About us

Hello! We are the Fundação Vida Nova. Our name means “New Life Foundation”. founded in 1993 by the Baptist Church in Alcobaça, Portugal for the benefit of the whole community. We are a foundation under Portuguese law, a Private Nonprofit awarded Public Usefulness Status.

We are an operational foundation, not a grant-awarding foundation; this means that we receive funds from several different sources (e.g. private donations, service fees, government contracts etc.) to carry out our work.

Our vision

Our vision is: People educated and transformed, cooperating for the common good.

Our mission

Our mission is very broad: to develop any projects with a positive social impact in the region of Alcobaça, Portugal, according to Christian principles and values.

Our values

We are currently refining our values, but one we have agreed upon already is transformation. We don’t want to help people, or do them a service. We want people – children, parents, families – to change for the better. In any way possible: better relationships, better education, better life. People must want this, as true change must come from within; but when they do, we will help them along. In the meanwhile, we ourselves must change as well. We are not perfect, and neither do we have all the answers. We are willing to grow and change as we help the community grow and change.

What we do

  • We are mostly known for our early-age education work: a daycare (or crèche) for over 30 children ages 0 to three, and a preschool for over 30 children ages three to six.
  • Children at risk: we participate actively at the local Child and Youth Protection Commission, where in cooperation with other stakeholders (such as the public school system, the police, the Mayor’s office, and other nonprofits) we analyze cases and put together solutions for complex family issues. We are sometimes called for jury duty on family court.
  • Public school: along with teachers, parents, schoolchildren and the school board, we have developed a learning project that recognizes each child’s unique set of interests and their existing skills.
  • We enable the Alcobaça Music Academy to supply Extracurricular Activities to about 260 children of several public schools nearby.
  • We are enabling sharing in the community. As a start, we have successfully set up a schoolbook sharing program.
  • Psychology and Speech Therapy: we offer appointments at reduced rates, so that everyone may have access to quality care.

Operation

The Foundation is run by three Councils with complementary functions:

The Council of Administration (aka Board of Trustees) oversees the foundation’s mid- and long-term strategy. Its members are:

  • Mr Júlio Reis M.Sc. (chair), webmaster and environmentalist
  • Mrs Anabela Carneiro B.Sc.(Hons) (vice-chair), bank auditor
  • Mrs Conceição Pascoal, retired budget officer for the building industry
  • Mrs Denise Castro B.Ed., kindergarten teacher
  • Mrs Cidalina Baptista, shopkeeper

The Executive Council deals with the day-to-day work, according to approved plans and budget. Its members are:

  • Mrs Ana Reis B.Ed.(Hons), the Foundation’s executive director
  • Mrs Graça Gaspar, retired post office clerk
  • Mrs Denise Neves B.Ed., kindergarten teacher

The Finance Council makes sure that the financial statements and budgets are according to legal stipulations. Its members are:

  • Mr António Rosa, retired civil servant
  • Mrs Filomena Ribeiro, Christian camp warden, former missionary in Southern Africa
  • Mr José Lourenço, retired civil servant

All council members are full members of the Alcobaça Baptist Church, according to our statutes. They are chosen by the Council of Administration for three-year terms; the current term ends October 2020.

Cooperation

We are members of:

  • CNIS – the Portuguese Social Nonprofit Confederation
  • EAPN Portugal – the Portuguese branch of the European Anti-Poverty Network
  • EurECA – European Educators’ Christian Network

We may cooperate with you, too… Please read on.