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Postscript                                               A Good Night’s Sleep

             When Nene begged Wash to forego his trip, he just laughed her fears off. Instead of
             seeing himself as the retirable one, Wash urged Nene to take it easy, find her successor,
             and just remain Synergeia’s visionary. But just like Wash, Nene Guevara has refused
             to relax, remaining at the helm of Synergeia years after Wash’s passing.

             In March 2021, despite the lockdown, Synergeia held its Washington SyCip National
             Education Summit, moving it online. The work goes on, pandemics notwithstanding.

             Banking on the poor

             Dr. Jaime Aristotle “Aris” Alip set up an NGO called CARD—the Center for
             Agriculture and Rural Development—in 1986, drawing on his own money to
             support his conviction that the country’s hope lay in reenergizing the countryside
             by, literally, banking on the poor. In 1997, CARD became a rural bank based in
             San Pablo, Laguna. But unlike almost any other bank, CARD Bank gave out loans
             averaging just P4,000 and no higher than P150,000—and it gave them only to poor
             but capable women.

             A common friend introduced Aris to Wash in 2004, and Wash knew what CARD
             Bank was doing in microfinance. As he did with Synergeia, he asked Aris, “What
             can I do to help?” Aris thought hard; he wasn’t going to ask for money, feeling that
             there was a more effective way that Wash could help. He had long wanted his CARD
             Bank executives to get into the Executive MBA program at AIM to sharpen their
             managerial skills, but CARD Bank was such a small and obscure firm compared to
             the big multinationals that he felt that his people couldn’t get a foot in AIM’s door. So
             he asked Wash to intercede with AIM, for the CARD Bank group to get a fair hearing.
             “Let me talk to some people,” Wash said. Within a week, Aris got his response. AIM
             called, the CARD Bank executives took and passed the entrance exams, and soon a
             steady train of them began taking their EMBAs, strengthening the bank’s capabilities.

             But Wash’s interest and assistance went even farther. He visited and observed CARD
             Bank’s offices and operations in Laguna. He must have been impressed, because
             shortly after, Wash put a sizeable personal deposit into CARD Bank and allowed the
             bank to cite his investment for promotional purposes, boosting its credibility within
             the industry. He kept introducing Aris and the bank to other potential investors, and

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