In the Philippine public school system, only elementary and high school education is free. For every 100 students who enter grade one in public schools, only about 40% finish high school, about 20% reach college and only 13% eventually graduate. This is why Henry Sy, Sr. established the SM College Scholarship Program in 1993. Since then, the Foundation has branched out to offer Technical-Vocational Education scholarships and started the SM School Building Program.
SM College Scholarship Program
The SM College Scholarship Program started with Sy's vision: to send one child from a less fortunate family to college so that the scholar could qualify for a better paying job and afford to send a sibling to school upon graduation. By repeating the cycle, the family is hoped to overcome poverty.
Starting with 100 scholars in 1993, the Scholarship Program has produced over 1,900 graduates, now employed in their chosen fields. More than 1,300 scholars are currently enrolled in the Foundation's 82 partner colleges and universities, nationwide.
The scholarship program offers degrees in computer science, information technology, information management, computer engineering, electronics and communications engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, elementary and secondary education, accountancy, and pharmacy.
Scholars are entitled to full matriculation fees and monthly allowance. They are also given a chance to experience summer/Christmas break jobs at SM Malls and, after their graduation, will be offered exclusive job opportunities by the SM Group.
Aside from college scholarships, SM also provides scholarships through the SM Foundation's Technical-Vocational Education Program in
partnership with Punlaan School and Don Bosco Makati Technical Institute.
In 2013, 408 out-of-school youth have already graduated from this program.
SM School Building Program
As the Foundation watched its scholars grow and secure a better life for them and their families, it decided to push further its education advocacy by donating and renovating public school buildings in communities where these are needed the most.
To support this, SM Foundation started its School Building Program in 2002. By 2013, the Foundation has already constructed and donated 56 school buildings with 140 classrooms in communities nationwide.
The school buildings donated under the program are two-storey, four-classroom buildings which are fully furnished.
The Foundation also handles the regular maintenance of the buildings.
Through its years of service, the Foundation has partnered with various companies and organizations to intensify its school building program. They are SM Prime Holdings, Deutsche Bank, BDO Foundation, GfK Consulting, Monolith Construction and Development Corporation and individual donor Mr. Stephen CuUnjieng.