Where in the world do boxing, Wall Street, and homeless victims of typhoons intersect? In one instance, they converge in the Philippines, where a giant in the financial trade industry, Greg Secker, and a world boxing champ, Nonito Donaire, Jr., are teaming up through the former’s foundation to bring relief to typhoon victims throughout Donaire’s home country.
Donaire, most recently securing the title of WBC Silver Featherweight Champ in a bout held in San Antonio, Texas, is world renown for his prowess in boxing, in which he holds five divisional championships. Born in Talibon on Bohol Island, the Filipino-American, known as the Filipino Flash in boxing circles, wishes to inspire other world athletes to engage in philanthropic efforts.
Whether it is typhoon relief, education for the underprivileged, housing, or hunger, Donaire wants others to join him in leveraging their sport-celebrity status to meliorate such calamities.
For Secker, hurricane relief is just one of the areas in which his Greg Secker Foundation seeks to touch lives. A world champion in financial networking, Secker believes the Filipino Flash will help jettison home rebuilding projects throughout the Philippines, particularly in Iloilo, still reeling from the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan (aka Super Typhoon Yolanda) five years ago.
Already involved in philanthropic projects across the globe, Secker learned about a housing rebuild program in Iloilo from a Filipina friend whose family lost their homes and livelihoods during the 2013 typhoon. Yolanda, or Haiyan, killed 6,183 Filipinos, injured nearly 29,000, and displaced more than 4 million while devastating more than half-a-million homes. It ranks as the deadliest Philippine typhoon in recorded history.
Secker flew to the Philippines at the time to meet with his friend, Rosario Sanico, in her hometown of Lemery, also victimized by Yolanda. Once she showed him the deadly aftermath of the typhoon in Iloilo and informed him about the housing recovery effort, Secker decided to lend immediate assistance through his foundation and its “Build a House, Build a Home” initiative.
Jump forward to January of 2018 when Donaire flew from Las Vegas—where he is training for his next fight—to Manila and Secker from his home to the Philippines. The two met to witness the handing over of keys to more than 100 new homes, destined for inhabitance by Yolanda’s victims, thanks to both Donaire’s and Secker’s contributions.
After donating substantially to housing rehabilitation after Typhoon Ondoy in 2009, Donaire says his joint effort with Secker is like “doing it all over again,” but with the “amazing” backing from the Secker Foundation.
On his foundation website, Secker notes that the sense of community and its sustenance reign supreme in the “Build a House, Build a Home” project. “It was important to understand what sustainable community means to the beneficiaries,” his website states.
“We therefore put together a research group to approach the local people and find out what is really important to them,” he further states. He adds that the project is working closely with the Philippines department of agriculture and department of social welfare to create a program of skills-based training to help the community maintain a consistent income.
The beneficiaries of which Secker speaks in this case consist of residents in Capinahan, Lemery and Iloilo, all hard hit by the super typhoon. The Secker Foundation networks with movers and shakers in the Philippines, such as the Filipino Flash, to build the resources for the home rebuilding projects but also recruits the help of local residents skilled in engineering and architecture.
It doesn’t hurt to have a network of friends, such as Rosario, who kindly donated five acres of her own land toward the project and a world-famous boxer.
Greg Secker expresses a big “thank you” to both his kaibigans (Filipino for friends) for their vital roles in bringing attention to the typhoon-stricken communities and rallying support on the victims’ behalf.