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2019 Annual Report

A message from our President



Sharing EARTH’s 2019 activities and achievements amidst a global crisis without precedent in our time forces us to see things from a different perspective. The COVID-19 pandemic, which is still unfolding as this report goes to press, has already caused us to change our daily routines and the way we work, learn, consume and relate to one another. At EARTH, in these times and just as we always have, we are focused on identifying new solutions and working together with our students and alumni to transform rural areas, advance food security and promote collective well-being.

This pandemic has shown us that our fate as human beings is inexorably intertwined. Our academic program and student experiences have always nurtured resilience, adaptability, innovation, empathy and solidarity. These skills are vital to address the challenges that lie ahead and to build a better future beyond the crisis. Our mission of shaping ethical leaders to build more prosperous and just societies is now more important than ever.

Before the crisis, we already knew that our food systems were failing humanity and the planet we inhabit. The adage “we are what we eat” had never made as much sense as it does today. In 2019, we stressed the need for systems transformation in order to achieve sustainable food security for all of the world’s inhabitants. We revised our academic model to ensure our students are receiving the best preparation possible as future leaders of this transformation; we strengthened our Alumni Affairs office to support our graduates in their change efforts; and through EARTH Futures, our impact platform, we developed new models and solutions for rural producers and their communities.

I am proud and inspired by the progress of the entire EARTH community that is reflected in the pages of this report. At the same time, it is also clear that the situation we face calls on each of us to make a greater contribution. Going forward, EARTH will continue to build on the sound foundation developed over the last 30 years during which we consolidated our commitment to the University’s mission. In these times of deep and lasting change, the world needs effective enlightened leaders and institutions that are committed to moving beyond the crisis and helping to shape a more inclusive and sustainable “next normal”.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped EARTH to grow and thrive over the last 30 years – our 2,400 graduates in 50 countries who work so hard to help their communities prosper and be more sustainable; our donors and strategic partners who have supported and believed in our mission; and our faculty, staff and students who have demonstrated resilience, perseverance and creativity. Together we can turn this global humanitarian crisis into an opportunity to build a better world. Our work has only just begun. Thank you all!

Arturo Condo,

Rector Arturo Condo

Our Mission
Prepare leaders with ethical values to contribute to sustainable development and to construct a prosperous and just society.
Our Vision
Our actions are mission-driven to alleviate poverty, promote social justice and build a future where our communities achieve sustainable and shared prosperity.

Vibrant rural areas are essential to the well-being of a sustainable world and to the future of humanity

EARTH University prepares leaders of change to develop new solutions for global food security.

Cover: Joseline Rosero (‘20, Ecuador) EARTH supports people’s ideas. It is one of its greatest features. The lab doors are always open for us to do research. We practice in the field and have many alternative learning spaces. This allows us to test the feasibility of our ideas and get good results.

Our students are preparing to create positive change in the world through sustainable agriculture and community development

Each year EARTH actively recruits more than 100 young leaders to join our highly experiential education program in Agricultural Sciences. During their four years at EARTH, students develop critical skills and attitudes to become effective leaders of positive change and prosperity through the core tenets of EARTH’s academic program:

Hands-on learning Community engagement Entrepreneurial innovation
75% of all academic learning occurs through hands-on training and problem-solving on issues relevant to the sustainability challenges of today and tomorrow. Students complete more than 350 hours of community service and training and spend seven weeks living in rural communities near EARTH’s La Flor campus in Guanacaste. All students receive a loan to start and operate a real business during their first two years at EARTH.

We believe that ethical and well-prepared leaders are essential to ensure food security, greater prosperity and environmental regeneration in rural communities, especially in developing countries

Our Academic Program

A glimpse into 2019

Since our founding, EARTH developed a unique and integrated academic model based on experiential learning. Using this model, we have trained and educated thousands of enlightened leaders for the world. In the field and in the classrooms, we work to ensure our students gain the knowledge, values, skills and attitudes they need to address global issues and create effective solutions. In 2019, we updated our graduate profile to include a focus on the use of science and technology to drive sustainable rural development.

