The Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) is focused on improving health conditions in rural Filipino communities by providing training programs for local government health leaders, including mayors and municipal health officers, to strengthen health leadership and improve governance.
When healthcare was devolved in the Philippines in 1991, most mayors were not ready to manage their local health systems and left the task to their municipal health officers. Although local chief executives are mandated to provide healthcare resources, their lack of preparation and active participation in health prevented the development of a responsive healthcare system for the poor.
In the research paper “Universal Health Care in the Philippines” by Paul Gideon Lasco, Bryan Albert Lim, and the late former Health Secretary and ZFF trustee Alberto Romualdez, Jr., there are “great disparities in access to healthcare, resulting in significant difference in health status between the rich minority and the poor majority of Filipinos.” ZFF addresses this gap by empowering local leaders with the proper tools and training to systemically implement reforms so their healthcare systems respond to the needs of the underprivileged.
The Foundation’s purpose is rooted in the Zuellig family’s long-standing business in healthcare. In 1901, Frederick E. Zuellig ventured to Manila for business opportunities and became a partner in the trading firm Lutz & Co., which he later bought and re-named F. E. Zuellig Inc. Though World War II almost destroyed much of the business, his sons Stephen and the late Gilbert rebuilt, diversified, and expanded the firm internationally.
In 1997, Zuellig established the Pharmaceutical Health and Family Foundation that catered to the health needs of the communities surrounding the manufacturing plant of Zuellig’s Interphil Laboratories Inc. in Canlubang, Laguna. In 2001, it became the Zuellig Foundation with a broader function of consolidating selected social responsibility programs of the Zuellig companies.
In 2008, it was re-named to Zuellig Family Foundation which underscores the autonomy of ZFF from the Zuellig group of companies. ZFF’s primary focus is on the family’s philanthropic efforts to nation-building via community healthcare while Zuellig companies continue their respective corporate social responsibilities.