Joseph M. Ocol
President Joseph Ocol, is the Gaudy and Joy Foundation. Without him, it doesn’t exist.
Through Joseph’s vision and relentless commitment, the Gaudy and Joy Foundation has single-handedly sustained the Catanduanes Institute of Technology, established by his parents more than 20 years ago to provide free education to the poorest children in this destitute area of the Philippines.
This immense feat has required an extensive commitment from Joseph, working relentlessly and investing much of his time and his own livelihood to keep the school operational, while earning no renumeration for his efforts.
The foundation provides scholarships to deserving students who don’t have the means to pay for their education. These young hopefuls represent future teachers, engineers, technicians, mechanics, and professionals of a long list of disciplines, all with a role to play in contributing to the resources of our global community.
An educator and philanthropist by nature, Joseph has been a teacher at Marshall High School right here in Chicago’s poorest and most crime-infested neighborhood for 9 years. He has gone well beyond the job description in providing not only education to these underprivileged youth, but also in giving them hope, and an alternative to their all too often preordained destiny of crime and poverty.
Among his impressive initiatives, his chess program and chess mentoring partnership with Faraday Elementary School has gleaned immense success and is being modeled by other school systems nationwide. This program has produced champions where many thought it was impossible, and has uplifted the spirits and hopes, the worthiness and self-esteem of hundreds of young students in a area long thought to be beyond hope.
Both the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel, and the President of the United States, Barack Obama, have extended personal gestures of recognition to Mr. Ocol for his continued efforts toward for a better future for children both at home and abroad.
Tom Heineman started his career in the education, working as a math teacher for eight years, before making a transition into the business world. He had a successful career with Arthur Andersen accounting firm for 24 years. Working his way up from a human resources systems role, he became a Principal and served as Chief Information Officer for human resources information.
After leaving Arthur Andersen, he launched a successful career as a freelance math tutor, returning to his education roots and contributing to the academic success of hundreds of Chicago area students.
He is a founding member and treasurer of the Rogers Park Builder’s Group, a Chicago based real estate and community development organization.
His uniquely diverse background combining education with strong business acumen and entrepreneurialism make him an insightful and invaluable advisor to the foundation.
Linda Evangelista experienced a middle class upbringing in an area surrounded by extreme poverty in the Philippines. Her parents were very active in community and philanthropy, and Linda was naturally inclined to follow in their footsteps. She began doing volunteer work at a young age, and has always been drawn to charities and organizations that help underprivileged youth.
She is a great example of what young people can achieve when they are given the basic means to reach their potential.
She was a top scholar, a valedictorian, and captain of her championship volleyball team. An achiever and natural nurturer, she then earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing before migrating to America with her family in 1983. She works as a nurse, mostly in critical care, in Chicago and continues to help various causes worldwide.
Her charitable works over the years have included welcoming new immigrants to America, volunteering in nursing homes and youth groups, and leading church activities. She’s also made it a priority to seek those causes that help eradicate extreme poverty in places like Kenya, Jamaica, and her beloved homeland, the Philippines.
She has not forgotten her home roots, and as Treasurer of the Gaudy and Joy Foundation, she has the honor of making a difference in the lives of young people both at home in America, and in her homeland. The charities nearest her heart are those that reach out to young people and offer them a better way, taking them off the path to crime and destitution, and helping them achieve a more promising future.