Consuelo Zobel Alger was born in 1914 into a family which had been at the top of the business, social and cultural scene of the Philippines since their introduction to the country some 400 years ago. Her ancestors founded the Ayala Compañia during the Spanish period and have operated it for more than 150 years. The family has retained a reputation as business entrepreneurs who contributed to the development of the country. Today, Ayala Corporation is known around the world as the premier company of the Philippines.
Reconciling the elegant heiress and the gentle person who gave her heart to children can be difficult. Consuelo Montojo Zobel de Ayala Alger was an enigmatic figure, little known, even in a country where her family’s name graces streets and buildings. Photographs of Consuelo in her youth depict a solemn, beautiful young woman dressed in finery and surrounded by her prominent family. Extremely well-educated, Consuelo spoke six languages and attended schools in Paris and Madrid.
Married for 36 years to James Dyce Alger, the couple settled in Hawai’i in 1970 following his retirement as a three-star general in the U.S. Army. Following James Alger’s passing in 1986, Consuelo began to contemplate her legacy. Her heart’s compass had a particular fondness for children, especially the hopeless and exploited, the abused and the abandoned.
In early 1987, Consuelo met Patti Lyons, President and CEO of Child and Family Service in Honolulu, who was seeking funding to develop a residential shelter for street children in the city of Baguio in the Philippines. Impressed by that meeting, Consuelo became the benefactress of the shelter. This fateful relationship eventually brought forth Consuelo Foundation and the promise of her continued support for what she and Patti had begun.
Consuelo passed away on November 29, 1990 at age 76. She left her wealth and inheritance to the children she loved and to the foundation that would bear her name.
Consuelo’s generosity was not just a gift of wealth, but a gift of grace.
Twenty-five years later, Consuelo continues to touch lives. Her Foundation has provided sanctuary for children, built homes, and given thousands of disadvantaged children and youth paths to a better future. Her simple instruction to, “In all things, be mindful of the poor,” continues to serve as the moral compass of the Foundation as it works to rescue and revive spirits and spread hope.