A Path to International Harmony
“Richard's mind was always on how we can make this world a better place; his heart was with the young people everywhere who will live in it.” -Stephen O’Connell, former Webutuck Central School principal
A man of imagination and conviction, Richard Henriquez believed that world peace could be achieved only if young people understood and valued other cultures. As a friend of his wrote, “His mind was always on how we can make this world a better place; his heart was with the young people everywhere who will live in it.”
Richard’s vision survives him through the Alice and Richard Henriquez Memorial Fund, the field of interest fund he created at Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. The fund provides grants that that help young people, ages 14-22, participate in international travel and community service.
Richard and his wife Alice were both educators, and when they retired to Millerton, NY in the 1970s, he became deeply committed to the young people of the area. Working with Webutuck school principal Stephen O'Connell, he created an annual contest to spur Webutuck high school students to write about international relations. The contest, which Richard dubbed “The Mighty Pen Club,” became a town-wide annual event that concluded with a school-wide assembly to celebrate the winners.
“I believe one learns more by participating than by observing.”
Richard's commitment to young people and his vision deepened after Alice died. Working with attorney Ed Downey, Richard created a fund in her honor that would provide students with the opportunity to experience other cultures through international travel and community service.
“His theory was that if young people had a better understanding of one another on an international basis, we could probably avoid many of the problems we’re experiencing today,” said Downey. At Richard's death in 1993, a bequest expanded the fund, now known as the Alice and Richard Henriquez Memorial Fund.
Richard's vision has had a profound impact on the community. Since the Henriquez Fund began making grants in 1997, it has awarded more than $200,000 to 42 school and youth groups and 63 young people ages 14-22. Recipients have traveled and volunteered in five continents, in countries including Haiti, Ghana, Nicaragua, Tibet and Panama.
To support the work of the Henriquez Fund, Berkshire Taconic established the Youth World Awareness Program, which operates in conjunction with the Henriquez Fund and actively seeks donations.