Grand Circle Foundation
“Thank you to Grand Circle Foundation for their continued work and improvement to local schools and villages. You’re leaving a better footprint in the areas O.A.T. travels.”
Anthony & Janet Quattrochi, 6-time travelers, Fernandina Beach, Florida
To be welcomed into another culture is an incredible gift—one that Alan and I have received time and time again in our own travels, and one that we strive to share with you on every journey you take with us. By reaching out to and connecting with communities around the world, we learn to appreciate firsthand not only our diversity, but our commonality ... and the understanding we gain can be life-changing.
We owe our success to this focus on cultural exchange—which is why in 1992 we established Grand Circle Foundation as a means to give back to the world that had already given us so much. Since then, we’ve pledged or donated more than $175 million worldwide to support the education of young people and the preservation of cultural treasures and traditions.
Of course, none of this would be possible without your help. A portion of the proceeds of every adventure is donated to Grand Circle Foundation—so just as your life will be enriched by the discoveries you’ll make on your journey, you’ll also help to enrich the lives of the people you’ll meet along the way.
Thank you for traveling with us, and for helping to change people’s lives.
Love and peace,
Harriet R. Lewis
Grand Circle Foundation
Experience A Day in the Life of a Village
The Foundation’s A Day in the Life program epitomizes our passion for cultural exchange. Featured on most O.A.T. adventures, your Day in the Life will bring you far off the typical tourist's path and into the heart of a real village or town. A typical day might include a walking tour, a meeting with a community leader, a shopping excursion in a local market, and a Home-Hosted meal. The visits also support local entrepreneurial activities—like a weaving cooperative in Israel, for example—that provide the village with a source of income.
To provide truly unforgettable experiences, we’ve fostered longstanding relationships with the village leaders who welcome our travelers into their communities—and these invaluable friendships have been years in the making. We want these leaders to trust that we care about who they are and where they come from, and by the end of every Day in the Life, we hope we've brought a little more cultural understanding into the world.
Go Inside the World Classroom
The Foundation currently supports nearly 100 schools in 60 villages worldwide. By investing in education, we hope to give children the skills, pride, and confidence they need to become leaders of their generation. Working closely with school principals and teachers, we’ve identified unique projects at each school that will best impact the quality of education—be it a new kitchen in Tanzania, roofing and flooring in Panama, lavatories in India, or washing machines for an orphanage in Vietnam.
Your visit to a Foundation-supported school will provide a telling glimpse into the values of another culture. How does the education system differ from our own? And how does it relate to the culture as a whole? All over the world, however, one thing remains constant: the curiosity and enthusiasm of children. We hope the joy you experience during your interactions with students is intensified by the knowledge that by traveling with O.A.T., you’re helping to make their dreams come true.
Our Support for the Cuban People Program
Grand Circle Foundation is fully licensed and authorized to offer legal Support for the Cuban People cultural travel to Cuba. Our two unique programs feature meaningful cultural exchanges with the warm and welcoming Cuban people who will share their insights into the island’s colonial history, Afro-Cuban religion, and music and dance traditions. Witness the island’s natural beauty and experience its rich cultural traditions—discover the real Cuba with Grand Circle Foundation.
- We’ve taken almost 3,000 travelers to Cuba so far—and more than 90% of returning participants have rated their experience with us as “excellent”
- You’ll travel in a small group of 12-20 participants and be accompanied by a Grand Circle Foundation representative and a Cuban guide
- Our wealth of inclusive features (including charter flights) makes our two Cuba programs the best value anywhere
Our Generous Travelers
We consider each and every one of our travelers to be partners in our worldwide giving. Some travelers, however, are so inspired by the schools and villages they visit, they are compelled to give more. In 2010 alone, we received an astounding $917,150 in donations from our travelers—which are helping to make an enormous difference throughout the world we travel.
Since 2002, Susan Rickert, a 12-time traveler from San Francisco, California, has raised more than $100,000 support the children of Karatu, Tanzania—which has funded improvements to three primary schools and the construction of a new secondary school. Three-time traveler Roy Parsons of Newport Coast, California, gave $8,000 to a rural school in Costa Rica—and inspired 9-time traveler Romaine Conner of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, to do the same, bringing the total to $16,000. And 3-time travelers Kenneth and Marietta Alexander of Carson City, Nevada, gave $3,000 toward the purchase of an electrical generator for an orphanage in Vietnam.
Of course, this is just a sampling of more than 13,000 travelers who have generously given to the Foundation. We thank all our travelers for helping to change people’s lives.
Bettering our own Communities—All Around the World
In addition to the villages where we travel, we strive to better the communities where we work—from our headquarters in Boston to our more than 30 offices around the world. In Boston, more than 97% of our associates participate in community service each year, giving of their time, money, and even pints of blood to help a neighbor in need. Our associates’ most beloved events include Rebuilding Together Boston, which employs more than 100 volunteers in renovating the home of someone who can’t afford the upkeep; and the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, a two-day bike-a-thon that raises funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Worldwide, nearly all of our offices organize annual community service events of their own. In 2011, these ranged from rebuilding homes in a floating village in Cambodia to entertaining the elderly at a nursing home in China.
To learn more about the work of Grand Circle Foundation and the leaders who inspire us, visit our website at www.grandcirclefoundation.org. There, you can read inspirational stories about how we’re changing lives together—including our projects in schools and villages and our community service efforts—and sign up to receive monthly updates with our free e-newsletter.
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