Sandals Foundation commemorates 15th anniversary

The Sandals Foundation commemorates its 15th anniversary remaining steadfast in its commitment to improving the lives of people across the Caribbean.

Through initiatives focused on education, community development, and environmental conservation, the Sandals Foundation has positively touched 1.5 million lives, leaving an indelible mark on the region.

Reflecting on the journey of the philanthropic organization, president of the Sandals Foundation and executive chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart expressed pride in the foundation’s evolution and achievements. “From the beginning, our commitment to transformational projects has remained unwavering,” Stewart said. “We’ve witnessed firsthand the power of partnerships and the resilience of Caribbean people.”

Core pillars

Established on March 18, 2009, the Sandals Foundation was created to harness new opportunities and expand upon the community outreach of Sandals Resorts International. The philanthropic organization has since made significant strides in each of its core pillars of work:

Education: Nurturing Minds, Shaping Futures – The Sandals Foundation is dedicated to providing access to quality education for all. Through projects such as sustainable water initiatives, building schools, enhancing infrastructure, equipping students with required technologies, providing scholarships, and supporting literacy programs, the foundation has empowered both children and adults alike to unlock their full potential.

To date, the team has impacted over 350,000 students in their education needs, distributed over 6,000 digital learning devices, supported over 2,000 schools, awarded over 200 scholarships, and distributed some 300,000 books to schools and libraries.

Community Development: Building Stronger Communities – By investing in skills training and certification, youth engagement, artisan and other livelihoods, the Sandals Foundation has fostered vibrant and resilient communities across the Caribbean. In recent years, the organization has intensified its investment in food security programs, investing in climate-smart technologies and education within communities and learning institutions.

It continues to expand its women empowerment program, Women Helping Others Achieve (WHOA) – providing mentorship, training, health, and counselling support for marginalized women. Additionally, through strategic partnerships in the health sector, the philanthropic organization has invested in medical personnel training, equipment, built infrastructure and the capacity of medical practitioners and systems to better serve thousands of people.

Environmental Conservation: Safeguarding Our Natural Heritage – Recognizing the importance of preserving the Caribbean’s rich biodiversity, the Sandals Foundation leads efforts in marine sanctuary management, coral restoration, and environmental education. Through expert partnerships that assist in the development of environmental curriculum and hands-on field trips, the foundation is raising awareness of children and empowering stewards to take action for generations to come.

Throughout the Caribbean, some 19 marine and terrestrial protected areas, national gardens and parks receive support and to further bolster the region’s biodiversity, over 33,000 corals have been out-planted in our seas, and 27,000 terrestrial and marine trees have been planted to support the vital ecosystems. Additionally, the philanthropic organization works closely with local partners investing in eco-tours to sustain continued conservation.

“The mission of the Sandals Foundation is deeply rooted in the belief that empowered Caribbean people can shape a brighter future for themselves, their communities and generations that follow,” Stewart said. “We have achieved significant milestones in this respect. Our endorsement by the United Nations Department of Communication as an organization helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) gave us great confidence in knowing that our work while helping to solve local challenges was also positively contributing to a broader global agenda.”

Empowerment at the forefront

As the Sandals Foundation embarks on its next chapter, the commitment to empowerment and impact remains at the forefront. Across the region, its teams are working with local artists to create colourful murals of inspiration cementing a positive message throughout the length and breadth of communities.

“Empowerment, to the Sandals Foundation, means providing individuals and communities with the resources, skills, opportunities and the inspiration necessary to take control of their own destinies and effect positive change,” said Heidi Clarke, executive director of the Sandals Foundation. “We are keen to ensure our programs promote inclusive and equitable education opportunities, and foster economic growth through skills development and entrepreneurship support. Looking ahead to the next 15 years, we plan to scale up our work with the right partners, and leading by example in fostering thriving and holistic community programs. Through strategic collaborations and innovative approaches, we will continue to drive positive change throughout the region.”

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