La Jollan’s children’s charity receives recognition in Mexico

Representing Fundación para la Protección de la Niñez (Foundation for the Protection of Children), Raul Romero of La Jolla received an award in Mexico City Nov. 20, at which the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Mexico (AFP), recognized the Foundation as its “Institution of the Year.”

Romero founded the organization in 1990, the same year he retired from his job at an electronics manufacturing company specializing in the production of jukeboxes, and moved to La Jolla. He and his wife, Cristina, have lived in The Jewel ever since.

The Foundation helps channel donations to organizations that assist with the wellbeing of children in Mexico, and which pass thorough inspections that include site visits.

“We’ve done a lot in 24 years, and, to date, we’ve helped more than 500 institutions throughout the Republic of Mexico, as well as other organizations that have proved worthwhile,” Romero said. “Our help has reached some

5 million families in Mexico.” Of the recognition, he added, he is “very, very proud.”

Helping those less fortunate — especially children — has always been a passion for Romero, who began volunteering at orphanages in Mexico when he was 7 years old.

“My father would take me to orphanages (to see what life was like) and to help around Christmastime,” he said.

At age 17, he was president of the local Lion’s Club Cub program and raised money to buy toys for children whose parents were servants for the wealthy.

When he was in his 50s, Romero’s parents both fell ill, and they came to San Diego for first-world medical care, he said. “When we were not in hospitals, we visited other San Diego foundations for children and underprivileged people,” he said. “They always opened their doors to us. We wanted to find modern ways of doing business and apply the knowledge to our company and to the Foundation.”

Taking the know-how back to Mexico, he established the Foundation, which thus far has helped channel in-kind donations of 150 computers, the installation of software and network capabilities, and electrical equipment to promote high-tech learning among children and teens. Additional academic support for youth in orphanages, children’s homes, community centers and public schools, is also funded through donations distributed by the Foundation.

With his son now at the helm as president, Romero said, “I would like to see the Foundation continue to grow and to be an example for others.”