On Philanthropy, Education and Climate Change
It was my freshman year of college when I began understanding the opportunities and commitment to change I faced. During my university experience, I understood that the experience was beyond the classroom and I met people who would permanently enrich my life.
I found a fascination in the gatherings between friends where we met for long hours to philosophize, to discuss economics, politics, social problems, and ideas about how to change Mexico. From these meetings in 1995, Fundación EDUCA México A.C. took shape, founded by a group of idealistic friends who dream of a better Mexico through education.
The principle was simple: education in Mexico is lagging and public financing has not allowed the coverage and quality that the country requires. With this simple premise, we devised a second-level foundation that would support organizations that were working with low-income children. We discovered that the vast majority of NGOs in our countries allocate disproportionate resources to get more resources, in an inefficient cycle of running to stay in the same place. We created Fundación EDUCA to break this cycle, allowing organizations to focus on improving their educational systems, guaranteeing them the necessary fundraising.
Being 19 years old and getting together with your friends to create a foundation for philanthropic purposes in education was a dream. We had fun, we learned and we created an organization that today, twenty-seven years later, continues to impact the children of Mexico. EDUCA became an essential part of my identity: I was able to write my undergraduate thesis on the role of the private sector in public education in Mexico, and I created relationships and friendships that last. In those years, we committed to dedicating 10% of our time to philanthropy, for life. That has been one of the most courageous, consistent, and enriching decisions I have made, and that I have been able to maintain, making my life purposeful.
EDUCA is today a non-profit organization that supports RED EDUCA, a network of non-profit schools operated by Civil Society Organizations that serve children and young people from 2 to 18 years of age with limited resources. The Foundation is dedicated to strengthening these schools through financing, implementation of educational projects, and continuous training for teachers and principals. It also supports public schools and universities through an environmental program called Sustainable EDUCA.
Today the beneficiary population is made up of 13,420 girls, boys and young people; 1,444 teachers and directors; 22,061 mothers and fathers and 368 people collaborating in the schools, with a total impact of more than 37 thousand people.
Last week the 19th EDUCA Congress was held: hundreds of teachers from public and rural schools and non-profit organizations attended a week of training through the EDUCA network. Two years ago, EDUCA reviewed its mission and vision, adjusting to the realities of this new era. Its mission is now “to strengthen schools so that girls, boys, youth and teachers become agents of change, full and happy, contributing to sustainable development”.
In my words to those attending the Congress, as a founding Board Member, I had the following insight: when we founded EDUCA we were 19 years old and we dreamed of a different Mexico. Today they are the sons of us, founders, who have that age and new concerns about the state of the world and our country. It is by listening to them that we have understood the need to educate children and young people with an understanding of sustainable development, ecology, and how to actively help save the planet.
Today the EDUCA Network has implemented the Escuelas por la Tierra program with more than 4,000 organizations joining environmental education for their children, the way in which the mission and scope of Educa align with my own life commitment in the face of climate change is moving for me. In this era where we face the greatest challenge of humanity and where our children lead the movement to save the Earth, I here reconfirm my philanthropic commitments, my commitment to Fundación EDUCA México that I love so much, and my commitment to education as the best path for change. There are many ways to change organizations, lives and the world and the social sector is today more necessary present and urgent than ever for this goal.