Our Mission Statement:
The Markham Federation of Filipino Canadians is a non-profit organization committed to the promotion and preservation of the Filipino culture and heritage through dialogue, educational, social and cultural activities.
- Promote appreciation and sharing of the Filipino Cultural Heritage and conversely, encourage interaction with and understanding of other cultures in Markham and the surrounding areas, province of Ontario; and
- Establish and maintain a community center in Markham, Ontario, in order to provide programs geared towards educational, cultural and health activities, as well as integration of newcomers into the community.
On April 10, 1989, a group of like-minded Markham residents met and planned to organize activities that brought together the growing number of Filipino Canadians in Markham. The objectives of the group then, included reaching out to the residents of Markham of Filipino ancestry, getting to know one another, extending a helping hand and, together contributing to the vitality of our town. Hence, the Markham Federation of Filipino Canadians came into being.
The initial year was marked by the very 1st social event, which over the years has transformed itself into what has now become an annual, always well-attended, MFFC dinner dances. It was also during the first year, through persuasive petitioning by the MFFC, that the Town of Markham started declaring "Philippine Week" in June, to commemorate the proclamation of Philippine independence. This yearly event, commencing with the raising of the Philippine flag in front of the Town Hall, has become a much anticipated activity for the Filipino-Canadian community ever since.
As early as its 2nd year, the association's emerging social consciousness started to show. The unfortunate earthquake disaster in the Philippines afforded a 1st time opportunity for the organization to test its collective will towards a common objective. The organization shipped 34 cubic feet of clothing and medicine, and donated $2,000 from raised funds, and out of its own infantile operating reserves. Community leadership, a characteristic that will be demonstrated through many years, was also born this year as the MFFC recognized, and presented awards of appreciation for outstanding community service to, nine Filipino-Canadians in Markham and Metro Toronto.
Year three saw the MFFC raise and donate $20,000 towards the purchase of land for the San Lorenzo Ruiz Filipino-Canadian Community Centre. It was also this year when monetary donations were sent to defray the cost of the annual Christmas parties of the children of the "Smokey Mountains", a humanitarian undertaking that would continue for the next 3 years.
1992, the 4th year of the organization's existence, was a turning point. A transformation from a purely civic-oriented organization, to one that is aware and participating in the deliberation of social issues of the day - such as the national conference on "Wife Abuse and Violence Against Women" sponsored by the National Council of Canadian Filipino Associations. The MFFC also held a youth workshop on "Understanding Adolescents", in cooperation with the York Region Public Health District.
The following year was a continuation of the previous, this time focusing on combating racism in the community. It was also the year when alliances with other community and governmental organizations started to form. MFFC stood vigorously to support the Task Force Against Racism when Filipino youth were systematically banned from entering the Scarborough Town Centre mall. Together with the Chinese Canadians of Markham, the MFFC sponsored an all candidate debates for the federal riding of Markham-Whitchurch-Stoufville.
Membership soon expanded to include Filipino Canadians living beyond the Markham area. The Markham Federation of Filipino Canadians was incorporated in the province of Ontario in 1994. It continued its participation and support of activities in conjunction with organizations such as the York Region Community Services Council, the Office of Child and Family Services, and the York Region District Health Council. The planning for the MFFC Drop-in Centre also began this year, by far the most ambitious undertaking the association has ever embarked on.
In 1995, the community drop-in centre became operational. The opening festivities took the form of a grand Barrio Fiesta, with local dignitaries, celebrities and the community on hand to show their wholehearted support. The MFFC Centre has since provided a place for the MFFC's activities. Our fundraising efforts help support the existence of the Centre as well as our projects, activities, and programs. Aside from the day-to-day operation of the centre, the MFFC continued its numerous projects over the years.
The Markham Federation of Filipino Canadians continues to grow with the time. It started as an ethno cultural organization dedicated to bringing together Filipino Canadians in Markham and it's vicinity, to help one another in the process of integration and to share in the celebration of our tradition and heritage. While still pursuing these goals, the MFFC has widened its horizons in the community by taking part in health, civic, social, educational, and political issues that affect not only Filipino Canadians, but also the entire Markham community and beyond. It has partnered with other ethnocultural and mainstream organizations in the successful pursuit of its goals.
As it begins another decade and a new century, the organization looks back in retrospect at the objectives that paved the way at its birthing. Filipino Canadians residing in Markham and nearby towns and cities have grown a hundred times and so have their needs. The challenges never stop as the MFFC gears up for another 10 years of fun, education, and community building.