Our History


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

Mr. Mendez established the Foundation to support local charitable organizations serving underprivileged children and their families living in the Tampa Bay area. Following Mr. Mendez's death in 1967, the Mendez Foundation and its activities was continued by the family.

In 1975, Charles E. Mendez, Jr., President, concerned with the alarming growth of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use by young people, sought to direct the Foundation's resources to address the substance abuse problem.

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.

The Foundation's prevention programs would be developed with this philosophy simply stated: that providing children, at an appropriate age, factual information about drugs, alcohol and tobacco, combined with development of critical decision making and goal setting skills, delivered by professional educators who are 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 Public Schools ever since reaching students Kindergarten through High School.

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 drug prevention into their classrooms. In response, the Foundation began to make the curricula available to educators nationwide.

The Foundation's team of professional educators have taken these simple concepts and created some off the most effective and engaging prevention education programs available. In fact, Too Good for Drugs and Too Good for Violence are currently used by over 3,500 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.