Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Feeding minds and souls

The Baldrige Criteria for Business Excellence are built on a set of interrelated core values and concept. One of which is social responsibility.

It states, "Practicing good citizenship refers to leadership and support—within the limits of the organization's resources—of publicly important purposes. Such purposes might include improving education and health care in your community, pursuing environmental excellence, practicing resource conservation, performing community service, improving industry and business practices, and sharing nonproprietary information. Leadership as a corporate citizen also entails influencing other organizations, private and public, to partner for these purposes."

Long before the Baldrige Criteria was even established, the Lopez group of companies has already gotten on their version of corporate social responsibility.

According to Rosan Cruz of Benpres Holdings, "The Lopez Memorial Museum was founded on 13 Feb 1960 by business tycoon Eugenio "Eñing" Lopez, Sr. He built the museum in order to provide scholars and students access to his personal collection of rare Filipiniana books, manuscripts, maps, archeological artifacts and fine arts, particularly his collection of Luna and Hidalgo.

"Up to this day, the museum carries on Eñing's mission to promote arts and letters, Philippine heritage by opening up its collections to the public. It hopes in the process to instill a sharp sense of inquiry, and personal and collective stewardship that leads to engaged responses to past and present Philippine social contexts. In the pursuit of cultural excellence rooted in informed citizenship, this museum continues to seek Filipino intellectual expertise contributing to the critical analysis and reception of Philippine history and contemporary culture.

"Curatorial consulant Rileen Legaspi-Ramirez says that the challenge has always been to bring in what is today with what is in the past. The museum is still very much into heritage conservation and the challenge is getting younger audiences to look at pieces that have been in the museum since the 1960s.

"Thus, for its current exhibits, the Lopez Museum presents its invaluable collection (both library and art) in a new light in an exhibit called "Cut and Paste" and "Dime a Dozen" . Both exhibits hypothesize on how rarities propped up as fine and precious, easily slip into the domain of pop.

"Cut and Paste showcases the library collection of advertisements from the 1800s to the present. "Dime a Dozen" worked with three contemporary artists – Alwin Reamillo, Gerardo Tan and (video artist) Tad Ermitaño– to look into the notions of replication and reproduction of the 19th century masters into the 21st century. To showcase treasure trove of modern art (20th century) and Rizal collections, the film of Nick de Ocampo ("Edades", 2002) goes back to the post war debate between Edades and Tolentino regarding modern art. And Mike de Leon's film (Bayaning Third World) is surrounded by computers dedicated to Frenster account of Jose Rizal and Rizaliana items from the museum collection to depict the various incarnations of Rizal as hero in popular consciousness.

"Both exhibits will run until September 22, 2007. The Lopez Museum is at the ground floor, Benpres Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Avenue, Pasig and is open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., except Sundays and holidays."

I like the fact that this museum is open on Saturdays when parents and children could get together and do their bonding in a cultural way.

For companies planning on their own CSR project, let us remember that CSR doesn't simply mean doling out grocery items or doing one-day medical missions. It entails a continuing service and interaction with the community where you operate. You need not be a big organization to do CSR or hire people or organizations to do it for you. Contributing to curbing global warming in many creative ways is a good project.

Baldrige asserts, "Social responsibility implies going beyond a compliance orientation. Good citizenship opportunities are available to organizations of all sizes. These opportunities might include encouraging and supporting your employees' community service."


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