Verónica Abud Cabrera

Organization: 
Fundación Educacional y Cultural La Fuente
Year founded: 
2000
Country: 
Chile

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Fundación La Fuente is a non-profit foundation that designs and implements educational and cultural programmes to help poor people improve their quality of life.

Focus: Education, Financial Inclusion, Rural Development
Geographic Area of Impact: Chile
Model: Hybrid Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 1.5 million (2011)
Annual Budget: US$ 3 million (2011)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 99.9%
Recognition: Regional Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Latin America, 2009; SEOY, Chile, 2009

Background
In an effort to address the high illiteracy rate in Chile, Fundación La Fuente establishes school libraries, improves public libraries, equips mobile school and community libraries, and develops museums and cultural centres in both urban and rural areas. Its staff members represent a variety of backgrounds and experience, including primary and secondary teachers, literature experts, actors, musicians, commercial engineers, sociologists, librarians and management experts.

Innovation and Activities
Fundación La Fuente developed the first public libraries in shopping centres throughout Chile. Known as Biblioteca Viva (Living Library), it is more than just a place that lends books. The library includes theatre, painting, movies and many other cultural activities.

Creando los Lectores del Mañana (Creating Tomorrow’s Readers), another important programme of Fundación La Fuente, develops school, public and mobile libraries for students and communities. The focus of the programme is to introduce to a community, particularly its children, the pleasures of reading by providing materials that respect their interests and needs. The programme also trains school teachers and librarians in reading promotion activities and cultural development.

In general, Fundación La Fuente supports projects for one to two years. Once they are well established, they are handed over to local municipalities or school boards. It finances the education projects through support from companies that are willing to invest in communities where they engage in business activities.

Based on the organization’s experience, equipping cultural centres for students and adults is significantly important to the function of any educational programme. The creation of libraries in schools or public areas is aimed at improving the quality of life for many disadvantaged communities.

The Entrepreneur
Verónica Abud received an MA in Education from Virginia Tech. She worked as a teacher and at Fundación Educacional Barnechea for over 10 years before establishing Fundación La Fuente in 2000. She is currently involved in the organization’s general management, financing and implementation of school libraries and book mobiles throughout Chile. Abud is on the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ commission for young and early adult literature. In 2009, she received the Bicentennial Seal for Biblioteca Viva from the government of Chile.