Thank you for helping us grow!

2020 Annual Report A Resilient EARTH

A message from our President

“The year our university celebrated 30 years of working for a world where dignity, inclusion and sustainability prevail, was the same year in which we felt, more than ever, that EARTH is the change the world needs.”

Arturo Condo
President of EARTH University

Voices of Resilience

Jorge Barahona, Student Affairs Counselor

“Mental health is a constant construct. In Student Affairs, we are always looking to improve by finding the best ways to interpret and channel the concerns of our students. The key is to listen respectfully to the different realities of each student. That exercise has allowed us to connect in a more authentic way during this pandemic."

José Cristino Melgar, Faculty Member

“The main challenge was to teach virtually. It was a major challenge for two reasons: first, because under normal conditions many class activities were done in the laboratory or in the fields, and with COVID I had to teach them virtually using photographs, and second, because I didn’t have much knowledge or skills using virtual platforms. In the end, the classes went well and it was an enriching experience.”

Irmino Perera, Director of Student Affairs

“The main challenge was to sensitize and engage students with the measures we had to take in order to successfully guarantee the two priority objectives we had set for the University: to ensure the health of our community and to continue with the Academic Program."

Brenda Chi, Student, Class of 2021, Cameroon

“For me, one of the most difficult challenges was not being able to visit the communities; however, I have learned to take advantage of the confinement and have trained myself to use social media as a tool to educate others and to have a greater social impact. This helped me develop “My African Womanhood”, an entrepreneurship project for sustainable menstrual health for African girls and women.

Karol Villalobos, Nurse

“The pandemic had a strong impact on the whole world, but it also became an opportunity to adapt, bring out the best in us and be creative in the search for solutions. Each member of our medical team has come up with ideas to adjust to the "new normal". We have to wear protective equipment, be technologically savvy, smile through a mask, listen to our users and support them in the midst of fear and uncertainty. The camaraderie, fellowship and commitment of everyone at Servicios Médicos has allowed this battle against the virus to be a challenge that we face with hope.”

Our Academic Program

"This crisis has given us new tools to work with in our Academic Program, and as the saying goes: one who doesn’t learn from a crisis misses a great opportunity."

Yanine Chan
Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs

EARTH in Numbers

“EARTH Needs You”
Alumni Solidarity Campaign

Amid the compounding complications of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, EARTH University alumni sought to uplift. We witnessed an amazing act of solidarity among our 28 graduate cohorts: they created an alumni-led fundraising campaign to support the next generation of change agents - and it exceeded all expectations!

US$ 335,546.50 raised

The funds donated by alumni, their families, friends and organizations were matched by an anonymous donor. They will provide partial scholarships to 6 students from the class of 2021-2024 and a seed fund for the 2021 alumni campaign.

Donations were received from:






of alumni (1162)

Our Graduates, Our Future

Terence Fuschich
Class of 1998, Honduras

Terence is the creator and president of the COHONDUCAFE Foundation, a non-profit organization whose main objective is to promote the sustainability and development of coffee-growing communities in Honduras. Thanks to the work of the Foundation, 24,000 families (140,000 people) have benefited from training and technical assistance. Nine educational centers and three libraries have been built and more than 240,000 school kits have been delivered to children. In addition, the Foundation has established more than 30 alliances and co-investment agreements with international coffee buyers, cooperation agencies, NGOs, universities, government institutions, and private enterprises, among others.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Terence has worked together with NESTLÉ to provide virtual courses on training and coffee quality aimed at young people. The entire team he leads has adapted to provide online technical assistance to producers in coffee-growing areas in Honduras.

"At EARTH, we are motivated to return to our countries after graduation to take our knowledge back to improve the social, environmental and agricultural conditions in our regions. This is what motivated me to start COHONDUCAFE Foundation, to give all my knowledge to my country, my sector and my people".

Sylvia Natukunda
Class of 2003, Uganda

Sylvia was one of the first Africans to graduate from EARTH. In 2013, she materialized her dream of becoming an entrepreneur and founded Farm Reap, a company that has two business areas: environmental consultancies to maximize the potential of different projects, and the production of top quality yogurt in Kampala, Uganda. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she adapted to unexpected changes to sustain her business and increase the pace of production and sales.

As one of the 2020 winners of the Growing Women's Entrepreneurship (GroWE) award through the Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation program, she received mentoring and created partnerships to help Farm Reap grow even more in a time of global crisis.

“Education at EARTH has shaped me and allowed me to realize that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. It has also provided me with the tools to investigate, adapt, help others and be resilient under any circumstance ”.

EARTH Futures
New Solutions in Rural Communities

With generous support from the Walmart Foundation, EARTH Futures - the global solutions center of EARTH University - is developing a support model to strengthen small producers in Costa Rica and Guatemala through precision agriculture and improved access to markets.

