Consuelo Zobel Alger
Consuelo Zobel Alger was a philanthropist and a member of the prestigious Zobel de Ayala Family. Her distinguished clan controls the ownership of Ayala Group of Companies, the largest business conglomerate in the Philippines. Her father was Don Enrique Zobel de Ayala, the most important businessman during the American colonial period. Her mother was Doña Fermina Montojo de Torrontegui, the daughter of Spanish admiral, Don Patricio Montojo, whose fleet fought that Commodore George Dewey in Manila Bay on May 1, 1898.
Her siblings were Matilde, Gloria, and Fernando Zobel, the internationally renowned modern painter. Her half siblings were Jacobo Zobel, Alfonso and Mercedes Zobel de Ayala y McMicking, who would become the modern matriarch of the whole clan.
Her traces her lineage from the Roxas, Ayala, and Zobel families which have been at the top of the business, social and cultural scene their arrival more than 300 years ago. Her ancestors first founded the Roxas y Cia company, which would later become Ayala y Cia, the predecessor of today's Ayala Group of Copmanies. Today, Ayala Corporation is known around the world as the one of the leading companies of the Philippines.
In 1940, Consuelo married an American military officer, a West Point graduate, who had been stationed in the Philippines. Her husband, James D. Alger , would go on to become 3 star general in the U.S. Army. After his retirement in 1970, the couple retired to a home in Hawaii where General Alger died in 1986.
During her residence in the Hawaiian islands, Mrs. Alger dedicated herself and her resources to addressing the needs of poor children. She said "My mission will begin after my death. I will spend my heaven doing good on earth." The words of St. Therese of the Child Jesus had always inspired her: "What matters in life is not great deeds, but great love." Medidating on this she wrote: "St. Therese did what I want to do in life... to let fall from Heaven a Shower of Roses."
In early 1987, she met Patti J. Lyons who had established a shelter for street children in the Philippines. She decided that the best way to be a philanthropist was to operate her own social programs, rather than making grants to others - with a mission of "community development for children, women, youth, and families in the Philippines and Hawaii who are poor, abused, sexually exploited, or without hope." In Hawaii they concentrated their mission in Waianae under a project called Ke Aka Ho'ona - Hawaiian for "Spirit of Consuelo". The project offers poor Waianae residents sorely lack: affordable housing and a community free of domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse.
In 1988 the Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation was incorporated as a nonprofit, private operating foundation. Consuelo Foundation envisions communities in Hawaii and the Philippines in which disadvantaged children, women and families achieve dignity, self-esteem and self-sufficiency resulting in renewed hope for those who have lost it and hope to those who have never had it. The Foundation's mission is to operate or support programs in Hawaii and the Philippines that improve the quality of life of disadvantaged children, women and families. Jeffrey N. Watanabe chairs the Foundation's six-member board, while Patti J. Lyons is the founding President and Chief Executive Officer.
Consuelo died on November 29, 1990, though her memory lives on forever through the legacy of good works perpetuated by her establishment and endowment of the recently renamed Consuelo Foundation.