Revising our graduate profile was a vital trigger to help us adapt our academic program to the skills and competencies that our world requires, especially during these challenging times. With this in mind, our main lines of action focus on promoting food security, sustainability and collective wellbeing.

Graduate Profile

At Villa Las Orquídeas, Juanita Loaiza and Oswaldo Calvo produce spices, fruit and dairy products from goats. Our students have worked together with them to improve their pasture, apply sustainable pest control techniques, improve financial management and strengthen social ties. EARTH’s educational model helps build integrated and solid connections between and among students, producers and local leaders.

Our Alumni: Our Future

2,400+ graduates from 50 countries

In recent surveys, employers and community members recognize EARTH alumni for their strong leadership skills, solid technical knowledge, and their commitment to environmental sustainability, social justice and values.

82% of graduates are back in their home countries catalyzing positive change

During 2019, the Alumni Affairs Office focused on:

Consolidating its operation as part of the President’s Office and establishing a work plan and strategy. Strengthening collaboration with governance bodies like the President’s Alumni Advisory Board, which aims to provide strategic support to the President through the eyes and experiences of graduates and to put forward ideas and proposals that help to strengthen the University.
Strengthening communication, actions and joint work with alumni associations (AGEARTHs) in different countries around the world.
Supporting greater participation of graduates in the Admissions process.

EARTH Futures: The Future of Food

There is abundant evidence that our current food systems are failing us as humans and the planet we inhabit – new solutions are urgently needed. EARTH Futures is the University’s impact platform, which seeks to grow EARTH’s contribution toward a healthy, inclusive and sustainable future of food and to strengthen the role that rural producers and communities in developing regions will play in this effort. During 2019, EARTH Futures advanced with multiple efforts:

Education for Leadership Program

This program works toward the transformation of agricultural education in developing regions in order to promote a new generation of young leaders equipped to transform our global food systems in the face of population growth, climate change and endemic rural poverty. In 2019, we continued working with our longstanding partner RUFORUM, a network of more than 100 African universities, to strengthen their academic programs via greater focus on entrepreneurship and community development as core pillars to more sustainable food systems. Specifically, EARTH Futures expanded efforts with two additional universities in Uganda, Busitema University and Ugandan Christian University.

We are grateful for the engagement and support of our institutional partners and donors and to our local community partners, whose wisdom guides us in the solutions we seek to co-develop and whose resolve and leadership inspire us in all our work.

Developing Solutions Program

This program works to develop, test and scale new solutions to critical challenges in rural areas, where 70% of global food production is led by small farmers. One such challenge is that current food production systems are contributing to severe environmental degradation and biodiversity loss in rural areas and are threatening climate stability and ecosystem resilience globally. As an innovative response, EARTH Futures and our partners helped formalize the Rio Parismina Biological Corridor – comprised by over 80,000 acres with important rivers and biodiversity – and to promote alternatives for sustainable livelihoods alternatives and environmental awareness among local communities. Furthermore, in alliance with Fundación CRUSA, EARTH Futures developed an innovative training program and technical tools to strengthen climate adaptation and resilience practices among small farmers in climate-vulnerable regions. Finally, in alliance with Costa Rica’s Development Bank (SBD), our Precision Agriculture Center worked to consolidate a model using precision agriculture technologies to support small and medium farmers in sustainable farm management, through an informed and efficient use of land and water resources and agricultural inputs.

Renewed Partnership with Mastercard Foundation

EARTH deeply appreciates our longstanding partnership with the Mastercard Foundation. 2019 was an important year, as we agreed to develop our collaboration with several exciting new components:

Mastercard Foundation will support a total of 125 new scholarships through the graduating class of 2028. Seventy-five percent of these scholarships will support African students, and 75% will support women. There will also be a rigorous effort to recruit students from refugee communities in both Latin America and Africa.

