Mario Raimondi

Jorn Wemmenhove

This is not a story of celebrities reaching out to their community after they’ve retired. Nor is it a story of millionaires getting involved with social issues. And it is certainly not a story of comfort.

When Mario Raimondi & Jorn Wemmenhove founded El Desafío Foundation in 2001, Jorn was only 21 years old and Mario 28. Jorn was finishing his masters degree at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, his home country. Mario had two jobs in Rosario Argentina, his home country. They used to work late hours, as well as most weekends and holidays. Although Jorn often travelled to Argentina, he first wanted to finish his masters degree before making the actual move. Together Mario & Jorn developed a sustainable concept to create social change for children in underdeveloped neighborhoods in Rosario Argentina.

It was not easy. Often others saw them as dreamers. The romantic cliché of two young people trying to change the world. They had to create a concept, put together a team and arrange fundraising events. Besides they were dealing with the fact to convince everyone they were not joking. Officially setting up their Non Profit Organization in 2005, today El Desafío Foundation is a role model for other NGO’s. Thanks to their persistency and focus on innovation and creativity.

Nowadays, Jorn Wemmenhove is mainly working from the Netherlands focussing on fundraising events and creative concepts for El Desafio Foundation. Mario Raimondi is the executive director and based in Rosario Argentina. Next to them a team of worldwide volunteers is part of the El Desafio Foundation team.

While reading this story you can probably guess where the name ‘El Desafio’, The Challenge., comes from. It tells the big challenge of Mario Raimondi & Jorn Wemmenhove. The challenge to show they were not dreamers. And the challenge they accepted to make the social change in the streets of Rosario Argentina.

In 2013 Mario Raimondi received the most important Non Profit Award in Argentina, called ‘Premio Abanderados’. He was voted online by people’s choice. It was, and still is, a big stimulation and recognition for El Desafio Foundation.