokongwei Group employees.
Meanwhile, Iskolar ni Juan, housed at GBF’s Technical Training Center in Laguna, is a one-year tech-voc training for disadvantaged SHS graduates. Iskolar ni Juan beneficiaries are offered employment at Universal Robina Corporation after the program.
Jhia Valencia, a breadwinner who lost her father at a young age, was supposed to stop at Grade 8 until GBF took her in on the Iskolar ni Juan program. Now, she is one of the 88% graduates employed by URC.
“Dahil po sa employment opportunity ng Iskolar ni Juan, nagkaroon po ako agad ng trabaho. Inisip ko na ang layo ko na pala sa dating ako. Unti-unti kong natupad ‘yong pangarap ko para sa pamilya ko pati pangarap ko na rin para sa sarili ko. Kung uunlad sila, uunlad din ako,” shares Valencia.
Elevating STEM Teachers
GBF believes the future of STEM education will be driven by the quality of STEM teachers. Thus, the foundation is now prioritizing elevating the quality of teachers through professional development.
The TeachSTEM scholarship is open to in-service and aspiring STEM educators completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Science or Math Education. GBF continues to aggressively push its teacher scholarship program as it believes educators have a multiplier effect that translates to a larger impact on more learners.
Coleen Kaye Moscaya, a GBF TeachSTEM Scholar, is now able to achieve her childhood dreams as an Iloilo Community volunteer teacher.
“My decision of becoming a teacher was influenced by my mother. Bata pa lang ako, dinadala na niya ako sa different communities. Seeing the children and then their hunger and thirst for knowledge, for attention and for love, these helped me developed into a teacher who wants to change lives—a teacher who wants to see my students being successful someday,” says Moscaya.
GBF participates in building educator communities for continuous development. Earlier this year, GBF launched STEM Collab, a teachers’ capacity building program using peer learning. Over the last several years, GBF has also been extending support to UP NISMED’s KaScience at KaMath or KaSaMa community to provide quality webinars and resources to more than 5,000 teachers.
In 2021, GBF collaborated with IDEO, a global design thinking consultancy firm to help design a flagship program that will help improve the quality of STEM teachers in a scalable and sustainable way. The program engaged 130 global experts in education, including local teachers, students, universities, and government agencies. GBF is currently developing a learning app for educators to provide just-in-time resources and coaching to improve their subject mastery and teaching strategies.
Supporting Centers of Excellence
In its goal to extend comprehensive aid to the education sector, GBF has partnered with academic institutions to build quality learning facilities and to foster quality education among scholars and educators.
GBF has donated to 25 schools, including two of the country’s top universities – Ateneo de Manila University, which established the John Gokongwei School of Management in 2002 and De La Salle University, which founded the Gokongwei College of Engineering in 2011.
In 2021, GBF partnered once again with Ateneo for an endowment made to the Gokongwei Brothers School of Education and Learning Design (GBSEALD), which seeks to improve the country’s educational policy and practice through its programs.
Helping Learners through Community Collaboration
Earlier this year, the foundation expanded its initiatives to improve the education landscape by building local communities through multi-sectoral collaboration. GBF worked with JG Summit Olefins Corporation, AHA learning Center, Huawei, and Batangas City LGU, to launch Juan Kapatid Batangas, a remediation program in reading and math conducted in Simlong Elementary School. Participating learners showed improvement in their numeracy and literacy skills as they gained confidence in their learning.
Reaching more STEM educators and learners
Now on its 30th year, GBF renews its commitment to contribute to the country’s progress by providing quality education to the STEM workforce. By 2025, GBF aims to assist one million learners and 10,000 educators, an ambition that will improve the lives of its beneficiaries, communities, and the nation as a whole.
“Much has been achieved but much work remains, as challenges in education abound, especially post pandemic,” shares Lisa Gokongwei at the GBF 30th Anniversary Kick-Off and the Joint Gokongwei Group Master Brand Launch.
“As the founder generation has built—against all odds—a leading business in the nation, we hope we can play our part in educating a generation of Filipinos ready to take on the challenges of a new world,” she adds.
About Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF)
In 1992, the Gokongwei brothers John, Johnson, Henry, and James donated significant portions of their shares of stock in JG Summit Holdings to establish the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF). The foundation aims to have a lasting impact on education in the country. The mission of GBF is to build the future through education. We believe that quality education is the foundation in establishing a strong Philippine economy. We contribute to the country’s progress by providing quality education to its future workforce, particularly in the fields of Science and Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
In 2022, GBF celebrates its 30th year in the quest to build a future through STEM education. With renewed commitment, GBF continues to equip the STEM workforce with quality education so, they become digitally adept workers, critical thinkers, and innovative problem-solvers who can contribute to the growth of our country. GBF’s goal is to take part in the learning journey of 10,000 educators and 1,000,000 learners by 2025.