In addition, we are partnering on an exciting new Fellowship Program, developed to enhance and facilitate the transition of African students back to their home countries and communities as successful professionals and entrepreneurs. This competitive program will provide graduates with a modest stipend, mentoring and other services to support their transition following graduation. Through EARTH’s strong network of African partners, EARTH plans to offer graduates attractive opportunities along four possible tracks:

  • Agricultural Employment
  • Agricultural Education
  • Agricultural Innovation through Science and Research
  • Agricultural Entrepreneurship

Finally, a third new component of the partnership includes the development of a series of online resources, focused on entrepreneurship, to support graduate entrepreneurs from EARTH as well as Mastercard Foundation partner institutions.

These new components align with EARTH’s strategic plan to grow the University’s overall impact by providing increased resources and support to our graduates in their role as change agents for a better world.

Funding Our Growth

2019 Financial Results for EARTH University Operations

Careful stewardship of resources, together with growth in charitable gifts and commercial activities, are contributing to a healthy financial picture that enables us to fulfill our mission.

EARTH University Operational Budget
2019 Financial Results
(in thousands of US dollars)

Fund Sources 2019
Tuition payments and donations $9,842
Other income (Commercial Activities and other) $2,073
EARTH Endowment $9,668
Total: $21,584
Expenses 2019
Compensation and benefits for personnel $14,143
Operational expenses $6,964
Equipment investment and replacement $459
Contingencies $18
Total: $21,584

Revenue Sources (%)

EARTH University Foundation

From its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, the EARTH University Foundation – a registered 501 (c)(3) public charity – provides vital funding for EARTH’s educational mission, programs and projects thanks to generous gifts from a global community of supporters.

EARTH University Foundation
Statement of Financial Position
December 31, 2019
Assets 2019
Cash and cash equivalents $2,076,165
Pledge receivable, net $4,345,743
Endowment and other investments $75,311,018
Other assets $636,876
Total assets $82,369,802
Liabilities and net assets 2019
Liabilities $380,940
Net assets $81,988,862
Total liabilities and net assets $82,369,802

EARTH University Foundation
Statement of Functional Expenses
Year Ended December 31, 2019
Programs Fundraising Administrative Total Expenses
Scholarships $4,871,839 $4,871,839
Project and Program Expense $1,018,821 $1,018,821
Foundation Operations $294,244 $704,800 $532,408 $1,531,452
Total $6,184,904 $704,800 $532,408 $7,422,112

Our Donors

We recognize and appreciate the generous support of the following donors whose gifts were received in 2019, with special thanks to those whose lifetime giving exceeds US$1 million. These individuals, businesses, foundations, governments and international organizations make our mission possible.

Lifetime Gifts > $1,000,000

Anonymous (1)
A.G. Leventis Foundation
Agencia Sueca de Cooperación -Internacional
BAC Credomatic
Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo – Fondo Japonés
Jane and Dameron Black III
The Cummins Foundation
Fundación CRUSA
Fundación Simón I. Patiño

Instituto para Formación -Aprovechamiento de Recursos -Humanos
Kalsec, Inc.
Katherine John Murphy Foundation
Mastercard Foundation
Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas de -Panamá
Moore Family Foundation
Karin and Mark Ohrstrom
Onward & Upward Initiative: A Charitable -Trust
Open Society Foundations
Porticus Latin America
Denny† and Tim Solso
Standard Fruit Company
U.S. Department of Energy
W. K. Kellogg Foundation
WEM Foundation

Most EARTH graduates have shown to be professionals with strong ethical values, who share the knowledge gained at EARTH with their countries and communities, to support sustainable livelihoods and a natural environment and generate peace, progress and well-being, not just for individuals, but for a better world.” – Ana Regina Aguirre De Riojas Donor and Member of the EARTH University Board of Directors


Mastercard Foundation


Anonymous (1)
Anne H. Bass †
Barbara and Ivor Freeman
W. K. Kellogg Foundation
WEM Foundation

