To give underprivileged children a platform for success by providing opportunities for education, athletics and lessons in core values that will help support them throughout their lives.

Our Pledge

Read our Story

At The Bernard Family Foundation we believe that all children should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to society, and have voice in the decisions that affect them.

Our mission is to empower underprivileged children to break the cycle of poverty through quality education, positively transforming their lives and the lives of the community around them. We strive  to establish high-quality, one-stop community learning centers for the poor; implementing specialized learning environments which develop children academically and and socially, empowering them to become productive members of society.

Bernard Family Foundation Approach

The Problem

Many poor and underprivileged children grow up in families where adult members possess minimum to no literacy skills. Lack of stimulation and support at home places these underprivileged children at a great disadvantage when it comes to both academic and social development.

Academically, they are unable to cope with the demands of the school environment. The lack of early stimulation causes these children to miss out on the development of concrete concepts that are the building blocks of abstract thought. Children enter a school system that is almost entirely based on abstract concepts and examples. With no foundation and no support, these children are unable to keep up and quickly become disengaged.

The Solution

The lack of success in academics fuels a low self-image. This low self-image leads to a mentality of “learned helplessness”, causing children to feel they cannot succeed, and that there is nothing that they can do about it. We believe that the most effective way to break the cycle of poverty is through education.

We focus on helping children develop an awareness of the inter dependency of the world around them as a whole, and an understanding that they are part of and contribute to that whole. Through education, children not only gain the concepts and knowledge needed to find gainful employment, but develop the attitudes, self-respect and holistic worldview needed to become a positive contributor to the greater society.


Giovani (“Gio”) Bernard truly embodies “The American Dream”. Born in 1991 in West Palm Beach, Florida to Haitian immigrants Yven and Josette Bernard, his history shows that with hard work, anything is possible. Yven and Josette worked day and night to provide a better life for their family, which included Giovani and his older brother Yvenson Bernard. Yven, a soccer player in Haiti, encouraged his sons to take up an all-American sport, and the boys took to American football. 

Both children excelled in the sport, Giovani following in his brother’s footsteps by  embarking on his football career at the young age of 6. He began as a linebacker and then a fullback, but always hoped to become a running back, just like his older brother. Eventually, Bernard was assigned to the running back position, and continued to prosper on the field.

In 1999, the Bernard family was struck with tragedy, as Josette, who had fallen ill to thyroid cancer, passed away. From that day forward it became the family’s collaborative mission to work hard and dedicate all success to Josette’s memory.

As Giovani grew, he continued working to honor her memory, both on and off the field.  He excelled at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where his talent as a running back was nationally recognized. During this time he was ranked by the Orlando Sentinel as the No.12 running back in the United States and by as the No.2 running back in Florida.

In 2010, Bernard enrolled at The University of North Carolina where he played running back for the North Carolina Tar Heels football team. During his undergraduate career he prospered, despite an injury to his ACL during his first season. By 2011 he was back on the field, and became the first North Carolina running back since 1984 to rush for at least 100 yards in five straight games. Bernard was awarded the ACC’s prestigious Piccolo Award for “most courageous” football player in the ACC due to his ability to overcome this serious injury.

Bernard continued his excellence throughout his collegiate career, and was the first running back selected in the 2013 NFL Draft (Second Round, 37th overall).  Considered the most elusive back in the draft, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis saw an opportunity to add a much needed missing element to a team that had been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs the prior two seasons.

The NFL, and followers throughout the world quickly took notice of Bernard as he was frequently focused on the HBO’s series “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals.” However, it is his on-field success that has been most telling of his commitment. During his rookie year, Bernard had over 1,200 total yards and eight touchdowns and was named to the Pro Football Writers of America’s all-rookie team.

On the heels of an extraordinary rookie season, Giovani Bernard looks forward to creating new achievements on the field, but also making an impact off the field through the Run Gio Foundation. In 2019, he established the Bernard Family Foundation, which has been created to benefit the Jardin Vert de Josette School in Haiti. Working with his family to build a school in his mother’s name, Bernard’s foundation, coupled with his personal efforts will benefit the children of Haiti and ensure that his mother’s legacy lives.  It is Bernard’s deepest commitment, above all else, to donate much his free time and efforts to the prosperity of this school and local schools in his community.

We would like to thank the following partners for their support

What miracle will you create?

Empower childrens to reach their full potential through family-based care and powerful communities. Our donors from around the world are making miracles for children. Together we are transforming the lives of childrens.

Join us and get the chance to empower children through education. You can make a difference!


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