“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, generous individual donors, Rotary Clubs, international charities, and the local communities to provide educational opportunities to Zihuatanejo’s least advantaged children. This very successful collaboration has built 131 classrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and playgounds, including 14 new schools and expansions and/or repairs to 33 existing schools. We have awarded nearly one thousand academic and English language scholarships, and provide more than 30,000 school meals a year to children who would otherwise go hungry.
Los Niños, Inc., our sister charity, is a U.S. 501(c)(3) public benefit charity founded in Portland, Oregon in 2004. The initial mission was to help raise funds to build a new primary school in collaboration with the Zihuatanejo city government and International Rotary Clubs. The school now serves more than 350 bright-eyed young scholars.
A year later, we cofounded Por Los Niños de Zihuatanejo as a Mexican non-profit association to make Zihua Sailfest, our most successful fund-raiser, a legal Mexican event, and to ensure that we complied with all Mexican financial reporting requirements and regulations.
We provide funds for Por Los Niños’ construction projects, the nutrition program and much-needed scholarships. We provide U.S. tax receipts to U.S. citizens. Los Niños, Inc. is also an all-volunteer organization with expenses below 1% of annual revenue.
Two Board of director members from each charity serve as Board directors on both charities.
VISION AND MISSION
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.
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Please click on the images to read the biographies.
RICHARD & GLORIA BELLACK
Responsible for the day-to-day operations of the foundation
ELÍAS SÁNCHEZ HERNÁNDEZ
RICHARD AND GLORIA BELLACK
Meets to review school petitions and to select our projects