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The power of giving

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By Benel P. Lagua

Most corporate social responsibility acts focus on the external community than on the firm itself. It is viewed as an act to do good for society. In many instances, however, CSR in fact feeds the giver or the firm itself especially if its employees are actively engaged. The power of giving is that it opens up the firm to benefits in consonance with the so-called prosperity laws of receiving.

“Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” Motivational speaker Les Brown said. For him, success is not a destination for solo travelers but a wonderful experience shared and will only be accomplished by helping others. Hence, to be truly happy, we need to understand and practice the value of giving. Would you believe that giving can endow you with power you never thought you possess?

In the book, “The Prosperity Laws of Receiving” by Catherine Ponder, she mentioned that the first step in receiving is giving. Your giving opens and frees the channel for receiving new things. She claims that the law of the universe is give and take. It’s like you can’t hold on to something new if your hands are still full. As you give consistently, you open the way to receive consistently.

Giving is not only limited to money or gifts but it can be of any form that takes sacrifice or effort from our part – our strength, our love, our time, our presence, our loving words most especially when it was needed the most. Sometimes even just a warm hug for someone grieving will mean more than enough. And saying, “I love you” to our dear ones is not costly but the most appreciated gift of all.

At the corporate level, giving through a well designed CSR program also empowers the organization as it embodies specific corporate values. The Development Bank of the Philippines recently analyzed the metrics of our CSR programs. And it brought a special sense of pride and satisfaction to management and staff such that even the Commission on Audit made it one of its positive audit observations. Through the  DBP Endowment for Education Program or DEEP, the bank has supported over 3,500 graduates, funded from a hefty R1 billion allocation over a ten year period. We have financed the schooling of promising high school students who come from poor families and their stories can be heart tugging.  We likewise helped them by bridging them to potential employers ensuring their employment after graduation.

For 2018 and onwards, we are launching DBP Resources for Inclusive and Sustainable Education (DBP RISE) which will allocate R500-million financial assistance offered to promising high school students from  indigent families. And we will focus on courses in engineering and sciences as this is our response to the “Build, Build, Build” program of this administration. This has been a tried and tested formula based on our DEEP graduates most of who took up courses in seafaring and marine technology as the DBP was then supporting the integrated connection of the islands. We are glad to say that most of them are employed right after graduation.

Our second commitment to the country is to secure its greenery through the DBP Forest program with 45 forest projects implemented all over the archipelago, amassing 5,700 hectares and populating more than 5 million trees.We aim to expand some more with the help of the LGUs, organizations or individuals who want to share the same advocacy. We acknowledge that the price we must pay for progress, industrialization and technology advancement is the destruction of our serene environment. To mitigate the harmful effect of urbanization, we need to re-orient ourselves and go back to the basics.

We also have pocket CSRs for  calamities and other emergencies, like our fund drive for Marawi.  The bank has  spearheaded donation drives and outreach programs for our affected brothers and sisters across the regions in response to dire circumstances.  In all of these, our people are actively engaged. And we believe our success in our basic operations is partly fueled by our willingness to give, and our opening of channels to receive.

Giving when translated to human quality is also called generosity. Derived from Hebrew word na•dhiv’it means “willing” or “noble.” And who else is the greatest personification of generosity but none other than our Great Providence who gave us everything we have – our skills, talents, knowledge, the world we live in, the air we breathe in and most importantly our very own life.

Who are we not to share what we have with others? Researchers claim that people who put themselves out for others derive health benefits. How wonderful it is to know that even if you don’t intend to be a recipient, in one way or the other a generous person still gain either the love of others or receiving generosity himself.

Now, you will agree that “what we sow we will reap.” If we sow generosity and kindness along the way, it will always find its way back to us. Don’t be selfish, practice giving.

(Benel D. Lagua is Executive Vice President at the Development Bank of the Philippines.  He is an active FINEX member and a long time advocate of risk-based lending for SMEs.  The views expressed herein are his own and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of his office as well as FINEX.)

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