Earlier in 2012, while the board members of The Emiliani Project were conducting research in Medellin, Colombia, they met with the board members of Fundacion Gente Unida , a local foundation dedicated to rescuing children from the streets of Medellin. Gente Unida, lead by Padre Jorge Villalobos (a well-known philanthropist in the city), gave The Emiliani Project team a tour of one of their five schools in the city and of their permanent resident home for children in the city of Bello.
So moved by their mission, credibility, professionalism, and highly structured system for working with the children, The Emiliani Project team began instantly vetting Gente Unida as a possible local partner foundation. After much discussion, both Gente Unida and The Emiliani Project agreed that the organizations’ missions were so closely aligned that they could find many economies in a partnership. Together, they found that they could help significantly more children and reduce costs.
On October 11, 2012 the two groups made it official with the formation of The Emiliani Project Medellin, a non-profit foundation in Colombia – a necessary legal step in The Emiliani Project’s goal to construct a children’s home in Caldas, Colombia. Gente Unida’s first act was to donate a 17 acre plot of land for the project in the city of Caldas, 30km south of Medellin.