Our Story

From Our Executive Director, Rossella De Leon

Mountains and seas cradle the Filipino people -- in them we find our home, our shelter, our abundance, and sometimes, our terror.

As a child growing up in a fishing community in Laguna and Pampanga, Philippines, I couldn’t explain the 80 mile long earthquake ground rupture that sounded like thunder, or why my Mom was crying and screaming in the streets while looking for me. I couldn’t explain why I had to move schools as a first grader while tin roofs flew through the air and why my neighbors’ houses were covered in volcanic ash. I couldn’t explain the endless typhoons that hit the Philippines every year. I couldn’t explain why my friends would trade sex for food or suffer in one of the Philippines’ countless sweatshops.


Indeed, none of these are things children should have to explain. But when you grow up in a country like the Philippines, you’ll find children often understand tragedy and struggle the most. I met one of these children, TJ, in 2013 during a relief mission several years after my family had moved to the United States. After Typhoon Haiyan, TJ awoke to find his friends dead in the streets. When TJ told me his story, he said he was happy -- happy for his friends who died, happy they didn’t have to suffer like him and the other survivors who were then starving while waiting for relief.

As a university administrator at the time, I had planned on building a career in the academia. But in meeting TJ and knowing there are millions like him, I no longer wanted the relief and rehabilitation of my homeland to be something I did after my “real” day job. I realized that my childhood experiences, and the experience of TJ and his friends, don’t have to be the experience of the Filipino children. I wanted to see a world where Filipinos had access to basic health, education and human rights, and the idea for the Foundation for Philippine Progress was born.

I didn’t just find terror in the Philippines, but it’s also where I found courage: on that same relief mission after Typhoon Haiyan, I met the most selfless people I’ve ever known. Nuns who treck the mountains to volunteer at indigenous people’s schools; teachers who give up the comfort of a good salary to volunteer in community schools in far-flung areas; doctors who give up the security of a hospital salary to volunteer in rural areas that need medical support. The people I met in the Philippines laid the groundwork for the Foundation to form partnerships with already thriving community initiatives in the Philippines that ensure that the poor and suffering have access to basic health, education, and human rights.

What I’ve found between the mountains and seas of the Philippines is a people full of hope -- neither typhoons nor volcanic eruptions can hide the selflessness or dreams of my people. We have the vision and will for a full life for every Filipino -- we invite you to join us in our exciting venture to come see, hear, and touch that reality.


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drew miller
In Wake of Typhoon Mangkhut, The Foundation for Philippine Progress, Inc. Calls for Donations

For Immediate Release

September 15, 2018

Reference: Rossella De Leon, Executive Director, 503-995-1030


Portland, OR -- The Foundation for Philippine Progress, Inc., a Portland, OR based non-profit organization, is calling on donations to go directly to relief and rehabilitation efforts immediately following the Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit the northern area of the Philippines, Luzon, in the early morning on Saturday, September 15th.

Set to publicly launch on October 20, the Foundation for Philippine Progress, Inc. is “dedicated to empower and engage communities in programs and projects for the Philippines to secure quality health, education, and basic human rights for every Filipino.”

Super Typhoon Mangkhut has been compared with the deadliest typhoon in the history of the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan, which killed over 10,000 in 2013. Thousands have evacuated their homes in preparation for the ferocious typhoon. Winds have reached over 200 miles an hour at their height, and initial media have indicated debris flying through the air along with a severe concern for developing mudslides. 14 have been reported killed thus far.  

Rossella De Leon, Executive Director of the Foundation for Philippine Progress, Inc. noted: “This year only marks five years since Typhoon Haiyan, and yet, the worst is happening again. We humbly and earnestly ask generous individuals, organizations, and businesses to rise up around the Philippines and help make the dream of our people come through -- to make a full life for every Filipino.”

To donate:

Donate Online on the Foundation’s Website.

Send checks to Foundation for Philippine Progress, Inc. at 1137 SW Broadway, Portland, OR, 97205

To volunteer or for inquiries:

Email info@philippineprogress.org.

The Foundation for Philippine Progress, Inc. is dedicated to empower and engage communities in programs and projects for the Philippines to secure quality health, education, and basic human rights for every Filipino. To learn more, please visit our website at www.philippineprogress.org.

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drew miller