Our Programs
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Our Programs

At Grand Circle Foundation, the world truly is a classroom—for the children who go to school in the villages we support worldwide, and for the travelers who expand their worldviews each day by experiencing new cultures. Through two major initiatives—the World Classroom and A Day in the Life—we encourage learning for both children and travelers.


The World Classroom Initiative

Kaitao school New ZealandAs part of our continuing commitment to learning and education, in 2005 Grand Circle Foundation created the World Classroom initiative, a program that fosters the education of young people and engages the communities in which they live. It is an effort that supports schools and universities—but it also goes beyond the classrooms by strengthening the surrounding community and preserving indigenous arts and traditions.

Establishing relationships with the schools we support and identifying their needs was the early focus of the World Classroom. We then began investing in the educators at our World Classroom sites in order to better support their leadership goals. Next, our focus shifted to broadening the scope of the World Classroom to embrace the community at large.

The program has grown each year, and now supports nearly 100 schools and youth organizations around the world.

Inside the World Classroom >>


A Day in the Life of a Village

Day int the Life VillageSince Grand Circle's beginning, we have believed that at its core, the world is a collection of villages—and villages are the heart and soul of every travel experience. In a way, our Day in the Life initiative has always been a part of our trips—and now, we're working more closely than ever with village leaders to make meaningful, sustainable changes in the communities supported by Grand Circle Foundation.

For our travelers, the Day in the Life experience links school visits with authentic, hands-on cultural exchange with the community at large. Travelers can meet the students' parents, siblings, neighbors, civic leaders, small business owners—all the people who weave the fabric of life in the village in which the children live. Each Day in the Life specifically includes: a school visit, a walking tour of the village or town, an in-home meal with the students' families, a visit to a local entrepreneur, and a visit to a community or senior center.

As an additional aid to the larger community, the Foundation also supports income-generating projects for local entrepreneurs—such as a microfarm in the San Francisco community in rural northern Costa Rica, which provided a model for our newest initiative, Invest in a Village.

Experiencing A Day in the Life >>


Invest in a Village

Building upon the foundation laid by the World Classroom and A Day in the Life, we're working more closely than ever with village leaders to make meaningful, sustainable changes in the communities supported by Grand Circle Foundation. To date, we've focused much of our giving on schools, which are typically at the heart of a village. Now, we are broadening our efforts to have a bigger impact on the village as a whole.

Modeled after our microfarm in San Francisco de Penas Blancas, Costa Rica, the projects we introduce as part of Invest in a Village will all have clear milestones and fundraising goals that we'll share with you here on our website. We'll also share updates on our progress as we reach our milestones and work toward making a difference.


While Invest in a Village is still in its infancy, we're looking forward to having a greater impact than ever on the 60 villages we support worldwide.




Help for Japan

As Japan reels from the events of March 11, 2011, thousands of children of all ages are facing a devastating reality: while they may have survived, one—or both—of their parents did not.

These children now face a lifelong struggle. We urge you to join us in support of their future by donating to Tokyo's nonprofit ASHINAGA organization—we're matching all donations 100% through March 28, 2011, up to $25,000.


Haiti and the American Red Cross


We extend our deepest gratitude to the 4,239 travelers, associates, and friends who joined us in supporting relief efforts in Haiti.
All told, we have raised more than $541,000 for the American Red Cross.

While we are no longer accepting donations for earthquake relief, we strongly encourage interested donors
to give to the Red Cross directly.



Help for Peruvian Families

PeruWhen devastating mudslides swept through Peru's Sacred Valley in January, they destroyed an estimated 2,000 homes. Among them were the homes of Leonor Ccori and Emma Llanos, both of whom have been welcoming travelers for more than five years. Each house will cost $10,000 to rebuild.

Thanks to our generous travelers, many of whom have actually spent time with the Ccori and Llanos families in the very homes that were destroyed, the Foundation has exceeded our fundraising goal to help rebuild in the Sacred Valley.

Fundraising update >>
About this project >>




Help for New Zealand

On February 22nd of this year, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck the Christchurch, New Zealand, region, killing nearly 200 people and causing millions of dollars of damage. It was the second major earthquake to shake New Zealand's second-largest city in just a little over five months. It was also the fourth-deadliest natural disaster in that country's history.
After carefully considering where a donation could do the most good, Grand Circle Foundation donated $10,000 to the Salvation Army Canterbury Earthquake Appeal. Now more than four months after the magnitude-6.3 February quake—but just one month since the last serious aftershock, which, registering at 6.0, was almost equally devastating—we asked the Salvation Army for an update on their progress in Christchurch.