$100,000 - $249,999

Anonymous (1)
A.G. Leventis Foundation
Samantha S. Bass
The Butler Foundation
The Coca-Cola Foundation
The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation
FiveTogether Foundation
Kalsec, Inc.
Katherine John Murphy Foundation
Gerald A. and Karen A. Kolschowsky
Foundation, Inc.
Lee and Peter Fund
Catherine and Mark McGahan
Adrienne Meisel and Rand Sparling
Moore Family Foundation
George L. Ohrstrom Jr. Foundation
Karin and Mark Ohrstrom
Charles R. O’Malley Charitable Lead Trust
SSB Charitable Corporation
The Wege Foundation

$50,000 - $99,999

Americana Foundation
Claire Lewis Arnold and H. R. Arnold III
Marisa and Mark Brenninkmeyer
Fundación Simón I. Patiño
Hoffman-Brouse Foundation
Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture of Belize
The Ohrstrom Foundation, Inc.
Programa Presidencial de Becas
Honduras 20/20
The Sustainability Laboratory Inc.

$25,000 - $49,999

Anonymous (1)
BAC Credomatic
Banco Davivienda (Costa Rica) S.A.
Jean Blackwell and Kimberly Williams
The Edward Colston Foundation Inc.
Fundación Poligrow
LB Foreningen
Ministerio de Educación Superior, Ciencia y Tecnología – RD
Dr. Khan Nedd – WKKF Trustee
Advised Fund
Sally and Ken Ohrstrom
Tides-Andrew Family Fund
Kirstie and David Timar

$15,000 - $24,999

Anonymous (3)
Jane and Dameron Black III
Edna Wardlaw Charitable Trust
Jessie Harris and George Cunningham
Ingenio Taboga
Gerry Ohrstrom
Porticus Latin America
The Trio Foundation of St. Louis

$10,000 - $14,999

Ana Regina Aguirre De Riojas
Diane and Kent Alexander
Azucarera El Viejo
Ball Corporation
Magalen Bryant
Journey Charitable Foundation
Kathleen S. Brooks Family Foundation, Inc.
Ann Kerr
Mammel Foundation
Osael Maroto Martínez
Barbara McGahan
Tracey Robertson-Carter
and Christopher Carter
Francisco Serrano
Rebecca Wood

$5,000 - $9,999

Anonymous (1)
Accenture Costa Rica
Elyse and Joshua Arnow
Auto Mercado S.A.
Micki and Michael Besancon
Central Azucarero de Alanje, S.A.
Arturo Condo and Leonor Gutiérrez Fernández
Laura Frey and Erico Gomes
Duvall and J. Rex Fuqua
Erika González-Akre and Thomas Akre
Seaboard Overseas and Trading Group
Susan and Richard Vander Veen III


Kathy and G. Niles Bolton
Marilyn and Allan Brown
Janet Eastridge
Helene Harding and Patrick Briggs
Emanuela and Ali Hedayat
Debra and Douglas Highsmith / Dorfman-Pacific Company, Inc.
Christine and Jon Hoek
The Isaf Family Foundation, Inc.
Pat and Bobby Moser
Mehmet Ozbek
Jeanine and Guy Saperstein
Faith Vruggink and Victor Sánchez


Beca Semilla Graduados Guatemala
Kay Betts and John Sibley
Black Dog Foundation
Kristina and Michael Caplin
Michael Christodoulou
Diane and Richard Clark
Empresa Comercial del Pacífico S.A.
Elma Goduto and Tim Conlon
F. Martin and Dorothy A. Johnson Family Fund
Theresa Fulton and Steven Tanksley
Janet Haines
Tracy and Scott Hoover
Bobbo Jetmundsen
Gina and Rich Kelley
Jayne Lipman and Bob Goodman
Louise and David Lutton
Mary and Wesley Maurer
Sharon Pauli
Anne and Gustavo Puente
Meridith Rentz and Dean Baker
Susan Z. Ritz, Larsen Fund
Lisa and Charles Siegel
Judy and Rick Smith
Tim Statler
Robert Van Den Brink
Amy and Andrew Vaughn
Diana Wege
Margaret and Terry Wittenberg
Randi S. N. Yoder and Michael J. Henley

Our Internship Hosts

We thank the following corporations and institutions around the world who hosted our third-year students as interns in 2019. The Internship helps our students build critical leadership skills and networks, while deepening their knowledge and giving them the opportunity to apply the skills developed at EARTH in a professional setting.

