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If each of us takes part in caring and sharing, the overwhelming challenge of poverty can be addressed. Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.

LBC and GK: When Two Institutions Become Friends

[Date Created: August 13, 2013]

by Claire Ericta & Gia Luga

Sometimes, all it takes for strangers to become friends is a common desire to care for the least.

Like many, the LBC-GK partnership came to be in the most common and traditional of manners in GK’s 10-year history: with a referral and an interest to volunteer. Monica Araneta (President of LBC Foundation) wanted to try a GK house build and was looped in by a friend who was then volunteering with GK’s football program. Monica’s initial interest led to an organized LBC volunteer activity, and a year and a half later, this interest has blossomed into a genuine friendship between LBC and GK, two institutions aspiring to build a better Philippines.

LBC Foundation (LBCF) is the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of LBC Express, the leading express courier and remittance service in the country. Founded in 2001, it aims to make significant contributions to nation-building in the areas of education, environmental rehabilitation and protection, health, community development and disaster preparedness and relief.

>> Learn more about LBC Foundation

>> Learn more about LBC Express

Discovering and pursuing mutual interests

Widespread volunteerism among LBC employees nationwide

From the very start, Monica Araneta and Nena Wurthrich (Development Head of LBCF) have been deliberate about providing as many employees with opportunities to develop and embrace a social consciousness. More importantly, they have been deliberate about signaling to the whole LBC family how serious they were in pursuing their nation-building agenda. In September 2011, LBCF piloted a host of volunteer activities running simultaneously in not just 1 but 5 different provinces: Isabela, Manila, Batangas, Cebu and Butuan.

In the GK Field of Dreams in Manila, LBC’s Senior Management was well-represented,

complementing an extremely high volunteer turnout of around 60 Manila-based employees.

LBC Local Business Unit team leaders worked with GK counterparts, and most of those that joined were first-timers who appreciated GK beyond a housing program and whose eyes were opened to the little acts of caring they can do for the less privileged. In the end, it became a bonding activity for the teams in as much as it served the GK communities.  

According to Nena Wuthrich, “The feedback has been tremendous. We always ask them to fill-up a feedback sheet… Is it something that they want to do [again]? How can we improve? Sobrang naiiyak ako kasi (I really want to cry because) you know how uplifting it makes them feel. And then they inspire all the others too, especially when they share their stories…now everybody wants to join and try.”

Team LBC and the KAYA Futbol Club build homes and play football with the kids in Trece Martires, Cavite

And everybody it is. Just recently, KAYA Futbol Club (the football team sponsored by LBC) and Team LBC spent an entire day in GK Trece Martires, Cavite to build homes and play football with kids from nearby GK communities. Everyone had such a good time that by the end of the day, promises to be back had already been made.

>> Read more in "KAYA FC Football Fun with the GK Kids"

Growing in mission

From delivering relief for typhoon victims to building new communities

In LBC’s 60 years of existence, they have done one thing best: bridging people and communities. Their core business allows people to send and receive love in the form of letters, balikbayan boxes and money remittances, and it is with the same that LBC has proven itself to be a strategic and instrumental ally of GK, most especially in the critical times of Operation Walang Iwanan.


"Ang hari ng padala, may padalang Kalinga."  After delivering relief goods for Typhoon Sendong victims
LBC representatives visit the Bayanihan sa Iligan Village.

During the Typhoon Sendong and Pablo relief operations, LBC took care of transporting to CDO, Iligan and Davao Oriental the clothes, medicine and other relief items dropped off by donors in Gawad Kalinga’s Manila Headquarters. More than that, LBC representatives from Manila, CDO and Iligan actually made it to the Bayanihan sa Iligan Village to help paint homes last January 2013. Not only did they get to interact with those who received the relief items, but LBC’s presence also showed the typhoon victims that they truly care. As LBC now says, “Ang hari ng padala, may padalang Kalinga.”  When organizations built to raise profits begin to make sacrifices this way, something must be in the right.

