Three straight weekends. An impending typhoon. Fourteen exciting activities. More than 2,400 Citi employees.
Nothing could stop Citibank Philippines from celebrating the 5th Citi Global Community Day this year. Family members and friends came with Citi employees to do their share for the environment, repaint homes and schools, bring cheer to underprivileged children, and help conduct feeding programs.
Starting with its participation in A Run for Pasig River marathon on October 10, Citibank Philippines went on to facilitate a reading program with Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation at a Makati City public school and repainting of schools in support of the nationwide Brigada Eskwela on October 16, before repainting homes and helping build a farm in Tanay, Rizal with Gawad Kalinga, on October 23.
Run, Read, and Rebuild
Led by Country Head and Citi Country Officer for the Philippines Sanjiv Vohra, over 300 Citi volunteers sporting “Powered by Citi” singlets joined the run together with hundreds of thousands of Filipinos to Save the Pasig River last October 10. The run helped raise funds for the clean-up of one of Manila’s most polluted rivers.
Meantime, despite the threat of a super typhoon last October 16, F. Benitez Elementary School in Makati City was filled with more than 400 Citi volunteers who spent time reading with at least 400 students. Organized in partnership with Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation (SAS), one of the long-term community partners of Citi Philippines, the activity was designed to promote the love of reading in Filipino children.
On the same weekend, at Upper Bicutan Elementary School in Taguig City, 50 Citi volunteers armed themselves with buckets of paints, brushes, paint rollers and enthusiasm and gave new life to nine classrooms.
And on October 23, the red-letter day for Citi volunteers around the world, Citibank Philippines volunteers plus their friends and families repainted homes at the Gawad Kalinga Ave Maria Village in Tanay, Rizal. For this BayanAnihan farming community program, bamboo fences were erected, a compost shed was constructed, soil was tilled, and flowers and vegetables were planted — all at a record time of 1 hour and 13 minutes! Citi bested close to a dozen corporations who have attempted to build a similar farm in an average of 3.5 hours.
But Citi’s community building efforts do not end here. More volunteers are expected to participate in activities involving communities in Batangas, Cebu, Dagupan, Manila, and Pampanga this November.
A Strong Commitment, Valuable Partnerships
“Many Citi employees volunteer year-round and Global Community Day has become a strong tradition in the bank to celebrate what we do to make a difference in our communities every day,” relates Vohra.
On Global Community Day, Citi employees, along with families and friends, come together as a global volunteer team working in North America, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. “We’re engaging in a variety of projects addressing specific community needs including literacy, housing, environmental protection, nutrition, and health care,” adds Vohra.
“It’s our 5th run and I continue to be amazed by the fact that all over the globe, in more than 75 countries, in more than 460 cities, there are more than 45,000 Citi volunteers who are helping our communities, making things better, giving our time, and giving of ourselves,” explains Vohra.
Citi’s valuable contribution does not go unnoticed. According to Mike Dimagiba, Executive Director of Gawad Kalinga BayanAnihan: “We're glad that we found the perfect partnership with Citi, as they help us empower communities to eradicate hunger.”
BACK TO LIFE. Ravaged by typhoon Ondoy last year, Gawad Kalinga homes in Ave Maria Village, Tanay, Rizal, get a handsome makeover as Citi volunteers work together to clean, repair, and repaint the exteriors.
Dimagiba credits Citi’s effective teamwork in successfully gathering its employees from different departments to participate in community building activities, and accomplish these challenging tasks.
In the same way, Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation underscores the importance of partners like Citi who support its dream of building a nation of readers. According to Lizzie E. Zobel, SAS Vice-President and Treasurer, and Christine Araneta-Ferreira, SAS Executive Director, “The smiling faces of the children and the laughter confirm the positive effect of Citibank’s Global Community Day.”
“On this annual occasion where we all come together for the less fortunate, I am humbled to see bankers become teachers, farmers, painters – all in an effort to make a difference,” concludes Vohra.