“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.    Aristotles


Por Los Niños is a Mexican-registered non-profit charity founded in 2005 to administer the funds raised by the annual Zihua Sailfest benefit festival. All funding decisions are made by a volunteer advisory committee consisting of bilingual educators, international residents and members of the Zihuatanejo business community.

We work in partnership with local government agencies, Rotary Clubs, international charities, and the local communities to provide educational opportunities to Zihuatanejo’s least advantaged children. This very successful collaboration has built 117 classrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and playgounds, in 14 new schools and expansions to 21 existing helping 2500 young scholars, awarded nearly one thousand academic scholarships; and provides more than 30,000 school meals a year to children who would otherwise go hungry.

We are an all-volunteer foundation. Annual operating expenses average less than 1% of donation revenue.


To create a more promising future for the children of Zihuatanejo.

To provide safe, healthy and sustainable schools that create a positive learning environment.


A 2010 report by the OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, indicated that more than 90% of Mexico’s children graduate from primary school; 67% graduate from junior high (grade 8); 26% graduate from high school, and only 12% achieve a university degree. Mexico devotes a greater percentage of government revenue (17%) to education than any other member of the OECD. (U.S.A. 11%, for example) Mexico is dedicated to educating their children. Unfortunately, the available financial resources are inadequate to the ever-growing need.

A recent government survey indicated that the Municipality of Zihuatanejo, a mostly rural county of 125,000 residents, needed an additional 104 classrooms and 38 bathrooms to properly serve its current 34,000 students. Mexican parents in the poor rural areas, desperate to educate their children, have traditionally responded by building ramshackle, wooden classrooms with dirt floors, staffed by idealistic young teachers, often unpaid. As these schools are not certified, the students receive no official credit for their class work, and face many challenges should they later transfer to an approved school.

Por Los Niños is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment for these deserving children. In partnership with compassionate volunteers and donors, we have built 13 new kindergartens and primary schools, and one new high school, that serve more than 2,500 students a year. All these schools have been promptly certified by the government. Certification means that the schools now receive text books, learning materials, experienced (and paid) teachers, supplemental nutrition, modest funding for improvements, and a path for academic advancement. We have also built new classrooms, bathrooms and kitchens at more than 20 existing schools.


Please click on the images to read the biographies.


Responsible for the day-to-day operations of the foundation


Meets to review school petitions and to select our projects

Lorenzo Marbut

Retired marketing director

Carol Romain

Retired special needs school operator

Danilo Valencia Lopez

University professor

Doug Hudson


Diana Fernández Cantu


Judy Mamou

Retired nurse

Fernando Cebellos

Construction Materials Manager

Vicki Dreger

Retired teacher

Yadira Ríos Torres


Patricia Ann Talley

Teacher and publisher

Lucía Gayón

Digital Communications Director