Our History

The History of an Idea

The C. E. Mendez Foundation was established in 1964 by Charles E. Mendez, Sr., a Florida businessman and the founder of Redwing Carriers, Inc., a Florida-based trucking company.

Mr. Mendez established the Foundation to support local charitable organizations serving children and their families in need in the Tampa area. Following Mr. Mendez's death in 1967, the family continued the Mendez Foundation and its work in the community.

In 1975, Charles E. Mendez, Jr., President, concerned with the alarming growth of substance use among young people, sought to direct the Foundation's resources to address substance use through prevention.

Recognizing that the most effective means of affecting change was through education, Mr. Mendez refocused the Foundation's efforts to develop and deliver prevention education programs.

Clear Philosophy. Effective Strategy.

The Mendez Foundation's prevention programs would be developed with this philosophy simply stated: that providing children, at an appropriate age, factual information about the health risks associated with substance use, combined with development of self-efficacy and interpersonal skills, delivered by positive role models, will inevitably result in better decision-making by our children.

In 1979 the Mendez Foundation's philosophy was put into action when the first Grade 6 Me-ology classes were taught in the Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa. Mendez Foundation Prevention Specialists have been teaching classes in Hillsborough County ever since reaching students Kindergarten through High School over the years.

The successful implementation of these programs gained national recognition in the early 1980's as school systems from all over the country were eager to introduce prevention education to their classrooms. In response, the Foundation began to make the curricula available to educators nationwide.

The Foundation's team of professional educators, curriculum developers, and prevention practitioners have taken these complex concepts and translated them into relevant, interactive lessons to create some of the most effective and engaging prevention education programs available. In fact, Too Good for DrugsToo Good for Violence, and Seeds of Nutrition are currently implemented in thousands of school districts throughout the United States.

Of course, we continue to write our history as we endeavor to do more to build happy and healthy kids everywhere.

We hope you will join us on our way.


Learn more about the C.E. Mendez Foundation and its work at mendezfoundation.org