“After my death, I want to let fall from Heaven a shower of roses”
Consuelo Zobel Alger
as inspired by St. Therese of the Child Jesus
Consuelo’s story is a remarkable tale of how, when guided by a higher purpose, generosity, and a deep love for children, one can transform lives and build hope for the future.
Consuelo Zobel de Ayala y Montojo Terrentegui Zambrano 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 an elegant, pensive young woman surrounded by her prominent family. Consuelo spoke six languages and attended schools in Paris and Madrid. She admired and prayed to St. Therese of the Child Jesus, often using the saint’s words as a guide, “What matters in life are not great deeds, but great love.”
Married for 36 years to James Dyce Alger, the couple settled in Hawaiʻi in 1970 following his retirement as a three-star general in the U.S. Army. Following James’ passing in 1986, Consuelo began to contemplate her legacy. She knew she wanted to do something that helped children, especially the abused and exploited, as well as express her love for both the Philippines and Hawaiʻi.
In early 1987, Consuelo met Patti Lyons, CEO of Child and Family Service in Honolulu who was seeking funding to develop a residential shelter for street children in Baguio, Philippines. Impressed by that meeting, Consuelo started funding the shelter and promised Patti her continued support.
This fateful relationship eventually sparked the birth of Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation since over time Consuelo wanted to do more. She envisioned a safe and nurturing world for all children, free of abuse. With the help of a group of talented board members, a dedicated staff, and compassionate friends, she began what is now known as Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation. In July 1988, Consuelo Foundation was incorporated.
Consuelo passed away on November 29, 1990 at the age of 76. She left her wealth and inheritance to the children she loved and to the foundation that bears her name.
One of the first major Foundation programs launched is 1990 created an affordable, owner-built, values-based community housing model for low-income families in Waiʻanae, Oʻahu named Ke Aka Ho‘onā, or the “Spirit of Consuelo.”
In 1993, the Foundation officially established the Philippine Branch, which operates and supports programs that carry out Consuelo’s mission. Starting with 20 partners in 1994, the Branch has since supported hundreds more organizations throughout the country.
When asked how Consuelo would determine what should be done, she wrote “Whichever is the greatest need,” and when asked to what extent help should be provided, she simply answered, “Until the need is filled.”
Decades later, Consuelo continues to touch lives. Her foundation has provided healing and recovery for children, built homes, and given thousands of children, youth, and families a path to improved wellbeing.
Consuelo left a legacy of hope and love that continues today. Her vision is sustained by the board, staff, partners, and communities that have been involved in working for a better world for children to thrive.
“St. Therese did what I want to do in life. My mission will begin after my death. I will spend my heaven doing good on earth.”
“I would like us to renew hope for those who have lost it, and give hope to those who never had it.”