By Maureen N. Maratita
The Andrea R. Ilao Foundation was founded in early 2014 and established in December 2014.
John R. Ilao is vice president of Johndel International Inc., which does business as JMI-Edison. He says the spirit of giving comes from his mother — Andrea R. Ilao.
“We were blessed to have both parents guide us growing up. Even though our parents worked alongside each other in our business, our mother was very active in civic organizations. It was a typical dinner conversation when my mother would discuss her experiences with the different organizations — how they organize and execute to accomplish their various causes.”
Ilao says his brother — Eduardo R. Ilao — and he are active in numerous volunteer organizations.
“We wanted to give back to Guam in the manner that our mom would if she were alive today. That’s why we decided to start our mom’s foundation so it would be her vision that we are continuing on.”
Organizations that the foundation has been able to help include the Guam Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Guam Department of Education, the Archdiocese’s Ministry to the Homeless, The Salvation Army’s Guam Corps, Taal Volcano Eruption Refugees, and numerous individual student scholarships.
The foundation does not always publicize its work.
“We want to focus more on the awardees and other ways to help. We’ve given out more than $35,000 in scholarships and for every dollar we generate from our fundraising initiatives, 100% goes to help with that particular cause. We do not have permanent staff, hence zero overhead. The foundation is truly a labor of love in honor of our mother, Andrea R. Ilao.”
There is a reason that Guam and the region consistently support a multitude of non-profits, Ilao says — even in COVID-19 times.
“The Covid era has shown that despite all our differences, most individuals and organizations in Guam unite to make the best of Guam’s situation. When Guamanians or Guam businesses assist, we usually know someone or know their relative personally, so it makes it much more meaningful.”
As to how anyone might approach giving, he says, “If you like the cause and believe in the impact, take the time to ask the non-profit what percentage they use for operations and compare it with others to make a well-informed decision.”
There is a lot of satisfaction the family takes from the foundation, but there is also another dimension, Ilao says.
“While we are proud of the Foundation’s continuous annual commitment to provide scholarships, we are also adaptable to people’s most relevant needs. When my brother [Eduardo] and I decide to provide assistance, we know where the funds will be directed that has the highest impact. Hence, we’re proud to have that flexibility to make a difference at the right time. The Foundation’s mission is to offer support in people’s physical, mental and emotional well-being through assistance with programs and initiatives aimed at improving their quality of life and accomplishing their life goals.”