Nobody can take your education away

Dear Friends,

When my husband and I formed The Kellner Family Foundation, philanthropy was not an unknown quantity for us. We had been supporting education through the Nadace Educa foundation for a number of years, whose projects later became part of our family foundation. We were driven to help build a society that would strongly promote high-quality education. We wanted to support children and young people from disadvantaged environments, and strove to find a way to give them a more lasting chance to succeed in life. We were also aware that the higher levels of the educational process needed support as well.

When our own children were born we pondered, much like other parents, how we would bring them up. What schools they would attend and how to help them overcome the moments when they become aware that our material wealth is a social stigma of sorts. This is when we realized a paradox: the problems that children from rich families face when mixing with others may be very similar those of children from very poor environments. And this realization spurred in 2002 the inception of our first major philanthropy project - the formation of the Open Gate high school, which brings talented children from children’s homes and financially disadvantaged families from all over the Czech Republic together with those whose school fees are paid by their parents.

The success of Open Gate, the graduates of which, by the way, are right now attending renowned universities in the U.K. and U.S., has gradually motivated us to a broader and more systematic support to education. We later added the Universities project under which we provide grants to talented Czech students of prestigious universities, and the Helping Schools Succeed project, focused primarily on training public elementary school teachers. This gives them the chance to become the most qualified guides through the world of knowledge and to further develop children’s talent and diligence.

But it was we who mainly had to learn first. The initial attempts have grown into a sophisticated system. Today, we and our coworkers are delighted to watch dreams come true.

Our family foundation operates primarily in the Czech Republic, and we seek to support local projects. My husband and I subscribe to the principle that you should help where you work and where you therefore understand, to make sure that your help is as effective as it can be. We regard education and culture as the greatest wealth a nation can offer. We also like the fact that with the support provided through our projects, all the beneficiaries must exert their own effort to achieve their goals.

 

Renáta Kellnerová
Chair of the Board of Trustees
 
 
 
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