Filipinas Teresita Sy-Coson, Rina Lopez Bautista named Forbes Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy

Teresita Sy-Coson Forbes Asia's Heroes of Philanthropy
SM Investments Corporation vice-chairman Teresita Sy-Coson (left) and Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc. (KCFI) founder and president Rina Lopez Bautista (right) join the 2021 Heroes of Philanthropy in Asia. Photos from Forbes Asia.

Filipina leaders Teresita Sy-Coson and Rina Lopez Bautista have been named among Forbes Asia’s annual Heroes of Philanthropy for their contributions to worthwhile causes such as education and COVID-19 pandemic relief in the Philippines.

SM Investments Corporation vice-chairman Teresita Sy-Coson and Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc. (KCFI) founder Rina Lopez Bautista were picked by the prestigious magazine to join its year-end roster of do-gooders from the Asia-Pacific region.

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Sy-Coson and Lopez Bautista, two of the Philippines’ most prominent women leaders of philanthropic foundations, join 13 other altruists in the list who have donated significant amounts from their personal fortunes to fund their chosen charities and causes.

The unranked list, which honors entrepreneurs and business tycoons with a special focus on individual philanthropists, was published in the December 2021 issue of Forbes Asia.

Teresita Sy-Coson
Vice chairman, SM Investments Corp.

The 71-year-old Sy-Coson is co-chairman of SM Investments, one of the Philippines’ largest conglomerates started by her late father Henry Sy. She is the eldest child and first daughter of the group’s founder.

Through SM Foundation, Sy-Coson’s SM Group was lauded for donating over $30 million in vaccines, hospital equipment, and protective gear for healthcare workers.

“As soon as Covid-19 vaccines became available this year, SM Group acquired 560,000 doses to inoculate the group’s more than 120,000 employees. SM also donated 150,000 doses to the government and marginalized communities,” Forbes wrote.

The SM Foundation was also recognized for supporting the treatment of the sick and making education accessible to more Filipinos.

“Over the past three decades, SM Foundation has supported the treatment of 1.2 million underprivileged patients, helped over 8,000 students attend college and technical-vocational institutions and funded the building of over 100 schools across the country. The Philippines’ richest family also established the Henry Sy Foundation in 2008 to build school facilities for major educational institutions,” the magazine added.

Hans Sy, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Director of SM Prime Philippines, was honored among Forbes Asia’s 2019 Heroes of Philanthropy for his work with cancer-stricken children.

Rina Lopez Bautista
Founder and president, Knowledge Channel Foundation

Daughter of Filipino tycoon Oscar Lopez, the 61-year-old Lopez Bautista is the founder of edtech nonprofit Knowledge Channel Foundation, Inc. (KCFI) which is dedicated to uplifting the lives of Filipino students through media and technology.

Lopez Bautista’s Knowledge Channel launched a “School At Home” (SAH) campaign as the Philippine educational system transitioned to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The channel has brought educational videos that are aligned to the Most Essential Learning Competencies set by the Department of education to free-to-air television.

Funded by Lopez group companies and others, KCFI’s SAH campaign for students has produced over 1,500 educational videos. At present, KCFI has over 150,000 followers on Facebook and more than 200,000 subscribers on YouTube.

“In September, KFCI partnered with theAsianparent Philippines app, reaching a further 500,000 users. KFCI estimates it is now reaching over 10 million Filipino households. Over 7,000 Filipina principals, teachers and parents have also attended KFCI’s webinars and online training programs on Facebook, the company says,” Forbes wrote.

Previous Filipino honorees in Forbes Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy list include Filipina actor Angel Locsin, Jose Mari “Butch” T. Albert, Alice Galang Eduardo, and Susana Abad Santos Madrigal.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Filipinas Teresita Sy-Coson and Rina Lopez Bautista for being named among Forbes Asia’s annual Heroes of Philanthropy for their contributions to worthwhile causes such as education and COVID-19 pandemic relief in the Philippines.

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.