[PARTNER] PIA: Going Strong at 29

Furious bidding from guests at PIA’s 2015 “Giving Hope to the Children II” event for the various generous Live Auction prize packages. This portion raised about $30,000 this year, including 121 new children’s educational pledges.  (Photo by Noel Ferrer)

Furious bidding from guests at PIA’s 2015 “Giving Hope to the Children II” event for the various generous Live Auction prize packages. This portion raised about $30,000 this year, including 121 new children’s educational pledges.  (Photo by Noel Ferrer)

It actually predates Hillary Clinton’s “It Takes a Village” idea by a decade, and Philippine International Aid’s Giving Hope to the Children II 2015 event was a rousing success in every way once again.

This was the 29th edition of PIA’s big fundraiser, held at the Hyatt Embarcadero Hotel in San Francisco on November 22, 2015. It’s an annual highlight of the SF Bay Area Filipino American community social calendar and has now become the largest annually recurring benefit in the U.S for poor Filipino children’s education.

The Holiday Bazaar area being set up before the crowds came in. (Photo by Noel Ferrer)

The Holiday Bazaar area being set up before the crowds came in. (Photo by Noel Ferrer)

New Fundraising Goals Met

In its first 28 years, PIA has raised and disbursed some $3,700,000 in scholarships and grants to some 43,000 children who have been given an education and saved from the streets. To that, add this year’s $182,000 (est.) net ($116,700 after expenses) raised on November 22, 2015.

The all-inclusive fashion show (with men’s and children’s wear) by Manila designer John Ablaza.  (Photo by Noel Ferrer)

The all-inclusive fashion show (with men’s and children’s wear) by Manila designer John Ablaza.  (Photo by Noel Ferrer)

About $30,000 came from the Live Auction portion. For the children’s education, 122 new sponsorships were pledged; there were 40 renewals, bringing in some $22,000. Hopefully, by the 30th edition next year, PIA can surpass the $4 million mark.

Perhaps the most collectible item of the event was a signed jersey from local team Golden State Warriors’ star, Stephen Curry. It went for $2,300. (As this story went to press, the NBA champion Warriors are on a record-breaking 23-0 winning streak.)

The one-of-a-kind, signed memento from local basketball legend Stephen Curry. Previously, a record had been set with a pair of signed boxing gloves from Manny Pacquiao for $5,000, two years ago.  (Photo by Noel Ferrer)

The one-of-a-kind, signed memento from local basketball legend Stephen Curry. Previously, a record had been set with a pair of signed boxing gloves from Manny Pacquiao for $5,000, two years ago.  (Photo by Noel Ferrer)

The fashion highlight of this year’s dinner was the collection of John Ablaza from Manila, who had a sustainable-materials theme for his show, which featured a men’s and children’s line of wear, as well.

Fil-American Kids, Now Recipients as Well

Of course, PIA not only sponsors younger children in the Philippines, but it also awards scholarships to Filipino American youth as they enter college. They must be at least a quarter Filipino; have at least a 2.75 GPA; with a family income of no more than $77,700 and rendered volunteer service to the local Fil-Am community.

Young child sponsors DJ Maceda and Matthew Lim (2nd and 3rd from left), shared their experiences and gratitude with the audience. Hosts Keesa Ocampo, left, and Lloyd LaCuesta, right, flank the boys. (Photo by Noel Ferrer)

Young child sponsors DJ Maceda and Matthew Lim (2nd and 3rd from left), shared their experiences and gratitude with the audience. Hosts Keesa Ocampo, left, and Lloyd LaCuesta, right, flank the boys. (Photo by Noel Ferrer)

Featured 2015 fashion designer John Ablaza taking his bows. (Photo by Noel Ferrer)

Featured 2015 fashion designer John Ablaza taking his bows. (Photo by Noel Ferrer)

This year, PIA partners with Wells Fargo and PG&E for the PIA U.S. Scholarship Fund. There were six 2015 Fil-Am scholarship recipients, and two of the youths spoke of their personal experiences at the event.

But it does take more than a village to produce the big, charitable event—the highlight of the Fil-American social scene of the San Francisco Bay Area. To draw the over 700 charitable attendees, the event uses over 70 volunteers to run the actual event, involves four major sponsors and some two-dozen donors of various goodies for the Silent Auction. It requires three or four trips a year back to Manila by organizer (and Positively Filipino publisher) Mona Lisa Yuchengco from her San Francisco base, and probably over 2,000 donated man-hours to put the whole event together.

The “Giving Hope to the Children II” event is just one of the fund-raising efforts of PIA.

On June 26, 2016, there will also be the Send Kids to School Golf Tournament II slated for the Chardonnay Golf Club, Napa. Contact your PIA person for more details.

Next year will be the big one – 30 years of raising funds for the children. So mark your calendars and your wallets for November 20, 2016! 


Myles Garcia is a retired San Francisco Bay Area-based writer. Myles just won a 2015 Plaridel Award (Best Sports Story) for “Before Elorde, Before Pacquiao, There Was Luis Logan,” here on Positively Filipino (November 17, 2014).  He is also a member of the ISOH (International Society of Olympic Historians) and has written for the ISOH Journal.  There are a book about the mess the Marcoses left behind in "30 Years Later..." and a play, "Murder á la Mode," nearing completion.


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