The Purple Centers Foundation was established in March 2003 as “The Philippine Christian Foundation” by British national Jane Walker, who had been privately funding projects for children and families living in the Navotas public cemetery and the Peir 18 dumpsite near the old Smokey Mountain dumpsite in Tondo, Manila. Jane also established a U.K.-based charity to help fund the new organization she was starting in the Philippines. Today, that U.K.-based charity is known as the Purple Community Fund and continues to support us in the Philippines, along with other charities in other parts of the world. Specifically, the Purple Community Fund continues to manage ao child sponsorship program for us and fund raise for specially-requested projects. Although Jane is no longer a trustee of the Purple Centers, the board of trustees accorded her a special honor as Patron and she remains one of the foundation’s major donors.
2004—The foundation opens a preschool in the cemetery for 89 children and another preschool for 180 children living in the temporary housing complex known as Happyland near the Peir 18 dumpsite in Tondo. One month later, a third center was opened as a community center for 90 children whose families lived on the Irisan dumpsite in Baguio city, which is 6 hours north of Manila. The first programs of the foundation were preschool, a lunchtime feeding, and spiritual care. By the end of 2004, the foundation had opened a family welfare clinic.
2005—The foundation began training women in sewing and their first project was to sew school uniforms for the students. In that same year, the foundation began piloting adult literacy courses and alternative education classes for out-of-school youth. From there, seeds were planted for building a new school using shipping containers, which were ubiquitous in the port area of Tondo.
2006—The Philippine government granted the foundation land to build its new school next to the old Smokey Mountain dumpsite. Based on socio-economic baseline data of the communities its serves, the foundation employed its first social workers in 2006, along with a licensed nurse. A regular deworming program was introduced to students and the nutrition program expanded to include vitamins and more fruit.
2007—Vice President of the Philippines Noli de Castro and the U.K. ambassador attended the ground breaking ceremony for the foundation’s new school. the design and engineering plan was also agreed with Arcadis (then known as Hyder Consulting). The building was designed to be constructed mainly out of 78 x 40-ft. shipping containers. The livelihoods program also expanded to mothers making jewelry from glass and beads. The nutrition program expanded to offer children breakfast and the health clinic entered new partnerships with the Department of Health.
2008—Foundation constructed office building for the local government along with a water filtration station for the community, which it owned and operated until the government demolished the community in 2013 to close the dumpsite to waste-pickers.
2009—Students transfer to new school. Jane Walker receives an MBE award from Queen Elizabeth II.
2010—New school officially opens. PCF graduates its first college school, who become employed as a teacher. Livelihoods products are launched in Kultura, a high-end retailer of artisanal products from the Philippines.
2011—Foundation secured its first license as a formal educational institution from the Department of Education.
2012—Foundation became an implementing agency for the U.N. project, “Building Better Futures through Reproductive Health Care and Livelihood Training for Teens.” The foundation trained 1,710 teens in the community on reproductive health care. The training modules continue to be used. Coca Cola featured the foundation’s livelihood products in its 5by20 Artian catalogue, which is distributed globally to their employees. Arcadis (then Hyder Consulting) commissioned the foundation’s art students to create artwork for its international offices.
2013—Foundation celebrates 10 years since founding.
2014—Government demolishes Peir 18 dumpsite community and resident scatter to relocation areas in Bulacan province (about 1.5 hours north of Manila) and in the surrounding Tondo area. Board of Trustees launches strategic discussions for 2015.
2015—Board of Trustees and a new management team pursues a year of strategic thinking with the aim of strengthening the foundation’s sustainability through stronger national governance, management and fund-raising. The foundation approves a new vision and mission statement, defines its core values, outlines a strategic plan, and commissions a new visual identity project.
2016—Foundation undergoes 6-month restructuring and relaunches itself as the Purple Centers Foundation, a name inspired by its new symbol: the waling-waling orchid, which is known for its purple hue, its resilience and the symbiotic relationship it shares with its host tree, enabling it to grow and fulfill its potential in nature.