Our mission

Our mission is to provide the poorest children of Costa Rica with schools, resources and ongoing support to ensure they have the best opportunity for a middle-class education.

School Improvement


In each institution a clean, orderly and visually attractive environment has been established, with sufficient classrooms, covered recreational zones and green areas. Classrooms, gymnasiums and other facilities have been constructed. Retaining and protective walls have been built to provide a safe environment for the children.

Scholarships of Excellence for Outstanding Students

Students attend a private high school with all expenses paid. These are pupils who have graduated with the best grades from primary schools supported by the foundation

Educational Support Fund

Resources have been provided to enable socially-disadvantaged students to remain in school by providing them with uniforms, shoes, transportation, meals, and school materials. In addition, we have sponsored sports, arts and academic programs developed by teachers.

Technological Advancement

Multimedia Resource Centers and Computer Laboratories have been created and equipped with the aim of allowing teachers and pupils access to the learning opportunities that technology offers. In addition, we have promoted and sponsored school science fairs.

Organization of Educational Field Trips

The children have had their first opportunities to visit museums, industries, and nature, geological and zoological parks.

Camps Promoting Spiritual Values

Students can attend two-day camps where games and time dedicated to reflection help them to think about their spirituality.

Classes in Ethics

Scholarship students receive monthly courses designed to give them the tools necessary to develop an internal code of ethics. This course lasts the full five years of secondary education and is taught by our Executive Director, Gustavo Vega.


James Locke
Founder of EDUCAR


Latest Foundation News

Project to provide internet access to low-income pupils

Education has been one of the activities most affected by the global health crisis. Hundreds of thousands of students around the world have had limited access to classes. Costa Rica is no exception as the lack of electronic devices and internet connection has prevented many students from accessing online lessons. The foundation has helped provide tablets and internet services to various groups of students at San Luis School to enable them to carry out tasks, watch explanatory videos and connect to online classes.

Foundation provides basic food

The Educar Foundation has always sought to provide fundamental educational support, catering to the various needs that can affect the quality of children’s learning. The socioeconomic effects of the pandemic have meant it is even more important to focus on this since many families have lost their sources of income. As such, during this time the foundation has been providing basic food bags to vulnerable family groups.

Scholarship students graduate from university

Two students who graduated from the program of Scholarships for Excellence have completed their university studies. Mari Cruz González and Braulio Godínez obtained Bachelors Degrees in Accounting. Both came from San Luis School, in the community of Carrillos Bajo de Poás. We congratulate them on their continued professional progress.

What We've Accomplished


A small foundation can make the most difference where the chances of success are greatest. In short, the government has proved its commitment to education through investment and training; Costa Rica has the longest running ongoing democracy in Latin America; families and communities are active participants in the education of their children.

The government. The government of Costa Rica commits 6 % of its GNP to public education. (As a frame of reference, the Dominican Republic contributes 1% – 2 %) However, Costa Rica is a third world country and lacks additional financial resources to subsidize schools in the poorest communities.

Political stability. Costa Rica does not have an army. Since 1948, Costa Rica has been stable, in contrast to some neighboring countries.

Families and communities. Through personal sacrifice and organized community fundraisers, families prove their ongoing commitment to education.

School directors and teachers. In contrast to neighboring countries, school directors and teachers in Costa Rica are trained and qualified educators; money does not need to be invested in teacher training.

About Us

Established in 2003, Fundación Educar was founded by James Locke. After researching the educational systems of several countries, Locke found Costa Rica to be a very good investment. Locke appointed Gustavo Vega as the foundation's Executive Director and together they developed a series of plans and programs that constitute an integrated model of improvement in the quality of public education in Costa Rica. Further research and visits with school principals, faculty, and students led the Educar Foundation to choose Santa Rita and Itiquís as its first two schools.

Over the years, the Educar Foundation has invested in 14 schools across Costa Rica. Each school has a different story and a different set of problems; despite this, staff and students of these schools have benefited considerably from the resources that Educar has provided.

James Locke, Founder

His business acumen, first-hand experience in Latin America and belief in the connection between education and economics led Mr. Locke to create Educar. After college, he joined the Peace Corps for two years in Venezuela. He has a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and was a Ford Foundation fellow, which took him to Peru, where he taught university students and advised the government in economic affairs. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program, was a successful businessman, and was managing director at an investment banking firm.

Gustavo Vega, Executive Director

Mr. Vega’s experience as both an educator and a theologian brings to Educar the love of learning essential for the success of each school and its students. As a young volunteer, he translated for foreign medical teams during Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua and coordinated wheelchair donations for project Mobility, and as a missionary, ministered to four congregations. Mr. Vega has worked as a pedagogical advisor for the development of emotional intelligence in children, and as a University Professor. Mr. Vega has a B.A. in Theology and a Master’s degree in Education, with teaching emphasis.


The Educar Foundation has seen the success of its work first-hand. Without aid for a decent education, without the guidance and mentoring children so desperately need, life for these kids is all but predetermined. But your commitment, in partnership with Educar and the school community, can ensure their futures are bright and successful.

To date, Educar has invested almost $2,000,000 to improve the schools and lives of Costa Rican children. The Locke family's initial investment of $1,000,000 is a commitment to the future of Educar.

You can tour Educar schools and those waiting for funding.
Educar Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax deductible.

For more information, please contact Gustavo Vega at info@educarfoundation.org

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Contact information

Gustavo Vega
+506 8879-9240