In 2003, a young Princeton graduate in Economics decided to return to Africa, where he had been for three months after completing his junior year, and instead joined the “Princeton in Africa” program to help disadvantaged youth in Mozambique. Italian-born Gabriel Fossati-Bellani, a Palo Alto High School (PALY) graduate, went to Maputo for a 6-month internship with the Canadian organization Right to Play. He ended up working 18 months for them, then started consulting and writing grants for various organizations, including the UN. His work got noticed by the Fundacao Lurdes Mutola (FLM), www.flmutola.org.mz, the foundation started by Mozambique’s Maria Lurdes Mutola, an Olympic Gold Medalist and a Young Global Leader.
Gabriel was deeply moved by the situation in Mozambique regarding early child marriage, early pregnancies and exploitation of young girls and he felt he could make a difference. With the Lurdes mutola Foundation he started a shelter to educate and empower the girls from rural Mozambique.Gabriel has been nominated by Ashoka foundation as a Ashoka nominator for the region.
Starting from grant proposal writing and working with FLM’s executive director Macame B. Macame, Gabriel, in the photo with FLM's founder Maria de Lurdes Mutola, is now the deputy director of the Foundation.
In 2007, at Gabriel’s suggestion, his parents Cristina and Vittorio joined with Esther Wojcicki, who had been his Journalism teacher at his high school in California, PALY, to found the Friends of Lurdes Mutola Foundation (FLMF) in order to provide a vehicle for US based donors to fund the educational programs carried out by FLM in Mozambique. Cristina, Vittorio, Esther, together with Jan Jannink and Enza Sebastiani, constitute the current board of FLMF.
Today, Gabriel is the main liaison between FLM and funding institutions based in the English-speaking world. His Princeton education, together with his knowledge of both the Western donors and the needs of African youth, insures that funding collected by FLM and FLMF is efficiently channeled to worthwhile and high impact programs.
The Friends of the Lurdes Mutola Foundation is a nonprofit public benefit corporation. It is not organized for the private gain of any person. It is organized under the California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for charitable and educational purposes.
The specific and primary purpose of this corporation is to engage in charitable and educational activities within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
This corporation is organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Code.
The Foundation operates on a solely volunteer base and has no paid employees.
The Lurdes Mutola Foundation (Fundacao Lurdes Mutola - FLM)
The Lurdes Mutola Foundation was founded by Maria de Lurdes Mutola, who was born in Maputo, Mozambique and is an internationally acclaimed track star. Ms. Mutola has competed internationally since she was 14 years old, including in the 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics. She competed in her first Olympics when she was only 15 years old. Ms. Mutola has used her fame to raise awareness and help fight many of the economic, health, education and social issues effecting Mozambique. In 2003, the United Nations appointed Maria de Lurdes Mutola as an honorary youth ambassador for her athletic and philanthropic achievements. The Lurdes Mutola Foundation is one vehicle that she uses to further her philanthropic goals.
In 2007 Maria Lurdes Mutola was nominated a Young Global Leader by the prestigious World Economic Forum for her accomplishments in sport and her philanthropic activities.
The Lurdes Mutola Foundation is a non-profit foundation of private Law Corporate, endowed with juridical personality in Mozambique and has been recognized under resolution No. 85/2002, of 5 December 2002 by the Mozambique Council of Ministers. The organization was granted status as a Public Utility Association through resolution No. 52/2004, of 24 November 2004, and under article 153 paragraph 1(e) of the Constitution of the Republic and article 158 of the Statute Book. As a Public Utility Association, the organization is exempt from corporate income or value added tax in Mozambique. The organization is equivalent to a United States organization that is exempt from income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (the "Code").
The organization was formed for the purpose of conducting, promoting and sponsoring development in the sports, culture and social fields. It works with children and young adults to help them develop and further their educational and athletic goals. The organization believes that if it helps these young people improve their personal conditions, it will help create a generation of Mozambicans who will continue working to improve the economic, health and social conditions effecting Mozambique.