By Gloria Jane Baylon
It is not easy to classify Frank Evaristo, long-time president of the Alay Lakad Foundation Inc.
The honorary chairman of ALF is President Benigno S. Aquino III, who has known Frank for many years and who counts him one of his close supporters.
Civic icon. Diplomatic confidant. Adviser and a friend to past and current Presidents of the Republic. Former Wall Street banker, newspaper columnist. Entrepreneur, philanthropist, champion of education and youth empowerment. A “man-about-town.” Indeed, he has accomplished more in his 70 years.
Born to Engr. Delfin Evaristo and Dr. Adoracio Arce, Franklin Arce Frank was raised in Manila — giving him both a well-rounded outlook and a common touch that serves him well today in his many advocacies for the underprivileged.
Frank is also at home in the corridors of high finance and political power. After obtaining his Bachelor of Science in Commerce degree from Letran University, he headed for New York to further hone up his skills. He received his Masters in Business Administration from Fordham University and then launched a career in the corporate world of Manhattan and locally, including stint with the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), etc.
But Frank’s heart was always set on returning home to Manila and applying his talents, experience and wide network of international contacts to help advance Philippine business. When he came home, he established and opened Collectiones New York, one of the first high-end boutiques in Manila.
During its heyday, Collectioness New York was the place to go to for the latest in fashion and accessories.
When Frank’s children were old enough to handle the business, he gradually turned over the reins to them and he focused on his true passion — humanitarian activities and charity work. He plunged into it like a kid let loose in a candy shop.
For the past several years, he has been the president of the Alay Lakad Foundation (ALF), a non-profit organization that raises over P1 million every year for the benefit of out-of-school youths through its Annual Walk for Cause event.