Before and After GK Baluarte (Quezon City):
From 7 years of waiting, 27 families now look forward to a bright future full of hope

Today, LBC finds itself no longer just bridging but also building communities from ground zero. In GK Baluarte, Quezon City, 27 families have reclaimed hope after 7 years of waiting. The long wait may have stretched the community’s patience, but this is the part where we say it was worth it. LBC stepped into the picture and poured in as much heart as they have resources, regularly visiting and celebrating birthday and Christmas parties with the communities. The LBC employees initiate and plan the activities themselves, and this personal involvement is something that they constantly give without expecting anything in return. As Boy Montelibano, a GK advocate, put so well, “They are not building just with their money, but with their hearts. Partners ARE GK, no less.”

LBC has poured in as much heart as they have resources to GK Baluarte in Quezon City,
with self-initiated activities and regular community visits


Taking on challenges side-by-side

37 Bayani Challenge sites and 2 new villages for 60 more families

Last March, LBC was in bayanihan with the rest of the Philippines during the Bayani Challenge 2013: Isang Bayan, Isang Bayanihan, held in 37 locations nationwide. LBC was a Major Sponsor and was present in ten sites – building homes, planting trees and mangroves, spending time with children and conducting coastal clean-ups. The idea was to inspire heroes out of seemingly ordinary citizens and endorse solidarity as the only real solution to the country’s poverty crisis. As next year’s Bayani Challenge yet again dares the impossible (300 sites), it would be an honor to have LBC’s army of 6,000 employees nationwide with us as we scale up and impact more lives.

>> Find out what happened during the Bayani Challenge

Team LBC joins 80,000 volunteers in 37 sites as a Major Sponsor this year's Bayani Challenge

In this mutual quest of nation-building, challenges along the way are inevitable. And as the LBC-GK friendship deepens, so has the demand for greater commitment and more active involvement. When we opened this year’s Bayani Challenge, two new LBC-GK Villages (one in San Remigio, Cebu and another in Cateel, Davao Oriental) also broke ground. Not only will this give decent, clean and safe communities for at least 60 more poor families, but it will allow LBC to share the GK Way further and spread the culture of caring and sharing throughout the entire organization. With these communities, VisMin-based LBC employees can give their time and pour out their hearts in the same way that NCR-based employees continue to give their hearts to GK Baluarte.

In good times, in bad and onto 2024
“We are in it for the long run.”

When LBC Express Inc. President Fernando Araneta and Gawad Kalinga Executive Director Luis Oquiñena formalized the agreement for the two villages in early March, both parties knew it would not be the last. As early as now, talks about an HR recruitment plan that provides the poor with real chances for employment have already begun.

During the MOA signing, Fernando Araneta said, “We are a big business, but we also have a big heart for our fellow Filipinos. This partnership agreement is not just about looking good for the company but doing good work for the sake of the nation and we are in it for the long run.”

LBC formalizes its continued support for GK with a MOA signing for 2 new villages benefiting 60 more families (L-R in bottom right photo: GK ED Luis Oquiñena, GK Partnerships Manager Claire Ericta, LBCF Head Nena Wuthrich and LBC Express President Fernando G. Araneta)

The future holds many things to look forward to. As GK Executive Director Luis Oquiñena says, “We are very excited about this partnership, because LBC is engaging the heart and spirit of GK. They really make time to understand what this is all about. LBC is starting to build a culture of caring and sharing and it’s no longer just a CSR project.”

This is no longer just about a common desire to care for the least. What started out as corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities wherein LBC and GK discovered and pursued mutual interests is now a deepening friendship – one that has allowed LBC and GK to grow in the mission and take on challenges side-by-side, with individual employees investing their personal time and striving to live out the GK Way. And true to the spirit of “Walang Iwanan,” friends won’t leave you behind, in good times, in bad and onto 2024. Friends are in it for the long run – the full marathon. Or as they say in football, the whole nine yards.

After all, when two institutions become friends, the relationship is not time-bound and the possibilities become endless.


Gawad Kalinga is not a charity, rather, it's an organization that aims to end poverty by building empowered and productive communities. This would not be possible without the partners who have journeyed with us in changing the lives of others. Like LBC Foundation and LBC Express, you too can be a hero to the poorest of the poor and partner with us in making sure that no one is left behind. Walang Iwanan!

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