Our History 

The predecessor foundation of EFAI was the University of the Americans Foundation, (UAFI), The latter foundation was chartered in the State of Delaware in 1969 to seek funding for a residential campus for the University of the Americas in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico. The UAFI directors, mostly alumni of the university, were American and Mexican businessmen, who believed that a U.S. foundation could aid a quality bilingual Mexican university to become an educational bridge to international understanding.

In 1940, American School administrators chartered the Mexico City Junior College in order to enable its graduates to continue their bilingual education. By 1963 the college offered bilingual/bicultural baccalaureate and master degrees, was accredited in the United States by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, had a renowned Mexican and U.S. faculty and had changed its name to the University of the Americas. In order to continue to grow, the university needed a residential campus.

UAFI received grants from the Office of the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad of the US Agency for International Development (USAID/ASHA) for the major share of the funding required for the construction and equipping of a large residential campus in Cholula, Puebla and an adult education center in Mexico City. The Cholula campus was inaugurated in 1970, and the Mexico City Center, (the finest adult education center in Latin America) was opened In 1983. UFAI continued to receive grants from USAID/ASHA for the Cholula campus until 1985 and for the Mexico City Center until 1998. UFAI was largely responsible for the development of two major campuses which continue to offer bilingual/ bicultural baccalaureate and master degree programs in Mexico.

In the mid-1990's, the UAFI directors recognized the fact that the continuous development of quality universities in Mexico depended on the enrollment of students who had previously completed twelve to fifteen years of a quality education. In 1998 they incorporated the Educational Foundation of the Americas, Inc. (EFAI) in the State of Texas.UAFI was dissolved in 1999, and its assets were donated to EFAI.

In late 1999, EFAI merged with the Peterson Educational Foundation, Inc. This foundation, headquartered in San Antonio, was incorporated in the State of Texas, to obtain financial resources for the Peterson Schools in Mexico City.

EFAI and/or its predecessor has received funding from USAID/ASHA, the Union Pacific Foundation, the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation and Frost Bank and from bequests and gifts from individuals.

Model Institutions

Why Does the Foundation Seek to Support the Hispanic Community in the US and Mexico Through Model Institutions?

  • Model institutions provide a showcase for the success of new methodologies functioning within the target culture, providing a blueprint that can be copied.

  • They also act as a catalyst within the local educational community, by training people and demonstrating the effectiveness of new ideas.

The Peterson Schools Were Chosen as One Group of Model Sites in View of Their Past Performance and Potential in Showcasing the Foundation’s Projects

  • The Schools have been developing and implementing a successful bilingual program for 50+ years.

  • They have a proven history of influencing the Mexican Educational System, both Public and Private.

  • Advisors to several Secretaries of Education

  • Introduced Montessori to Mexico, resulting in 62 schools using this program in Mexico City alone.

  • Active participants in the Association of American Schools in Mexico (ASOMEX)

  • First School outside the US to be accredited through an Independent School Association

  • Pilot School for Apple Computer and First Google Reference School in Latin America

  • They provide an ideal site for longitudinal studies due to the low turnover rate of their student body.

  • 95% of their student body is from Hispanic homes.

Support of The Peterson Schools

The  Peterson Schools were founded in 1965, as a bilingual kindergarten. Today they are located on four campuses and offer bilingual preschool through 12th grade programs.  The Schools are accredited in the United States by the Southern Association of Independent Schools Association of Independent Schools and by AdvancED, and in Mexico by the Secretariat  of Public Education and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.  The Peterson Schools are recognized in both the United States and Mexico as outstanding bilingual educational institutions.