Nacho Mestre, presenting for the FCB Foundation to a group of businesspeople in the Club's New York office. | FCB

The FC Barcelona Foundation’s new Strategic Plan 2016-2021 sees the United States as a priority in the entities attempts to promote international growth. The growing interest in football, the long-standing tradition of philanthropy and the important social challenges that the country is currently facing are the reasons why the Foundation is running sporting projects to aid development and reinforce education in the USA.

Nacho Mestre, executive director of the FC Barcelona Foundation; Gerard Guiu, director of institutional relations in the FCB’s New York office; and Aisha Al-Said, who oversees fundraising and alliance building for the Foundation, have been holding a series of meetings with representatives from the social and economic sectors of the country. The aim of the meetings is to make them aware of the projects that the FCB Foundation are running and encourage them to help promote them.

The Foundation gathered over thirty businesspeople and heads of social entities to the Club’s United States office to tell them about the Foundation’s Strategic Plan, its mission and its values. The attendees have committed to reviewing potential collaborations with the Foundation.

Expansion of the ‘FutbolNet’ project in the country: Washington DC and Miami

The objective of the FCB Foundation in the United States is to implement the ‘FutbolNet’ methodology promoting social integration, the peaceful resolution of conflicts and the reduction of absenteeism and low performance at school. FutbolNet will be put into practice, in collaboration with New York’s Department for Education, in state schools in New York. The Foundation met with representatives from the Department to finalise the details of the project’s pilot phase. 

Further meetings were held with the American Soccer Foundation, who want to improve their education side and the promotion of values; with Washington DC’s Department of Education to discuss the implementation of FutbolNet in the state schools there; and with Miami Dade College, a public university in Florida, about the potential for expanding the project in Miami as well.

Strengthening relations with UNICEF and the IDB

The members of the FCB Foundation met with UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director, Justin Forsyth, to discuss strengthening the ties between the two organisations by looking to diversify the joint activities in the near future. The Foundation also met with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to discuss expanding the existing FutbolNet projects established by the two organisations in Brazil and Colombia to new locations in South America.

Contact with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital

The world-leading Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York was also visited by the delegation. They met with Dr. William Breitbart, Chief of the Psychiatry Service, and Dr. Stephen Sands, Director of the Pediatric Neuropsychology Service, to explore the possibility of the centre becoming involved in a scientific study as part of the Foundation’s project to help vulnerable children. The aim would be to research the positive emotional effects of sick children meeting FC Barcelona players.

In the sporting sector the FCB Foundation made contacts in American football. The Miami Dolphins showed a lot of interest in their work as they also have various social projects catering to vulnerable communities in South Florida.