The Power of 15: Shining a Light on 15 Years of the Sandals Foundation

In the Caribbean, where palm trees sway in the gentle breeze and the aroma of jerk spices fills the air – a melody composed of colorful communities, island beats, and warm smiles draws travelers from around the globe. Opening our arms to visitors here for more than four decades, we’ve uncovered the connection between travel and a love for community as a launching pad for hopes and dreams under the Caribbean sun.

In 2009, the inception of the Sandals Foundation put a formal framework embodying this mindset – reinforcing that the real measure of tourism’s success is the ability of the Caribbean people to live healthy, meaningful lives. The framework of the Sandals Foundation would revolve around three pillars education, community and environment – inspiring a collection of projects from Jamaica to The Bahamas to Antigua, Turks & Caicos, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada and most recently, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, inspired by the unique needs and opportunities of Sandals’ and Beaches’ beloved island homes.


Reading Road Trips offer guests of our all-inclusive resorts a unique opportunity to engage with children in the Caribbean with visits to local schools for reading sessions designed to improve literacy skills.

Rooted in Love

“The reality is, that this work dates back long beyond 15 years, when my father founded Sandals Resorts. Long before philanthropy was considered fashionable, my dad tapped into the needs of our community and carried that torch because it was the right thing to do,” says Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International and President of the Sandals Foundation.

He reminisces all the way back to 1981 when his dad, the great Gordon “Butch” Stewart, opened Sandals Montego Bay in his island home of Jamaica and immediately took note of the challenges and opportunities to uplift the surrounding communities. He adopted local schools – taking care of leaky repairs and the provision of books – extending a helping hand to the smiling locals and towns and parishes enamoring guests of Sandals. The heart and soul of the Caribbean – and our why.


Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, founded the Sandals Foundation in 2009, embracing ‘Education’ as one of its three core pillars.

A Magnificent Milestone and The Sandals Foundation’s Latest Feat: The Power of 15

Steadfast in our commitment to making a measurable difference and creating solutions that our neighbors can feel – we welcome our 15th anniversary by inviting guests from around the globe to bask in the sun and all of its splendor, because thanks to renewable energy tech, it’s powering more than just vacations. Enter The Power of 15.

A new project to commemorate a milestone year, The Power of 15 will harness the strength of the Caribbean sun to bring sustainable solar energy to Caribbean schools, ensuring a much needed power supply that allows for learning in the critical digital space to continue uninterrupted.

“Providing access to a reliable and cost-efficient energy source puts Caribbean children at an advantage. Power is power in today’s world, where a digital divide is determining who succeeds and who may be left behind,” says Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation. “We celebrate and lean into our 15 years of work empowering Caribbean communities combined with a donor initiative bringing forward the power of a $15 donation to light up schools in a way that limits carbon footprints through renewable energy sources.”

Environment meets Education meets Community – and opportunity for generations to come.


Why Solar Power in Schools

In some Caribbean islands, 4 out of 5 households with school-age children do not have access to any type of computer device, with a little less than half reporting no means of accessing the internet in their homes at all. In combating this disconnection, school computer labs have become vital resources, serving as global connectors and curriculum resources for locals of all ages. For our neighboring establishments without effective solar panels, the struggle to keep high-speed internet and connectivity optimal is no easy feat

More than 90% of the Caribbean’s energy comes from oil, making the region highly vulnerable to external shocks like price hikes and resource shortages and costs locals more than double the average price seen in the United States. Beyond lowering energy costs, and the harsh environmental impacts of oil, these solar power projects increase access to effective technology – connecting Caribbean students to the world wide web, stimulating imagination, and fostering comprehensive education programs in today’s ever-evolving digital world.


In its 15 years, the Sandals Foundation has distributed over 6,000 digital learning devices, supported over 2,000 schools, awarded over 200 scholarships, and distributed over 300,000 books to schools and libraries.

Through this effort, the Sandals Foundation will raise the funds needed for the installation of solar panels on school buildings in under-resourced Caribbean communities, helping to combat these challenges for years to come.

“We have learned first hand the power of transformation through education and what it means to unlock a person’s ability to follow their own dreams – and in doing so, accomplishing their own economic goals, taking care of their families and living the life they want to live. Making people independent is the greatest goal, and it starts in the classroom,” says Stewart.


The Perfect Match

For the entire month of June, Sandals and Beaches Resorts will donate $15 for every minimum $15 donation made to “The Power of 15” Project. These donations will go directly to the solar panel fund with the goal of lighting up schools in the region to match the digital capabilities of the ever-evolving world around us. To learn more about “The Power of 15 Project” and add your spark with a donation, visit

In our home and your happy place, the ever-shining sun greets vacationers, blooms flora, tempers waters, and will soon literally empower the islands under the Caribbean sky. Together, we’re spreading the sunshine.

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Courtney Young

About Courtney Young

Courtney is a New York based writer and lover of travel. She is passionate about the exploration of cultures and the preservation of our planet. Her Caribbean destination of choice is Turks & Caicos.