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Beyond Checkbook Philanthropy – The Citi Volunteers Way


unnamed-1For four years now, we at Bayan Academy have welcomed Citi volunteers year-round to serve as trainers and mentors to high potential microentrepreneurs in the Philippines.


This year, as Citi marks 10 years of its Global Community Day, our doors continue to be wide open to the increasing number of Citi volunteer-business mentors who never fail to give their all when coaching our “student” microentrepreneurs.


Our partnership with Citi Philippines began in 2011 when Citi Foundation agreed to pilot our proposal to address the knowledge and skills gap faced by low-income microentrepreneurs who wished to scale up.


We established the Citi Microenterprise Development Center (CDMC) and through a Grassroots Entrepreneurship and Management program, we began providing quality and intensive enterprise development training programs in Metro Manila.


We also knew that our students would need more than formal training so we introduced Small Business Advisory and Coaching Services to mentor our microentrepreneurs as they sought to build bigger and better businesses.


What we didn’t know, however, was just how much support Citi Philippines would provide. We quickly learned that the bank was so much more than checkbook philanthropy. It has and continues to be committed to tapping its people as agents for positive change.


Throughout these years and across our various initiatives, Citi volunteers have guided our microentrepreneurs by providing their expertise on a range of relevant business topics – finance, marketing, operations, law, and leadership, amongst many others.


We at Bayan Academy have been privileged spectators, seeing for ourselves the efforts put in by Citi volunteers to really make an impact in the lives of our beneficiaries.


Our students share the same experience: they continue to be amazed at the deep involvement of Citi volunteers from CCO visits to roundtable discussions and having Legal officers orient them on the laws governing their businesses.


This Global Community Day, aside from classroom mentoring, Citi volunteers will be going one step further. They will be visiting the business premises and employees of our microentrepreneurs, providing them with deeper insight on what they can improve and further develop.


These sessions will further continue post-Global Community Day so that Citi volunteers can monitor the actual implementation of their suggestions and recalibrate if and when necessary.


The entire Bayan Academy community is glad to see Citi volunteers actively engaged; their generosity has become a powerful tool to capacitate the microentrepreneurs towards continuous growth.


The contributions of Citi Foundation, Citi Philippines and the Citi volunteers is more than corporate social responsibility; it is in fact impact investing that has created a model of microenterprise development here in the Philippines.


To date, with support from Citi, Bayan Academy has nurtured almost 2,000 micro business owners keen to take that next big step. Our programs have also gone beyond Metro Manila, to include Visayas and Mindanao.


I look forward to yet another successful Global Community Day with Citi Philippines and to the further development of our strong partnership.