History of MEANS

MEANS traces its beginnings to the early 1970’s, when a group of Filipino leaders met in a Chicago church for prayer. Led by Dr. Teofilo Tolentino, pastor of a Filipino congregation in Chicago and his wife, Rebecca, the group prayed for God’s guidance.  They brought before the Lord the requests of many Filipino immigrants who wanted to send monetary support to their churches and mission groups in the Philippines.



Mr. & Mrs. Teofilo Tolentino
MEANS founders

The assurance that God wanted them to start an organization that will help channel financial support for churches and missions in the Philippines and East Asia was deeply impressed on their hearts and MEANS was born.

MEANS was incorporated as a non-profit, religious organization in 1971 in the State of Illinois and in 1973 it was granted federal tax-exempt status under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. (EIN# 23-7258008)

In 1986, Pastor Tolentino challenged Carmena Cruz and Lina Padilla to take the leadership of MEANS.  Carmena and Lina envisioned reaching out to many potential donors in North America.  They started encouraging Filipino Christians in North America to support IVCF Philippines and other missions.

MEANS became a member of the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (ECFA) in 2000. ECFA is a non-profit organization committed to helping Christ-centered organizations earn the public’s trust through developing and maintaining standards of accountability that convey God-honoring practices.


Catalina Padilla
Board Chair
Carmena Cruz
Executive Director


Under the leadership of Catalina Padilla, Board Chair and Carmena Cruz, Executive Director and along with their dedicated volunteers, they have grown MEANS into what it is today:

  • about 450 donors around United States
  • more than 200 ministry partners
  • missionary partners in creative access countries
  • 38 faithful volunteers

Several factors have contributed to this growth. These include  holding annual staff retreats, hosting and promoting the work of visiting missionaries, sending care packages and computers to mission groups and networking with churches and mission agencies.    

MEANS has gone beyond sending funds for its ministry partners. By continuing to build relationships with their partners in the US and across the world, MEANS now and will continue to support many wider range of ministries.