“The Walmart Foundation is pleased to support EARTH, a leading global agriculture university with a diverse, highly skilled alumni network, student and teaching body. The regional design and reach of the program will transfer and build essential skills for more sustainable production systems, introduce new buyers and markets, with the end goal of increasing farmer livelihoods.” - The Walmart Foundation, philanthropic funder, “Innovation in Agriculture” grant program for Costa Rica and Guatemala.

10 great things that
happened in 2020

EARTH Futures

Our innovative solution center trained hundreds of smallholder farmers and is expanding our community impact beyond Costa Rica and Guatemala.

New fellowship program

Launched in partnership with Mastercard Foundation to support graduates transition to change agents for Africa. Our inaugural cohort included 17 fellows from 7 African countries.

Spanish program

26 students from Africa, Haiti, and Brazil completed EARTH's full-immersion Spanish program virtually in the fall and joined the class of 2021-2024 in January ready to begin classes in Spanish.

Virtual Learning-by-doing model

We quickly adapted to virtual mode in March and re-introduced partial in-person learning in July with rigorous safety protocols, completing the year with no loss of learning.

Extremely generous friends and supporters

One highlight: 46% of EARTH alumni donated in 2020!

Class of 2020

Students graduated with a socially-distanced outdoor ceremony, cheered on by friends and family around the world via Facebook Live. For the second time in EARTH University history, we graduated more women than men.

Class of 2021 - 2024

Thanks to a successful virtual admissions process, we welcomed a full class of 119 young leaders in January, from 26 countries, including our first student from DCR and 6 students recruited from refugee communities.

High-tech fertigation research and innovation lab

EARTH launched a successful lab in its campus, combining fertilization and irrigation with precision agriculture to increase yield while decreasing resource use and environmental impact.

The Sustainability Prize

Three EARTH students won The Sustainability Prize and $10,000 in seed money for their LlamaBrick project to address both waste and pollution issues by sourcing low-pollution paper briquettes from sawdust and community paper waste.

Did you know you can find EARTH bananas at Whole Foods?

EARTH continued our successful commercial banana operation with new COVID safety protocols.


2020 Financial Results for EARTH University

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.

Operational Budget
2020 Financial Results
(in thousands of US dollars)
Fund Sources
Grants $ 9,054
Tuition paid by students $ 1,937
Other Income (Commercial Activities and other) $ 1,392
EARTH Endowment $ 7,938
Total $ 20,322
Salaries and benefits for personnel $ 14,521
Operating Expenses $ 5,278
Equipment $ 480
Contigencies $ 42
Total $ 20,322

How our budget is financed
(in percentage)

  • Grants 44%
  • EARTH Endowment 39%
  • Tuition paid by students 10%
  • Crops and other income 7%

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.

Statement of Financial Position
December 31, 2020
Cash and Cash Equivalents $2,674,116
Pledge Receivable, net $2,833,015
Endowment and Other Investments $75,347,945
Other Assets $655,547
Total Assets $81,510,623
Liabilities and Net Assets
Liabilities $576,919
Net Assets $80,933,704
Total Liabilities and Net Assets $ 81,510,623
EARTH University Foundation
Year Ended December 31, 2020
Programs Fundraising Administrative Total Expenses
Scholarships $ 4,914,875 $ 0 $ 0 $ 4,914,875
Project and Program Expense $2,323,875 $ 0 $ 0 $ 2,323,875
Foundation Operations $ 295,694 $ 707,507 $ 511,030 $ 1,514,231
TOTAL EXPENSES $ 7,534,444 $ 707,507 $ 511,030 $ 8,752,981

Our Donors

We recognize and appreciate the generous support of the following donors whose gifts were received in 2020, with special thanks to those whose lifetime giving exceeds US$1 million. These individuals, businesses, foundations, governments and international organizations make our mission possible.

    • Anonymous (2)
    • A.G. Leventis Foundation
    • Agencia Sueca de Cooperación Internacional
    • Banco BAC San José S.A.
    • Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo – Fondo Japonés
    • Jane and Dameron Black III
    • The Cummins Foundation
    • Fundación CRUSA
    • Fundación Simón I. Patiño
    • Instituto para la Formación y Aprovechamiento de Recursos Humanos
    • Kalsec, Inc.
    • Katherine John Murphy Foundation
    • Mastercard Foundation
    • Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas de Panamá
    • Moore Family Foundation
    • NORAD
    • Karin and Mark Ohrstrom
    • Onward & Upward Initiative: A Charitable Trust
    • Open Society Foundations
    • Standard Fruit Company
    • U.S. Department of Energy
    • W. K. Kellogg Foundation
    • The Wege Foundation
    • WEM Foundation
    • † Denny and Tim Solso

