The Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) reinforces the idea of healthcare beyond medical missions and dole outs. It chooses to change the landscape of social responsibility by arming health leaders with the information and skills to improve the health of the poor.
The Zuellig Family Foundation is rooted in the distinctive context of the Zuellig family’s enterprises in the Philippines. It was in 1901 when the young Frederick E. Zuellig came to Manila for business opportunities. After finding a job in a Swiss trading company, he became a partner in the well know firm Lutz & Co. which he would later buy and name F.E. Zuellig Inc. After the World War II, his Manila-born sons Dr. Stephen Zuellig and late brother Gilbert Zuellig expanded internationally and diversified into various business interests.
The Foundation’s vision evolved from a tradition of individual philanthropic engagements and the corporate citizenship of the Zuellig Group of companies. In carrying out the Zuellig family’s mandate to address specific deficiencies in community healthcare, ZFF has gone beyond conventional grantmaking and performs an active institutional role in the social development and progress of the Philippines.
In 1997, the Zuellig Group announced the establishment the Pharmaceutical Health and Family Foundation during the inauguration of the state-of-the art manufacturing plant and distribution center of Interphil Laboratories, Inc. and Zuellig Pharma Corporation in Canlubang, Laguna. The Foundation initially aimed to address the health requirements of local communities in the neighborhood.
Four years later, the Foundation was re-named the Zuellig Foundation and given a broader scope by consolidating selected social responsibility programs of the Zuellig companies in the Philippines. The Foundation redirected its attention to advocacy for public health policy reforms and training of health leaders and professionals in best practices. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Zuellig family’s engagement in Philippine business, Dr. Stephen Zuellig announced the new programs of the renamed Foundation as well as a grant of ₱100 million to support its work.
In 2008, the board of trustees initiated a review of the Foundation’s objectives in relation to the country’s health situation, with a special focus on improving health outcomes for the poor. The assessment of “the health of the nation” concluded that health inequities need to be addressed systematically, in order to achieve meaningful improvements of health indicators, particularly among the poor.
To respond more effectively to the challenges of the Philippine health sector, the Foundation recast its strategies to strengthen the capabilities of the country’s public healthcare systems and improve access to healthcare for the poor, especially in rural areas. This strategic reorientation coincided with the repositioning of the Foundation’s institutional identity. To denote its autonomy from the business operations of the Zuellig Group, the Foundation adopted a new name: Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF). While the subsidiaries and affiliates of the Zuellig Group continue to pursue their respective Corporate Social Responsibility programs, ZFF concentrates its efforts and resources on the specific philanthropic mission articulated by the Zuellig family: to promote effective and sustainable healthcare systems in the Philippines, with an emphasis on primary healthcare services in rural communities.
ZFF stands as a defined manifestation of the Zuellig family’s desire to sustain a legacy of making healthcare an operative factor of nation building and improving the quality of life for all Filipinos.