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Founder and CEO, Sonnie Dean was born in Belize into a family of ten children, and raised by his single mother in an environment where trauma and poverty are rampant.

His mother, Shirley Menzies worked tirelessly to raise her children as best she could with self-respect, Christian values, and love; despite their circumstances within a social system that was designed to break them. 

As the children grew, the family’s needs grew too; making ends meet became impossible, leaving the children in dire need of basic housing, health, food and nutritional needs. These children grew up having to dig their own toilets, carry water from the village well, and grow and pick food to eat from surrounding lands. They were teased, shunned, forgotten, abused, and neglected by a society that has no support for its most at-risk.

Sonnie fought his way out of the cycle of poverty and abuse (as have his siblings) due to the shear tenacity and devotion of his mother, who died before her time.

The Menzies Philanthropic Foundation was created in her honor and memory, to answer a desperate plea to not only serve the under-served, but to shift giving into a truly empowering, regenerative system of life-affirming transformation. Our programs are designed to support children and families abandoned by a broken system, to thrive and realize their human potential.

After years of trauma and struggle as a child, Sonnie Dean made passionate promises to do whatever was necessary when he was older, to make sure no child would ever have to endure the things he and his siblings experienced. Menzies Philanthropic Foundation is the manifestation of that promise and many of his siblings have joined in his quest.

It was founded on two main principlesthe Menzies Foundation believes that “It takes a village to raise a child”, and “if you teach a person to fish, they have food for life”; organizes its areas of giving based on Shirley Menzies’s own values that she provided and instilled into her children.

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