Gifts received in 2020

    • Mastercard Foundation
    • Anonymous (1)
    • Barbara and Ivor Freeman
    • Kalsec, Inc.
    • W. K. Kellogg Foundation
    • The Walmart Foundation
    • Anonymous (1)
    • A.G. Leventis Foundation
    • Banco de Desarrollo Rural S.A.
    • † Anne H. Bass
    • The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation
    • Five Together Foundation
    • Luiza Angélica Barata Russo and Ewaldo Mario Kuhlmann Russo
    • Moore Family Foundation
    • Karin and Mark Ohrstrom
    • Charles R. O'Malley Charitable Lead Trust
    • Starbucks Corporation
    • The Wege Foundation
    • AGEARTH Ecuador
    • JSA Sustainable Wealth Management
    • Gerald A. and Karen A. Kolschowsky Foundation, Inc.
    • Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology of Belize
    • Katherine John Murphy Foundation
    • Tracey Robertson-Carter and Christopher Carter
    • Schnieders Family Foundation
    • Anonymous (3)
    • The Americana Foundation
    • Claire Lewis Arnold and H. R. Arnold III
    • Banco Davivienda (Costa Rica) S.A.
    • Jean Blackwell and Kimberly Williams
    • The Butler Foundation
    • The Edward Colston Foundation Inc.
    • Duwest Inc.
    • Janet Haines
    • Jessie M. Harris and George Cunningham
    • Hoffman-Brouse Foundation
    • LB Foreningen
    • Lee and Peter Fund
    • Mark McGahan
    • Adrienne Meisel and Rand Sparling
    • Dr. Khan Nedd – WKKF Trustee Advised Fund
    • The Ohrstrom Foundation, Inc.
    • George L. Ohrstrom Jr. Foundation
    • Sally and Ken Ohrstrom
    • Patagonia Provisions
    • SSB Charitable Corporation
    • Anonymous (2)
    • Elyse and Joshua Arnow
    • Banco BAC San José S.A.
    • Jane and Dameron Black III
    • Marisa and Mark Brenninkmeyer
    • Laura Frey and Erico Gomes
    • Fundación Enlasa
    • Programa Presidencial de Becas Honduras 20/20
    • The Trio Foundation of St. Louis
    • Edna Wardlaw Charitable Trust
    • Jeannie Wright
    • Azucarera El Viejo
    • Kathleen S. Brooks Family Foundation, Inc.
    • † Magalen Bryant
    • Journey Charitable Foundation
    • Ann Kerr
    • Mammel Foundation
    • Osael Maroto Martínez
    • Ministerio de Educación Superior, Ciencia and Tecnología - RD
    • Pontes de Arrpal, S.A.
    • The Sustainability Laboratory Inc.
    • Anonymous (1)
    • Auto Mercado S.A.
    • Janet Eastridge
    • Empresa Comercial del Pacífico S.A. (ECOPACIFIC)
    • Frieda's Specialty Produce
    • Erika González-Akre and Thomas Akre
    • Emanuela and Ali Hedayat
    • The Isaf Family Foundation, Inc.
    • Alan Kelso
    • Susan and Richard Vander Veen III
    • Allan Acosta Castro
    • Arturo Condo and Leonor Gutiérrez Fernández
    • Elma Goduto and Tim Conlon
    • Helene Harding and Patrick Briggs
    • Sharon Pauli
    • Jeanine and Guy Saperstein
    • U.S. Embassy - San José, Costa Rica
    • Faith Vruggink and Victor Sánchez
    • Rebecca Wood
    • Anonymous (1)
    • Beca Oswaldo Guzmán (2018-2021)
    • Micki and Michael Besancon
    • Kay Betts and John Sibley
    • Black Dog Foundation
    • Kathy and G. Niles Bolton
    • Bufete Alternativo S.A.
    • C.H. Robinson Worldwide
    • Jorge Campos Guzmán
    • Kristina and Michael Caplin
    • Angélica Cocha Barros
    • Wendy and Hugh Durden
    • Theresa Fulton and Steven Tanksley
    • Marco González Vargas
    • Ricardo Guzmán Leonardo
    • Christine and Jon Hoek
    • Bobbo Jetmundsen
    • F. Martin and Dorothy A. Johnson Family Fund
    • Gina and Rich Kelley
    • Patricia Loría Madrigal and Luis Chacón Menéndez
    • Louise and David Lutton
    • Juan Morales Arreaga
    • Pat and Bobby Moser
    • Tracy Nájar González
    • Marjory Newell
    • Annika and Will Paradise
    • Patricia Pérez Siemon and Ramón González Quirós
    • Edwin Pimentel
    • Meridith Rentz and Dean Baker
    • Enrique Reyes Benavides
    • Francis Reyes Laínez
    • Fernando Saravia Timeus
    • Sun Products International S.A.
    • Karla Vargas and Gustavo Pinoargote
    • Amy and Andrew Vaughn
    • Diana Wege
    • Margaret and Terry Wittenberg
    • Randi S. N. Yoder and Michael J. Henley

Our Boards and Senior Leadership in 2020


Thank you for believing in EARTH’s mission, for helping us to identify opportunities amidst the crisis, and for your steadfast support of EARTH and our work during a time of unprecedented challenges.

Download PDF