More than paint: how one public-private collaboration is breathing new life into schools in Mexico

Volunteers help paint a school

Jan 24, 2024 | Case Study

With this project, we were thrilled to be able to give back to the students and teachers that are shaping a brighter future in the communities where we live and work.


Collaboration is the key to accelerating progress, at a global level, but equally so on regional or local levels. For more than 60 years, we have been a part of the fabric of Mexico – serving the needs of our customers through innovations in materials science and engaging with the community around shared commitments to inclusion and sustainability. As a part of this ongoing commitment, our team in Mexico collaborated with Pinturas Berel and United Way México in 2023 to improve infrastructure and promote inclusive education in schools across the country.

Dubbed “Give Your School a Hand”, this project united members of Team Dow, our partners and passionate volunteers in providing a fresh (and purposeful) renovation to 17 Multiple Attention Centers (locally called ‘CAM’) across Mexico, featuring Berel paint powered by our acrylic emulsion technology.

The project was made possible through funding from the Dow Business Impact Fund, a competitive grant program that awards $two million annually to initiatives that partner with nonprofits and other organizations using innovative Dow materials to drive social impact.


The Challenge

In Mexico, CAMs are designed to provide greater assistance and resources to students with disabilities, including delayed psychomotor development, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. The centers require a calm, tranquil environment for its students, to encourage learning and collaboration. Across the country, many of these Centers were in need of repair to improve the quality of the learning environment.

Additionally, the climate in Mexico presents unique paint durability challenges due to high temperatures and humidity. Surfaces and walls must be protected from environmental stressors, including fungi and damp spots, to ensure the overall health of students and staff, as well as contribute to the structural longevity of the building.


The Solution

Seeing this need, our regional team joined with long-time customer Berel, the Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP) a.k.a. the Ministry of Public Education, and United Way to take action.

Berel provided an ideal acrylic paint infused with our coatings technology that enhances durability, stain and moisture resistance that delays the onset of fungi and pathogens. The technology also enables a smooth application. Together, the group chose paint colors that have been shown to contribute to the mental focus and tranquility of children in the classroom.

Through coordination with the SEP, the team was able to identify the schools in the most humid environments across Mexico with the greatest need for improved infrastructure.

With United Way’s support, we successfully activated volunteers to prepare and clean walls, repair cracks, and apply sealant, coats of paint and post-application finishes.

Improved 17 MACs across 8 states using 6500 liters of paint by 580 volutneers donating 1740 hours of time

“We’re committed to applying our passion and expertise to advance the well-being of people and the planet,” said Juan Carlos Orozco, Commercial Director at Dow. “And when we get to do that alongside incredible partners, we know our impact is that much greater. With this project, we were thrilled to be able to give back to the students and teachers that are shaping a brighter future in the communities where we live and work.”