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Postscript                                               A Good Night’s Sleep

             Over the years, however, he witnessed and deplored the deterioration of standards in
             the public school system, prompting him to send his own children to private schools.
             He remained committed to supporting public education, especially at the basic or
             elementary level where the foundations of a person’s learning needed to be laid solidly.

             A meeting with Dr. Milwida “Nene” Guevara around the year 2000 would provide
             Wash with the perfect venue through which to channel his support. Nene had just
             served as an Undersecretary of Finance under President Fidel Ramos and could have
             had her pick of jobs here and abroad after her stint in government, but she felt drawn
             to helping the country’s poorest children by giving them a proper education. She
             joined Synergeia, a private organization that began in 2000 as an initiative of the
             Ford Foundation, and crafted a strategic approach that focused on basic education—
             “to give every child a chance to complete Grade Six, with quality.”

             Along with Galing Pook, another initiative that Nene chaired and which involved
             recognizing  outstanding programs in local government, Synergeia (a Latin word
             meaning a whole greater than the sum of its parts) got off the ground—but
             immediately faced its first setback when Nene learned that the Ford Foundation’s
             Philippine operations were shutting down.

             Undaunted, Nene gathered supportive friends to launch Synergeia at the Asian Institute
             of Management (AIM) in 2001. In walked a small, unassuming man whom the
             receptionists didn’t recognize from the others in the queue. “Name, please?” a receptionist
             asked, preparing the guest’s badge. “Just put Wash SyCip,” the guest said, smiling.

             Thus began Wash’s welcome if unheralded immersion into Synergeia and its noble
             aims. Wash started the ball rolling with a personal donation of P10 million, and he
             never let go, bringing his network of influential friends and contacts into the loop.
             Their contributions helped jumpstart the process, and Synergeia has helped local
             leaders generate other resources, such as through better tax collection.

             Today, Synergeia is implementing programs to improve basic education for almost
             9 million schoolchildren in over 400 municipalities all over the Philippines. These
             programs include improvements in academic governance, retooling teachers,
             engaging parents in their children’s education, working with Muslim communities,
             and running reading camps and workshops for children.

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