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The good Cornellians can do: Keri MacDonald ’95

Keri MacDonald '95, at right.

Keri MacDonald '95 shares how she helps create inclusive residential communities in Latin America.

"In 2019, I co-founded the nonprofit 'Fundación Respirar Comunidad' in Argentina, and continue to serve as managing director. We are currently building 'El Cauce,' an inclusive residential community for adults—with and without disabilities—who want to live and work together in a shared-living model, contributing in a sustainable way to collective welfare through purposeful activities, such as biodynamic farming.

El Cauce is the first project in Argentina—and the second in Latin America—based on the Camphill Movement, a network of life-sharing communities that began in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1939 and now extends to over 120 communities in some 20 countries. There are a few Camphill Communities just a few hours away from Cornell, one cluster in New York's Hudson Valley, and another in Pennsylvania about an hour northwest of Philadelphia.

In Argentina, there are over 2.5 million individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) that are unemployed and have little hope of securing meaningful work. Programs that promote autonomy for adults with IDD, such as assisted living or supported housing, simply don’t exist in Argentina. This lack of infrastructure not only has practical implications, it has a profound impact on the quality of life of individuals with IDD and their families. El Cauce aims to address these issues by creating an environment that is productive, rhythmic, and collaborative, where adults with IDD and neurodivergent individuals can develop their own life project with dignity and autonomy.

As we design and build the residential infrastructure, we are also engaging a growing community in seasonal celebrations, landscaping projects, productive workshops and artistic activities. You can follow our progress on Instagram @respirarcomunidad, and for more detailed information visit our website"

Cornellians around the globe are sharing how they do good in communities big and small. Share your own story.