“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible,” says St. Francis of Assisi. These are the same words that the Wong Chu King Foundation lives by.
A humble immigrant from Amoy, China who sought greener pastures in the Philippines, Wong Chu King built a business empire through hard work, fierce determination, and great sacrifice. Success did not come easy for him—he lived through the fears and uncertainties of World War II.
These traits were evident during the war, when King started a small cigarette business. With the help of four assistants, King peddled his produce in the side streets of Divisoria. King survived the war and learned valuable lessons that would serve him well in the coming years.
One such lesson stood out: as a sign of his gratitude to God for sparing his life during the war, he pledged to do all he could to improve the lives of other war survivors. Generosity and compassion became his tenets in living a life dedicated to providing opportunities for others.
Transformation through charity
This is the tenet that drives the Wong Chu King Foundation, Inc. (WCKF). Founded on March 30, 1990 by the heirs of Wong Chu King, WCKF is involved in educational and apostolic charities, primarily in areas in the Philippines where tobacco farming is prevalent.
The Foundation provides scholarships to deserving young men and women, especially to dependents and beneficiaries of Filipino tobacco farmers.
After the war, he established La Campana Fabrica de Tabacos. The rest, as they say, is history: King nurtured his small business into a thriving empire with the help of his wife Nelia, and his children.
Although he was focused on growing his business, King continued to live by the lessons he learned in his earlier years, during the turbulent times when survival was uncertain. His commitment to business leadership and success was also his way of fulfilling his pledge of helping as many people as possible by providing them employment and opportunities for personal growth.
Today, the Wong Chu King Foundation lives up to his legacy of humility, charity, and love of God and country. King’s unwavering and enduring faith in God translates into a solid commitment to charity and compassion.
The Foundation espouses transformation through charity because this is how Wong Chu King, the humble immigrant, envisioned his legacy to be handed down. The Foundation believes in taking small but necessary steps to help the needy and provide opportunities to the deserving but less fortunate, thereby changing the world–and doing the impossible–one small step at a time with the help of around 5,000 volunteers of the foundation.
The Foundation seeks to encourage and promote education and scientific research through its scholarship programs, focusing on high school and college and university scholarships.
As devout Catholics, the Wongchuking family has spearheaded assistance programs to parishes and dioceses in a number of provinces in the country through WCKF for restoration and rehabilitation work for churches, especially those with great and historical and cultural value to communities.
Through the years, the foundation has undertaken projects that reflect the generosity and charity of Mr. Wong Chu King. These can be seen in the Foundation’s outreach programs for institutions like the Home for the Elderly (formerly Golden Acres) and the White Cross Orphanage.
The Foundation also addresses concerns in health and nutrition, youth and family welfare, and disaster relief. While its scholarship programs are managed directly by the Foundation, other types of assistance are rendered through other non-government organizations. Its main sources of income come from donations and contributions of members of the Wongchuking family and from supporters.
WCKF aims to expand its charitable work in the coming years as it perpetuates the memory of the family patriarch.