Munting Lapis Neighborhood Center, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) EIN 38-3974304 organization headquartered in the US with operations in the city of Cagayan de Oro, on the island of Mindanao, in the southern Philippines.
To serve the disadvantaged children in a neighborhood community by providing a wholistic, education-based nurturing environment.
  • Activities and services include:
  •  afterschool tutoring including homework assistance and skills development
  •  breakfast program
  •  online reading program
  •  tuition, transportation, and uniform assistance
  •  school and hygiene supplies
  •  field trips and recreational activities
  • Approximately 25 neighborhood kids utilize the Center on a daily basis.
  • Student academic activity is monitored via review of school grading reports as well as reports generated       from an online reading program
  • Donations are used exclusively to fund operations
  • Officers and US-based personnel are unpaid
  • Travel expenses from the US to the Philippines are self-funded
The name "Munting Lapis" means "Little Pencil" in the Philippine national language of Filipino (informally known as Tagalog). It is derived from Mother Teresa who said: I am a little pencil in God's hands. He does the thinking, He does the writing. He does everything and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil and He has to sharpen it a little more (The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living, Mother Teresa).  It is our hope that Munting Lapis will be God's humble instrument to break the vicious cycle of poverty.
Interested in learning more specifics about Munting Lapis? Please email us at [email protected]
Interested in donating to our organization? Kindly click the "DONATE" button in the upper left hand corner.

The genesis of Munting Lapis began decades ago when the Diaz family of Magsaysay Street in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines began serving neighbors in need. A relationship formed whereby neighbors felt welcome in the family compound seeking help with basic needs like clothing, food, medicine, and school supplies. More regular assistance took form around 2005 when a Diaz family member initiated a breakfast program in addition to providing school supplies. 
The program expanded in late 2008 when Zenaida (Diaz) Zinski and her husband Mark moved back to Cagayan de Oro. Recognizing the lack of educational support for children in the surrounding impoverished neighborhood, Mark and Zenaida initially held tutoring/homework sessions outdoors after school. Initially there was a group of approximately 5 children who would attend the sessions regularly. Fortunately, with the monetary support of family, a small, 80 square meter roofed building was constructed. Additionally, a basketball court and separate covered area were built. With the new facilities, extended hours, and word of mouth, more children began attending the sessions. Presently, approximately 25 children consistently attend on a daily basis with the number sometimes exceeding 40.
Mark and Zenaida returned to the US in 2013 and hired a staff to maintain services and operations. Munting Lapis was incorporated in Wisconsin in 2014 and received US 501(c)(3) status in September of 2015. Munting Lapis hopes to successfully solicit funds from  the US and abroad. Through years of trial and error and continual tweaking, a comprehensive interventionary program has evolved to serve neighborhood children as they progress through grade school, high school, and even college.

Rotary Club Kalayaan Collaboration

Celebrating Achievements

Breakfast program

Online Reading and Math Programs

College Scholarships

Rotary Club Art Project

After school tutoring

High School Scholarships

The Neighborhood


More celebrations

Playing "Patintero" in the shed

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send us a message.