Entrepreneur: Ricardo Destarac
HQ: San Jose, Costa Rica
Number of Employees: 1-10
GIIRS Rating: coming soon
Ricardo Destarac was already a successful businessman. Ricardo spent a decade as a marketing executive for several major multinational companies in Latin America including Proctor & Gamble and The Coca-Cola Company before starting his own marketing services company. Then, in 2007, the Guatemalan native and Costa Rican-transplant decided to apply his professional experience to bettering a social cause – illiteracy.
“Latin Americans read one book per capita every year,” Ricardo explains. “There is a lack of libraries in schools, in communities, and at home. “Children’s books can be very expensive, often the contents are of a low quality, and there is not much stimulus to generate demand. Our goal is to address this issue.”
In 2007, Ricardo founded DoGood in Costa Rica with the “mission of promoting social value-added programs” in local communities. DoGood runs literacy programs, youth soccer leagues and other outreach programs for at-risk youth sponsored by local corporations as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. DoGood is also endeavoring to improve the quality of the reading material available for children by publishing and selling its own line of children’s books. DoGood uses a buy-one/give-one model where for each book it sells it also donates a book to a school or library in an underserved community. Over the next several years DoGood’s goal is to growth publishing and buy-one/give-one programs while moving away from executing CSR programs.
Since its inception in 2007, DoGood has grown from supplying books to seven schools to 153 in 2011. DoGood has distributed over 155,000 books over the last five years, in effect, reaching over 300,000 children in Costa Rica. “Our focus is on the children,” Ricardo states. “We target schools that don’t have libraries by providing them with a collection of books. We have found that six months after delivering the books, each student had read about seven books. We have schools where children have read 30-35 books per year after we helped strength their school’s library collection.”
Ricardo says that he aims for DoGood to become the largest literacy promoter in Latin America and an incubator for value-added social programs. “Our aim is to create the largest Latin American book bank that makes quality literature available for $1 USD per book,” Ricardo concludes. “We want to be active demand generators for our materials throughout the continent.”