Its mission is to extend support in the form of medical assistance, educational scholarships, angel investing, church programs, prisons, indigenous groups, and funding for culture and the arts among others.
The late Carlos “Charlie” Cojuangco was a public servant in more ways than one. Besides serving multiple terms as representative of the provinces of Negros Occidental and Tarlac, he was a philanthropist who established the Carlos O. Cojuangco Foundation (COCFI), which supported a variety of altruistic causes and programs. He also never failed to personally give to individuals who came to him seeking for his help.
His wife China is no different. She co-founded an organization called Maria Maria that organized decade-long feeding programs to impoverished communities. She was also a volunteer docent, a regular donor to fund raising drives and a reliable help in her parish.
Charlie and China’s benevolent practice was adopted as they became a couple, and it continues now, even after Charlie’s untimely demise, through the initiative, Little Blue Chair— a platform that structures the couple’s devotion to helping. Little Blue Chair is Charlie and China’s way to keep their commitment to philanthropy.
What propelled the establishment of Little Blue Chair was a short video clip found in Charlie’s phone, now posted in their website, in which he is asking a beneficiary to publicly spread the word about their arrangement and pay the good deed forward. View the video here to witness how Charlie was successful in fulfilling his mission.
“When life blesses you financially, raise your standard of giving and not your standard of living,” a sentiment shared repeatedly to Josephine Romero by both Charlie and China as their stringent practice. Josephine Romero is from the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship, a mentor to Little Blue Chair who is helping standardize the platform. She adds, “This principle serves as the precedent for this initiative.” The couple actively sought out Romero’s expertise for their previous endeavors and she is now overseeing Little Blue Chair with two international advisors.
Romero explains, “The endowment for Little Blue Chair is very straightforward, most funds from Mr. Charlie Cojuangco that were inherited by his surviving spouse are allotted to their/her chosen beneficiaries to be disbursed over a period of time.”
Little Blue Chair’s mission is to extend support to causes and campaigns near and dear to the couple’s heart. Medical assistance, educational scholarships, angel investing, support for programs benefiting churches, prisons and indigenous groups; funding for culture and the arts are just a few.
“Channels were always relied on by the couple to allocate their donations,” shares Cydea Paras, a member of an intergovernmental organization and also of the Little Blue Chair consultants, “This approach will continue, their goodwill remains undisclosed,” she adds.
Why Little Blue Chair?
In October 2020, not too long after the couple got engaged, Charlie presented China with a gift: a plastic blue toddler chair. It was, in Charlie’s words, “So that you are always around me, no excuse.”
The chair became a symbol of how much Charlie valued his wife’s company and her views about a variety of topics, as he would constantly pull up the chair so she could sit near him, “To listen, converse, plan, argue, sing, debate among other things in the bathroom, dressing room, garage, kitchen, office, while sitting in her little blue chair.”
As mentioned in the website they “planned their betrothal, wedding, birthdays, his political career, his projects, their future and their charitable pursuits while she sat on the portable piece.”
“Our commitment to charities was also affirmed in one of our ‘chair sessions,” China writes. “And while circumstances have changed, I vow to honor all our obligations and even more.”
It’s been six months after Charlie’s passing, and while China is strictly observing the traditional year-long period of mourning, “There will be no inertia in terms of the ceding,” as firmly assured by Little Blue Chair’s proponents.
Please visit www.littlebluechair.ph to learn more.
Banner photo courtesy of Little Blue Chair.