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The History of Foundation for Peace

The Beginnings

In 1962, Alberto Martinez Lugo and his wife Rosalina emigrated from Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic. Both doctors and pastors, they founded the Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal M.I. denomination (now serving more than 200 congregations) and did medical outreach.

In August 1989, Dr. Ken Culver helped Mitch Gore lead a youth mission trip from National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC to the Dominican Republic. On this trip they worked with the Martinezes. It was such a positive experience that Ken continued to lead trips to the DR, expanding them to people of all ages. In 1991 Ken’s wife Cindy, and their children, joined him. Their hearts were likewise captivated by the overwhelming needs and beauty of the Dominican people. Ken and Cindy’s burgeoning friendship with Alberto and Rosalina sparked a long-lasting relationship that was the genesis for the Foundation for Peace.

In the 1990s Ken and Cindy continued to bring groups to the DR. With a focus on building relationships with members of the local community and working through local churches, the number of trips and participants steadily increased. As a result, in 2002 FFP recruited Greg Penza, its first full-time staff member, and then Kristin Hamner later that year, to serve in the DR. Under their leadership, FFP significantly expanded the number of projects and people served.

Incorporation and Growth

Mission trip To accommodate the increasing number of volunteers and broader geographical participation, Foundation for Peace was officially incorporated in December 2002.

FFP continued to add trips and partner with new communities to address four critical areas: body, mind, spirit and community. As a result FFP mission teams built churches, schools. medical clinics and water purification facilities.

In 2005 FFP started DominiKids—a student sponsorship program—that pays the tuition for children in our partner communities to attend school to fund teacher salaries and keep the schools we’ve built up and running.

In 2006, FFP expanded their ministry into Haiti, beginning with a church, school and water system construction project in Anse-a-pitre.

In 2007, FFP expanded into Kenya, where they first built an orphanage school in partnership with African Enterprise and ByGrace Academy. This work continues in partnership with the Living Word Church in Mathare North and Africamani.

In 2008, Foundation for Peace began collecting donations of medicine, furniture and vehicles to ship to the island twice a year. The shipments furnish schools, increase the number of medicines provided free of cost in the clinics, and provide desperately needed items to our partners in the DR and Haiti.

Response to Earthquake in Haitiearthquake relief

After the Haiti earthquake in January 2010, Foundation for Peace staff in the Dominican Republic went to the DR-Haiti border to assist with relief efforts at a field hospital in Jimani. This outreach led them to an IDP camp run by American Refugee Committee (ARC) in Fond Parisien, Haiti called Camp Hope.

While working in Camp Hope, FFP staff and mission teams did whatever was necessary to help the displaced and injured earthquake victims. They offered medical assistance, built latrines and showers, setup and repaired tents, provided identification badges for translators, provided meals and sometimes simply spent time with the kids who still wanted to laugh, play and learn.

FFP’s relationships deepened with the people of Camp Hope so when earthquake relief work evolved into rebuilding, we stayed and built a school in Fond Parisien—College Mixte Marius Carnold—that currently serves about 200 primary and secondary students, many whose families lost their homes in the earthquake.

Biggest Haiti Project to Dateganthier_working on roof

In 2010, Ganthier Mayor Ralph Lapointe approached Foundation for Peace after witnessing the work they did in Fond Parisien. He asked if FFP would build a vocational school to serve the entire Ganthier area (that includes Found Parisien)—and he enabled the donation of five acres of government land to help make it possible. When FFP agreed, the community leaders said it was an answer to prayer. Mayor Ralph said, “You didn’t come to bring us food which lasts a day. You came to bring us education. And education lasts a lifetime.”

This educational complex in Ganthier—Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men—is FFP’s largest initiative to date. Our shared vision is that one day this will become the region’s best educational institution. Hundreds of mission trip team members have partnered, and continue to partner, with FFP to make this vision a reality. In October 2012, we completed the first phase of the school and completed the second story in 2015.  The school now educates 300 – 500 students who are learning English and Spanish and computer skills.

New Health Project in the DR

In 2016, the FFP entered into a contract to purchase the house next door to our headquarters in Santo Domingo.  The deal was closed in 2018 and renovations have begun.  When ready in 2019, the new FFP Center for Health, Education and Wellness will start working with the surrounding community.  Activities will include:

  • Indoor and outdoor classrooms to provide health education programs to the community
  • A pharmacy to serve mission teams and our partner communities
  • Housing for visiting doctors and nurses
  • Medical clinic and office spaces for volunteers and FFP staff

Hope for the Future

Today churches, schools, hospitals, community groups and families from all over the United States partner with Foundation for Peace and bring mission teams to serve in the Dominican Republic, Kenya and Haiti. Over 1,000 people—aged 5 to 75—serve dozens of communities building schools, medical clinics, churches and water purification facilities; providing medical care; running adult and children’s ministries; making friends; and sharing God’s love. Our full-time staff in the Dominican Republic and Haiti serve throughout the year, between mission teams, to make sure our partnership goals progress and that community needs continue to be met. In the United States, many volunteers help by collecting donations, loading shipping containers and preparing items for medical clinics.

FFP’s goal today stands as it did in the beginning—to work hand in hand building relationships, offering hope and creating long-lasting change.