In 2006, a group of Americans visited the Dominican Republic for a real estate project. From their first moments in the DR, they were welcomed with open arms and developed numerous warm relationships. Salvatore Joseph Rizzo, now known as “Dominican Joe,” returned regularly to the DR and saw kids in the streets throughout the day and wondered why they weren’t attending school. He found that there were serious gaps in the public school system, and wanted to do something to do something to give back to this community that had become so dear to him.
He founded the Dominican Joe Foundation on the belief that education is the cornerstone to socioeconomic advancement and to give these children an opportunity they may not have otherwise had.
In 2015 the Foundation was granted 501c3 status and has been
operating as a strictly not-for-profit organization, raising funds through the
yearly Get Away and Give weekend, other recurring initiatives, and individual
donations from the Dominican Republic, USA, and around the world.
This year, our immediate goal is to enroll 50 children in private elementary schools, which is easily accomplished by sponsoring each child for only $30 per month. This money serves to supplement the literacy and education programs essential to the child’s academic success.
From what we’ve seen, the private schools of the Dominican Republic offer a superior education, with higher quality teachers and a rigorously structured curriculum. These two factors play a crucial role in determining the child’s education and future.
We envision creating tutoring, afterschool, and mentoring programs. In so doing we can make our initial investment 100% sustainable.
The ultimate goal of the Dominican Joe Foundation is to see the futures of these children through to full fruition and success. To fulfill this goal, we plan to develop a scholarship program, which will significantly support our students as they attend universities around the world.