It’s always been because of John


matt and john

Matt Severson and John Medo, 2009

John Medo was more than a friend.

But John Medo was also the best friend you could hope to have.

We waited to post this until we could privately contact all those who knew John through TSF. It never gets easy saying or writing this. On March 27, John Medo passed away in a bus accident in Tanzania. As you likely know, John was the inspiration for TSF and has spent the past few years—while in school and starting university—supporting our work in Tanzania. In 2009, while on a trip to Tanzania, our founder Matt Severson met John, learned what a threat school fees were to John’s continued education. Matt paid John’s school fees and then came home to found The School Fund to help other young people like John.


John and Matt

John Medo and Matt Severson

John was on his way to meet Matt in Iringa when John, along with five others, died in the accident.

Over the years John became like a brother to Matt. For so long, we’ve been in awe of John, watching him work his way through university. John was just two years from completing a university degree in business, in a country where less than one in three students complete high school. We were fairly certain he really would be president—which is what he told Matt the first time they met, even when he wasn’t sure how he’d be able to stay in school. He was that kind of guy, so full of promise and potential that he could see reason for hope beyond even the most daunting obstacles.

john medo

John Medo

It’s been a hard couple of weeks. As we try to make sense of the loss, we know John’s life, his inspiration, will not be forgotten. His legacy is woven into the fabric of The School Fund. We wouldn’t be us without him. We are still reeling with the loss of our friend, and all this week we’ve been sharing posts others have made about John, including this beautiful tribute by our friends at the Skees Family Foundation. In coming months we hope to formalize John’s memory as part of TSF, perhaps with a scholarship fund. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let us know.

Our Ecuadorian Students Are Safe

Last weekend, the world paused in concern and mourning as a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Ecuador, killing hundreds and injuring thousands. We were relieved when our partners at The Condor Trust for Education let us know that their students and staff were safe. Although they felt the earthquake in Quito, where Condor Trust is located, the damage was concentrated along the coast.

We are relieved and grateful for the safety of our partners, students and friends, but join the world in grieving for those whose lives were lost and forever changed by the earthquake.


Condor Trust students Jennifer, Christian and Anita



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