Get to Know the Kinesis Foundation
Kinesis is an education non-profit foundation 501 C3.
At Kinesis, we create the environment needed for students to find success.
Regardless of their socioeconomic status, from high school all the way to their entry into the labor market, we offer our students support in the following areas:
Our Bright Stars program prepares talented students with financial need so that they may be admitted in the best colleges around the world.
Through our Scholarhip fund, we support our students financially during their college career.
With KIPP (Kinesis Internship & Placement Program), we help our students secure a successful professional career in Puerto Rico.
Towards the future
Our Board of Directors
The Kinesis Foundation’s Board of Directors ensures the effectiveness of our services, help to raise operational funds, provide financial supervision, oversee standards, legal and ethical expectations are met and maximize the support to the students and the community.
In October of 2021, the Board of Directors chose Miguel Fernández Richards as their new president, following in the footsteps of his father, José Enrique Fernández, who founded Kinesis in 2004.
Get to know our Board of Directors:
Miguel Fernández Richards
President of the Board of Directors
“At Kinesis, we are committed to a future in which all Puerto Ricans can have access to opportunities to progress in their own country. Education is our best tool to achieve this goal. If we make sure that the talented youth, especially those did not grow up with economic privileges, have access to quality education and work opportunities in Puerto Rico upon graduation, that better future is possible.”
Sister Socorro Juliá
Antonio Luis Ferré
Ángel M. Rivera
José Enrique Fernández
Founder/Honorary member of the Board
After four decades working in finance, José Enrique Fernández established the Kinesis Foundation in 2004. For more than 17 years, he dedicated himself to providing a greater access to quality education for the Puerto Rican youth, ensuring that economic obstacles would not limit their future.
On October 29, 2021, Mr. Fernández announced his retirement as president of the Kinesis Foundation. The Board of Directos named Miguel Fernández as interim president.
Thank you José Enrique for your work and your dedication to building a better future for Puerto Rico!
Get to know our history:
When he was 7 years old, more or less, José Enrique Fernández began to become conscious of the economic inequality in Puerto Rico. Playing with the children in the streets of Ponce, he couldn’t help but notice that while he was wearing shorts and a polo shirt, the child with whom he played wore only underwear.
Image: Ponce, Puerto Rico. In the slum area. Jack Delano, 1941. (Library of Congress)
At the University of Notre Dame, Mr. Fernández focused on his studies, and promised himself “that if ever those studies bore fruit, I would give back, I would give a lot back.” In 1965, he completed his Bachelor’s in finance, and quickly found employment.
In 1984, Mr. Fernández established an endowment fund to grant scholarships to Puerto Rican students who wished to study at the University of Notre Dame. Initially, he would offer a full scholarship to a few students. Eventually, he reached a deal with the university, so that he would offer a partial scholarship, while Notre Dame would cover the remaining costs with a second scholarship. In this way, he was able to help even more Puerto Rican students.
Towards the end of this decade, Mr. Fernández joined the efforts of the community service work in the Cucharillas barrio in Cataño. This was his first foray into the world of community service.
Image: University of Notre Dame, Indiana (Wikimedia Commons)
Image: Kinesis Logo (2004).
In 2004, after retiring from Oriental Bank, Mr. Fernández knew it was time to expand his efforts to help college students. It was then that he decided to establish the Kinesis Foundation, with the purpose of offering university scholarships to outstanding students.
There were a few challenges to overcome. First, there were too few public school students interested in studying outside of Puerto Rico. And second, there was a big mismatch between what was being taught at these schools, and the academic preparation the students needed to be admitted at these universities.
In 2010, 36% of public students did not take the PAA exam (commonly known in Puerto Rico as the College Board), and only 6% took the SAT. We developed the Bright Stars program to try and improve these numbers. We had to tackle the lack of interest in college studies, while at the same time offering academic reinforcement to the talented students in public schools, so that they could have a better chance of studying at the best universities in the world.
Today, our Bright Stars program has helped more than 1,300 students.
With the goal of promoting a culture of college education, we launched the first College Access certification, approved by the Board of Professional Counselors, in Puerto Rico.
This program, known as Continued Education, offers workshops to school counselors, teachers, parents and other professionals around the island, so as to continue expanding the academic tools high school students have at their disposal.
Image: Bright Stars program (2012)
Image: Visit to the Josefina León Zayas School (2015).
Most students in Puerto Rico don’t have access to the information and orientation necessary to apply and be admitted to college. We established the Bright Stars program to tackle this situation but, in the beginning, most of our students were located in the metro area. It was crucial to expand our services to reach all of Puerto Rico. Because of that, we began to work hand in hand with corporations, industries and private donors, to offer our Bright Stars program to more students. That is how our Alliances program began.
Today, we help more than 130 students around the island, and we continue working to expand our services.
In order to tackle the inequality in access to technology, we created the IT Academy program, where we help students improve their technological skills and we prepare them for the Microsoft Office Expert certifications, in programs such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel. These programs are fundamental in order to have a successful college and professional career. We also provide a number of additional workshops, including Microsoft Access and WordPress.
In 2016, we launched an initiative make sure the tools to obtain a college education reach as many young people as possible. This program helps students complete their FAFSA application so that they may have access to the financial aid available to them.
The transition into college life can be difficult for many students. To prepare them for these drastic changes, we created the Personal Development program. With Leadership, Public Speaking and Emotional Intelligence workshops, this program is dedicated to motivating and empowering students, while at the same time it provides the tools to deal with the challenges during and after completing their academic career.
Image: First FAFSA Day celebration (2016)
Image: Math and English programs (2021).
In 2018, we developed our Mentorship program, where college students offer mentoring services to high school students, in a sensible and personalized manner.
The program aims to strengthen and empower underrepresented sectors of post-secondary education.
To provide an academic reinforcement in some of the areas in which students were most lacking in order to be competitive on an academic level, we launched our Math and English programs in 2019. Through the use of the Blended Learning methodology, which combines both in-person and virtual learning experiences, our students are able to develop their skills at their own pace.
Our workshops give students the tools necessary to be successful in standardized tests such as the PSAT, SAT and PAA (College Board).
In 2020, we received a USDA grant which allowed us to distribute computers and provide access to our workshops through a virtual platform to 10 public schools in Puerto Rico.
At Kinesis we have strived to tackle the education crisis in Puerto Rico, but we were still missing a key piece of the puzzle. One of the main challenges our island faces is the flow of talented individuals to the United States and other countries, also known as brain-drain. How could we motivate our students to return to Puerto Rico after obtaining their college degree?
Thanks to the Strada Education Network, we launched the Kinesis Internship and Placement Program (KIPP), precisely to achieve this goal. KIPP helps our Scholars and alumni to find an internship or their first jobs after graduating college.
Image: Leomar López Robles, Bright Star alumni, Kinesis Scholar and member of KIPP (2016)
Years of service
millions granted in Scholarships since 2004
million granted in Scholarships in 2020-21
Professional Offices Park II, 1001 San Roberto St, Suite 101, San Juan, PR 00926
Monday to Friday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm