A prelude to a better tomorrow

Access to education and support has long been recognized globally as one of the keys to ending the cycle of poverty. The resources, experiences, and skills gained in schools enable students, especially those in low-income households, to explore possibilities, dream, and build successful lives for themselves and those around them.

The SM Foundation Inc. (SMFI) scholarship program was built in 1993 on this staunch belief in the power of education in ending the intergenerational cycle of poverty. About 30 years since then, the program successfully helped over 8,000 students receive a quality education which, in turn, provides a better future for their families.


Abilo is among the 8,000 scholar-graduates of SM Foundation Inc. (SMFI), who was able to uplift their families from poverty through quality education.

Looking back

Seeing the lives changed through the scholarship initiative, SMFI continues to strive and grant scholarships as it gives deserving students a chance to rise out of poverty and uplift their families.

Many of the 8,000 graduates are now changemakers in their chosen fields of work. One of them is Rey Abilo, now a vice president for finance, treasurer, and chief financial officer of a well-known multinational oil and gas company.

Abilo belonged to a humble family. However, the combined earnings of her mother from their sari-sari store and his father from his job as a helper in a hardware store wouldn’t be enough to put him and his three siblings through college.

Aware of the financial constraints of their family, he had already planned on getting a scholarship since high school. And by chance, he saw SM Foundation’s call-for-application poster, went through the application process, and got in.

Through his SM scholarship, Abilo earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Accountancy and graduated cum laude in 2004. He pursued his dream of giving his family a more comfortable life after passing the CPA Licensure examination.

For him, his experience as an SM scholar is indeed one for the books. He reflected as he recalled working as a part-time employee of SM during his semestral break: “The scholarship program of SM goes beyond academics because we get to see all the scholars every now and then, and they do sports fests, retreats, and other social activities. This is nice because it doesn’t only make you study hard, but it also makes you a better person,”

His advice for the youth who are struggling in finishing their studies because of economic challenges “For each opportunity that is given to you, persevere. Don’t lose that ambition, don’t lose that dream. And, of course, along the way, make sure that your values are intact” Abilo capped.

SM scholar alumni Rey Abilo, now a vice president for finance, treasurer, and chief financial officer of a multinational oil and gas company, looks back on how his scholarship empowered him to achieve his dream life.

Moving onward

As the graduates of the school year 2021-2022 embark on a new journey, SMFI will honor over 300 scholar-graduates for their determination, resilience, and hard work amidst the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

Of the 300, 146 will cap their academic journeys with honors: 24 with academic distinction, six summa cum laude, 41 magna cum laude, and 75 cum laude graduates.

Over 300 SM scholar-graduates of batch 2022, along with SMFI officials and SM scholar alumni, will come together on Oct. 22 to share stories of hope, resilience, and success as they embark on a new journey beyond school.

To aptly celebrate their successes and motivate them as they face a brighter tomorrow, scholar-graduates, along with officials of SMFI and SM scholar alumni, will come together at SM Foundation’s Rise to Greatness, the presentation of the SM College Scholar Graduates, on October 22, 2:00 pm-4:00 pm, via Facebook live.

For more information about SMFI’s education initiatives and other programs, visit www.sm-foundation.org or follow its social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube): @SMFoundationInc