Otunba Subomi Michael Balogun, a consummate banker, entrepreneur and a Christian advocate also wears the cap of a dogged philanthropist. The spectrum of activities has enabled him to impact different segments of society, leaving great foot prints on the sands of time and space.
He is the founder of Otunba Tunwase Foundation, a philanthropic organization that undertakes all his philanthropic endeavours and services to humanity. It is a referral institution for healthcare and general welfare of the Nigerian child.
Balogun’s foundation has a big investment budget for specialized studies and academic researches into all manner of diseases and ailments affecting children. The welfare of the less privileged and the physically handicapped also come under the portfolio of his foundation. As in Nigerian banking, so it is in philanthropy that the development story cannot be rightly told without his name.
Through his philanthropic gestures, combined with his Christian advocacy, Balogun has provided succour to many lives and helped many to reclaim lost destinies and find hope for daily living. He is involved in several projects that advance the course of the Christian work.
Balogun’s philanthropic works date back to 1987, when his then First City Merchant Bank Limited endowed a professorial chair at the University of Ibadan for capital market studies in the department of economics and finance. A research fellowship is also endowed in his name in the legal department of the University of Lagos. He has donated to several altruistic courses at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Yaba College of Technology and African Leadership Forum.
The philanthropic work of the foundation is also made manifest at the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan, where it undertook the maintenance and upkeep of the children’s emergency unit. At Ijebu-Ode General Hospital, the foundation built and equipped a 40-bed childcare centre.
Investment in children’s education is a major aspect of the activities of the foundation. It counts several hundreds of scholarship awards to children and youths in secondary and tertiary institutions. It endowed annual scholarship awards to the best students in Muslim College, Ijebu-Ode and the Nigerian School for the Blind, Oshodi and also sponsors an annual national marathon championship for disabled athletes.
Balogun’s scholarship funds sprang up as far back as when he was 36 years of age. It began by sponsoring students in some schools in Ijebu. At the last count some years back, there were as many as 300 university graduates that had benefitted from his scholarships.
Otunba Tunwase Foundation made a special gift to the nation in its philanthropic activities in 2013 – the construction and handing over of a N3.7 billion National Pediatric Centre at the University of Ibadan. Speaking about the centre, Balogun said it is his contribution to the improvement of Nigeria’s health sector.
The determination to build the centre, he said, was informed by the poor conditions he met children during a tour of the children’s emergency wards/wing of the university’s college of medicine. Handing over the centre in 2013, Balogun recalled that he had seen so many children suffering due to lack of adequate healthcare facilities in the nation’s health sector, which prompted him to embark upon the project. “Today, I am delighted to hand it over as a total gift to University of Ibadan and I urge you to make it one of the bests in the world”, he said.
Other activities of the foundation include donation of a police post at Imoru in Ijebu-Ode, the development of a civic centre for Ijebu-Ode Club and the provision of street lighting. Like Andrew Carnegie, Balogun is a preacher of the gospel of giving. When he presented his Memoirs – The Cross, The Triumph and The Crown as far back as August 2000, he threw a big challenge to the wealthy in society on advancing the course of philanthropy in Nigeria. Setting the example, he directed the entire proceeds from the book launch to an ongoing children’s welfare project.