Donating runs in the blood
This is the story of a father and a son, both Universidad de los Andes alumni, who carry the spirit of solidarity in their DNA.
Joaquín Vélez Bohórquez and his son Joaquín Vélez Navarro, are both Los Andes alumni, and they found that the best way to support the transformation of Colombia lay in philanthropy. Both men donate to university programs and have learnt that their generous acts can change many lives. This is the story of father and son who carry the spirit of solidarity in their DNA.
“It is extremely gratifying for my father that I have decided to follow his legacy”.
Joaquín Vélez Navarro is a young entrepreneur and philanthropist who graduated from the Faculty of Law at the Universidad de los Andes in 2010. He is looking to make his contribution towards a more equal and untied society. His story could just be one more of someone who wants to better the country; however, he makes a difference by contributing to talented young people so that they can have access to quality education and so that they themselves drive forward social transformation.
His life is interconnected with the university, not only because he studied here, but also because of his commitment with social causes. This is something that he inherited from his father, Joaquín Vélez Bohórquez, who instilled in him from a very young age the importance of helping those who needed it. Donating is in his blood.
“A quality education is the main driver of development and one of the most efficient ways to fight against social inequality: one of Colombia’s biggest problems. It is incredible to see what the beneficiaries of the Quiero Estudiar program do and achieve when they have finished their degrees”, he explained.
For this 31 year-old lawyer, solidarity is a fundamental feature of society-building, and this is why he wants to help the cause. After learning in depth about the Quiero Estudiar program, he decided to become a donor as he understood that these are the foundations of the transformations for which he his searching.
He says that, “the donations made to the philanthropic programs at the Universidad de los Andes give people with economic needs the opportunity to access the highest quality education. This should be sustainable: when students graduate, they should contribute so that new people can have the same benefits that they have already had.”
As well as his conviction about philanthropic causes, Joaquín highlights the role his father played as the orchestrator of his sense of solidarity. “My father is an extremely generous person and social differences and the lack of opportunities in Colombia have always been of great concern to him. It is really gratifying for him that I have decided to continue with his legacy.”
“…I believe that the spirit of donations is very important, and my alma mater, the University de los Andes has understood this perfectly…”
Joaquín Vélez Bohórquez, who graduated in industrial engineering from the Universidad de los Andes in 1967, is aware of the need to contribute to the construction of a better society, and he found that the best way to achieve this objective was through philanthropy.
“I was given a lot of help throughout those unforgettable years of professional education in the Universidad de los Andes. The support that I received allowed me to achieve my own goals”, he recounts, and then stresses that, “being on the other side, the minimum that you should do is give help.”
In this way, he started looking for programs that would have an impact on young people, and he understood that education was the best tool. “Education is the best path to give people in a country the right to be free and to develop, progress, and to achieve respect, harmony, dignity, and peace”, he explained.
Armed with the knowledge that this was the best route, he found out about the Quiero Estudiar program at his own university. Ever since this moment, this engineer has not stopped contributing.
“I want to help other students to cross the sea so that they can reach their own shore,” he emphasizes.