Bless the Mind Foundation (BTM) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which originally began in 2005 as The Cebu Project. The project’s objective was to improve a Philippine high school’s library and computer lab. Those who were directly involved in the initial efforts saw the great need of educational resources in the Philippines after having visited Sangat National High School (SNHS), located in the rural community of Sangat, San Fernando, Cebu. For a high school of 1200 students, the library only had two bookshelves, with most of its books dating from the 1970s. The computer lab had ten computers, most of which were non-functional. Hundreds of individuals from California – politicians, media, high schools, public libraries, and small businesses – contributed to the effort. In the first year, over 250 boxes of books and thirty-two computers were donated to SNHS. With the monetary support, BTM was able to finance the shipping and handling, computer repair and set-up, new bookshelves, new desks, and other essential items. The enthusiasm shown from the Cebu Project’s contributors and supporters led to sending a second round of donations in May 2008. Through the assistance of our partner, Dole Food Co. in Atwater, California, Bless the Mind sent four 40-foot shipping containers full of books, computers, and other educational resources to the Philippines. It was also during this time that the founders of the Cebu Project wanted to help develop the students financially.
In 2009, Bless the Mind launched its Scholarship Program, with the mission to fund graduating seniors to pursue higher education in a college, university, or vocational school. Since fully implementing the program in 2010, BTM has distributed sixty college scholarships, forty five of which are four-year scholarships. In just five years, over $ 104,365 have been pledged by sponsors.
In addition to providing financial assistance, we also encourage our scholars to give back to their communities through public service. Each summer before BTM scholars start the new academic school year, they complete at least 80 hours of community service. Our scholars have served through cleanup of public grounds, volunteering at community events, and working with elementary school children.