To realize, through investment in education, a new generation of creative, critical thinkers who will spur socio-economic development and improve the quality of life in Latin America in a socially and environmentally harmonious manner.
The Alma Foundation improves education for economically impoverished children in Latin America through projects that reinforce critical thinking, creativity, analytical reasoning, and harmonious values to shape socially responsible and environmentally conscious individuals.
Grassroots. Rather than applying a pre-conceived, North American solution to a perceived need, we spend time in the community, listening and learning. If we recognize a need within the context of early childhood education, and if we feel we can create and support an innovative and sustainable solution, we will help the community create an Alma project.
Local engagement. We believe in a “hand up” rather than a “hand out” and discuss our projects with all stakeholders in the community. For us, local engagement does not mean the approval of a community leader but the support of the entire community. To help ensure local commitment and sense of ownership, we insist that the communities pay for at least 10% of a project’s total cost.
Engaging donors. While the primary focus of our work is in economically marginalized communities in rural Peru and Bolivia, we hope to motivate and inspire donors and interested parties in Canada. Donors feel a sense of ownership because we invest 100% of their monies in projects, and we maintain creative and constant communication with the communities in which they invest.
Microfinance and microphilanthropy. We believe that small projects are more cost effective than large ones. All of our projects are within a $12,000 annual budget. We maximize the social return on our investment.
Direct Investments. We do not invest through intermediaries. Rather we invest along side local partners and/or exercise direction of the projects ourselves.
Multiple outcomes. We pursue a sustainable, holistic approach to all projects. While our focus is early childhood education, we incorporate messages of social responsibility and environmental awareness into our projects. For example, our meal programs deliver a local food, sustainable agriculture, and nutrition message together with the provision of meals.
Performance measurement. We have created meaningful evaluation and performance measurement tools based upon on the Canadian International Development Agency standards and the Poverty Reduction Lab protocol.