Advanced Farm Technologies, JA LTD
Agrícola El Cántaro
Agro Monteroga
Agropecuaria Las Pilas SA
Alia2 S.A.
Alimentos Congelados S.A.
Associação dos Bananicultores de Corupá (Asbanco)
British Tobacco Company (BAT)
Café Perú París SA de CV
Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE)
Citrofrut Agrícola (Grupo Citrofrut S.A. de C.V.)
Consultorías Especializadas G&G, S.A.
Corporación PRO S.A.
Costa Nursery Farms
Cruz Roja Ecuatoriana
Delaware State University
Desarrollo Rural y Medio Ambiente A.C.
Dole Food Company
ECOSUR, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur Unidad Campeche
ESPOL (Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral)
GBT Global Ltda
Federación Comercializadora de Café Especial en Guatemala (FECCEG)
Finca Madre Tierra
Finca Orgánica Klelia Irlanda
PermaTree SuperFoods S.A.
Freedom in Creation
Frutilla San Pedro Melipilla
Frutas Selectas S.A, Frutsesa
Fundación La Iguana
Fundación Pedro y Elena Hernández A.C.
Ganadera Riggioni Romero
Granja Orgánica El Motilón
Grasslands Research Station
Gredos San Diego Sociedad
Cooperativa Madrileña
Grupo Xcaret
Hacienda Tempisque S.A.
Cooperativa de Usuários do Freixo do Meio, Crl
Instituto Hondureño del Café (IHCAFE)
Industrias Lacteas Toni S.A.
Instituto de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias (México)
Instituto de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria (IRTA)
Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Hopelchen (ITSH)
Kaiima Bio-agritech Ltd.
Kalimajari Foundation
Kalsec, Inc.
Kendall Farms
Kibbutz YAGUR
La Hammonia y Cía, Ltda
Unión de Productores Maya Vinic
Moonstone Farm

Our Boards and Senior Leadership*

EARTH University Board of Directors

Tim Solso, Chairman
Alan Kelso, Vice Chairman
Pedro León, Secretary
Ana Regina Aguirre de Riojas
Anne Slaughter Andrew
Bobby Moser
Dele Olojede
Franklin Chang-Díaz
Francis Durman
Marisa Brenninkmeyer
Mark Brouse
Isabel Abreu
† Eduardo King Carr
† Glen Taggart
† Hernán Fonseca
† José Elías Sánchez
† Jorge Manuel Dengo O.
† Luis Alberto Monge
† Norman A. Brown
† Rodolfo Cortés R.
† Salvador Alemany

EARTH University Foundation Board of Trustees

Mark S. Brouse, Chairman
Mark McGahan, Treasurer
Erika González-Akre, Secretary
Adrienne Meisel
Claire “Yum” Arnold
Christopher Carter
Gustavo Manrique
Gustavo Puente
Ian Davidson
Jane C. Black
Lynn Hoffman-Brouse
Mark Ohrstrom
Michael Besançon
Ross Arnold
Tracy Hoover
Samuel Kaymen
Charlotte S. Metcalf

EARTH University Board of Trustees

Alan Kelso
Anne Slaughter Andrew
Francis Durman
Mark Brouse

Tim Solso

Executive Team

Arturo Condo, President

Yanine Chan, Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Emily Fintel Kaiser, Acting Executive Director of EARTH Futures and Strategic Advisor to the President

Meridith Rentz, Vice President of Global Development & Executive Director of the EARTH University Foundation

Paula Robert, Executive Director of the EARTH Trust

Patricia Loría, Vice President of Finance

Ramón González, Vice President of Operations

Alexa Glo, Director for the President’s Office and Board Relations

*At the end of 2019