Belize 2020 is a nonprofit volunteer organization focused on improving the quality of life in Belize by supporting Jesuit ministries in that country in providing educational and human resources that nurture spiritual, physical, academic and economic health.
In 2014, a team made up of representatives from the U.S. Central and Southern Province, Saint Louis University, St. Martin de Porres and St. John's College in Belize created a multi-year plan to address problems of drug and gang violence, unemployment, poverty and family instability in Belize City through collaboration in education, economic development, health care and pastoral services.
The initial project focused on education at St. Martin de Porres parish school, which is in one of the most violent neighborhoods in Belize. The school serves more than 700 students.
In October 2015, the Very Rev. Ron Mercier, provincial of the U.S. Central and Southern Province, joined University President Fred Pestello, Ph.D., and Matt Ruhl, S.J., SLU alumnus and pastor at St. Martin de Porres, in signing an agreement and hosting an summit.
Since then, representatives from Saint Louis University have made annual visits to the country to join Belizeans in retreat to address the challenges in both St. Louis and Belize City.
Belize 2020 joins with its partners in common cause to live out our faith in Christ, to build our institutions, serve our constituencies, and overcome the obstacles of hopelessness, ignorance, poverty and all that erodes our human dignity and that of those we serve.