Ingrid Martinez Rico Women's Leadership Initiative

"The agent or catalyst for women's creation of their own lives is women breaking silence and finding their own voices in concert with the development of their minds and selves. As women find their voice, they move from received authority to self authority." - Ingrid Martinez Rico

The Ingrid Martinez Rico Women's Leadership Initiative has two primary objectives, they are:

  • To establish a scholarship and grant fund for women who wish to study abroad, study language, or participate in international community engagement and service learning opportunities, including exhange programs for high school students.
  • To raise funds for the support of women's shelters and organizations, primarily in the developing world.
Currently, the Ingrid Initiative is working with The Center for Helping Women (El Nucleo de Apoyo a la Mujer) in Santiago, Dominican Republic. The purpose of this center is to provide psychological, legal and health counseling for women in and around Santiago. We are funding the creation and operation of a ‘Tutoring Center’ as an educational strategy that will contribute to the prevention of commercial sexual abuse and exploitation of twenty (20) children and adolescents in Cienfuegos, Santiago.

If you want to learn more or help with donations, please contact us at:

The Ingrid Initiative
1344 Coconut Drive
Fort Myers, FL 33901


The mission of the Ingrid Martinez Rico Women's Leadership Initiative is to continue the lifelong work of Ingrid Martinez Rico by supporting women in initiatives that foster education, international community engagement, and service learning. This work has been Ingrid Martinez Rico's passion.

On February 5th, 2008 Ingrid was on her way to work at Florida Gulf Coast University when a dump truck ran a red light at the intersection of I-75 and Alico Road. The truck landed on top of her 1999 Volkswagen Passat. She suffered broken ribs, broken vertebrae and severe brain damage.

Dr. Ingrid Martinez Rico was a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. She was born in Germany of Spanish parents and is fluent in Spanish, German and English. She graduated from Duesto University in Bilbao, Spain and received her PhD. in Comparative Literature from Pennsylvania State University.

She began an active role in improving the lives of children when she worked at Nyumbani, an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya for HIV positive children. Nyumbani is home to approximately 100 HIV/Aids afflicted children and orphans of Aids parents ranging in age from newborn to twenty-three years old. Ingrid was an early supporter of the CIW in Imokalee, often taking her students to meet with them and learn about issues for migrants workers.

Ingrid's awareness of disparities between the privileged and the marginalized in society, led her to take an active role in working in The Dominican Republic improving the lives of children who live and work the streets. This awareness also took her to La Mosca in Cienfuegos, a community built around Santiago's city dump, home to thousands of people, many of whom make their living by scouring the garbage for anything of value.

These were only part of Ingrid's awareness, goals, and passion. She believes in, and worked toward, helping women find their voices.

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