Dallas New Headquarters for Montessori Global Growth Fund

Wednesday 10th February 2021

What began a decade ago as the focus of Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in Amsterdam - to spread Montessori educational principles worldwide - has launched a spin-off organization in the United States, with a new name and expanded mission - Montessori Global Growth Fund (MGGF). Remaining a non-profit, 501(c )(3), MGGF seeks to increase social and racial equity around the world by funding Montessori schools in underserved communities.

Founded in 1907 by Italy’s first female physician, Dr. Maria Montessori, the Montessori educational process is based on methods of scientific observation of children’s learning processes. Currently there are more than 20,000 Montessori schools worldwide, educating children from birth through age 18. In the United States there are now some 4,500 Montessori schools, according to the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association.

MGGF, under the leadership of President Eleanor W. Latimer, operates worldwide to fulfill these tenets:

  • Every child deserves access to education
  • A Montessori education applies to all children regardless of culture
  • MGGF seeks to fulfill children’s right to education around the globe, particularly in underserved communities 

How MGGF Has Grown
MGGF (formerly as a function of AMI) has roots in the 2018 decision between the Montessori Institute of North Texas (MINT) and AMI to transition to funding underserved Montessori schools around the globe.  Starting off with $7,600 in funding in 2019, MGGF to date has raised more than $150,000 worldwide through grants and general contributions. One of its largest contributions came May 1, 2020, from The Joen Bettmann Primary Training of Trainers Fund from the estate of the late Joen Bettmann, a beloved trainer of Montessori teachers. Now MGGF, plus AMI and Educateurs sans Frontieres (EsF) are collaborating to raise sufficient funds to train five to seven more primary teachers for East Pokot, Kenya.

First Five Initiatives

Already, donors from around the world have made such a difference by funding five global initiatives—two in South Africa, one in Kenya and one in St. Louis, Mo. In 2020 the first MGGF grant went to Ncinci Ones Montessori School in Eastern Cape, South Africa, to build a badly needed solar toilet facility for elementary students
and their teachers. Then a second grant went to Ncinci Ones for food assistance during a shutdown caused by the global pandemic. Back in St. Louis, Mo., donor gifts supported a  grant to purchase Montessori teaching materials for a primary school in the low-income community of Baden, which opened in early 2021.

Next, MGGF financial support underwrote tuition, room and board for at least one adult from East Pokot, Kenya, to train as a primary Montessori teacher in early 2021. And now MGGF, plus AMI and EsF, has raised funds to train four more primary teachers. They will return home to East Pokot with a full set of self-made Montessori teaching materials after a year attending a teacher’s college to introduce early childhood education to the remote community of East Pokot. Finally, the fifth initiative utilises the Joen Bettmann Fund to support primary trainers in training in completing their apprenticeship year.

The East Pokot initiative grew out of more than 10 years of experience in instituting Montessori education in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) community in Kenya. This program was established to demonstrate how Montessori education and training could support a displaced community on the path to recovery and building better lives.

Another initiative in keeping with MGGF’s mission - Freeing the Child’s Infinite Potential - is to establish Montessori communities built around a primary Montessori
school. The schools, according to MGGF President Latimer, foster creativity, independent play and use of Montessori teaching materials rather than toys. The purpose is to help the child develop through discovery rather than direct instruction and develop independence, self-reliance and confidence. Teaching materials are practical in nature (pitchers to measure, natural materials such as shells, puzzles and blocks) in mixed-age classrooms so that older children help nurture and teach younger children, thereby increasing older children’s self-confidence.

For more information about making a tax-deductible donation to MGGF, visit www.montessori-mggf.org.

Donations may be made to P.O. Box 670172, Dallas, TX 75367-9998.

MGGF is headquartered at 13612 Midway Road, Suite 292, Dallas, TX 75244.

African child in Montessori classroom