Fundação Carmen Lucia

Fundação Carmen Lucia is a non-profit organization with no political or religious affiliation that provides free dental, medical, psychological, social assistance, and educational services to low-income families in Vila Velha, ES, Brazil.


To improve the quality of life of families, promoting health, education, social assistance and responsibility, through humanized services.


  • Caring for health: everyone’s responsibility.
  • Promoting health – commitment and respect for life.
  • Respect – a two-way street.
  • Education – the foundation for life.
  • Quality and humanization of care.


To be a foundation recognized as a source of hope, inspiration and social transformation.


The Fundação Carmem Lucia provides free dental, medical, and psychological services to low-income families of Vila Velha, ES, Brazil.

Carmem Lucia Buck was born in Mantena, MG, and moved to Vila Velha, ES. As a young woman, she moved to the United States where she got married and started raising a family. It was always her dream to give something back to Vila Velha. Unfortunately, she died of colon cancer in 2002. Through the generous support of the PCLB Foundation (New York, USA), her friends and family came together to fulfill her dream of setting up a health clinic in Brazil. 

The Clinic Carmem Lucia was created in 2009 as a project of the PCLB Foundation, Ceciliano Abel da Almeida Foundation (FCAA), and the Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES) with the help of Movive and GG5. After conducting a needs assessment, it was decided to locate the clinic in Region 5 of Vila Velha. An informal committee of community leaders was formed to decide what type of clinic it would be and who can attend the clinic. The community decided that dental, pediatric, gynecological services were of the greatest need. Thus, the clinic began offering dental, general and pediatric care, and in 2010, added gynecological services. Then, in 2013, through a partnership with the University of Vila Velha, the clinic started offering psychological services.

In June 2013, community leaders created the Clinica Carmem Lucia Foundation as a philanthropic organization, and in 2014 the clinic became fully independent of FCAA and UFES. In 2017, the Municipal Law 5,754 of Vila Velha declared the Clinica Carmem Lucia Foundation a Public Utility (Municipal Charitable Organization) and State Law 10.734 of Espírito Santo declared the Clinica Carmem Lucia Foundation a Public Utility (State Charitable Organization). In 2019, the Fundação Carmem Lucia received federal status as a Certified Beneficial Social Assistance Entity (CEBAS- in Brazil)

Who can participate in the Fundação?

The Fundação has more than 4.400 people registered in the Fundação.  To register, families must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Participate in four programs at the Fundação per year
  • Live in the city of Vila Velha;
  • Have all of their documents in order

Once a family participates in four programs in the Fundação, they schedule an appointment to bring all of their documents to the Fundação.  Then a nurse conducts a home visit to verify the family´s situation and provide an orientation to the Fundação.

The Fundação does not charge for services but requires participants to be responsible for the health and well-being of themselves, their family, and their community.  Part of being responsible includes calling to make and cancel appointments and showing up on time for consults.  Families who do not abide by these rules are suspended.


The goal of the dental clinic is to try and resolve all of the oral health needs of our patients. Dental services include cleaning, x-ray, fillings, restorations, root-canal, and dental prosthetics. The Fundação does not do orthodontics, implants, or complicated surgeries. In a partnership with local universities, the Fundação received dental interns who train to become excellent professionals and leaders in their field and in their community. Annually, the Fundação provides over 4,000 dental consults and performs over 13,700 procedures.

The medical clinic provides general, pediatric, gynecological, and orthopedic out-patient care. Annually. the Fundação provides over 1,400 gynecological consults and over 5,000 medical consults. Through a partnership with the University of Vila Velha, nutritionist faculty and interns provide nutritional consults as well.

Originally in partnership with the Araté Brazilian Institute of Person Centered Psychology and now through a partnership with UVV, the Fundação receives psychology interns who provide basic counseling for patients. In addition to interns, the Fundação has received several volunteer psychologists over the years. The Fundação provides over 285 psychological consults a year. In 2019, the Foundation began offering social assistant services as well and provides 875 consults annually.

In 2019, the Fundação Carmem Lucia, with support from the Municipal Secretary of Social Assistance, started a pilot program to diagnose and work with 60 children with learning disabilities and their parents. The team that implemented the project consisted of a psychologist, educational psychologist, and a social worker. The team triaged families and diagnosed the children and worked with the children in groups on a weekly basis with a variety of exercises and activities which allowed the children to understand and manage their behavior. Though the project is still in its first year, the results have been fantastic. Besides parents and teachers complimenting and thanking us for the work, we have seen an improvement in grades and a decrease in disciplinary problems with the children.

Also in 2019 with the help of our lawyer, Vinicius Brocco Sarcinelli, the Fundação started to provide legal orientation to our participants which included helping them understand their rights, how to navigate the various governmental bureaucracies, and suggest courses of action.


The Fundação is actively working in the community providing programs on oral health, nutrition, reproductive health, hygiene, and other topics to schools, day-care centers, and other community organizations. The staff also presents programs at the Fundação four times a month. Annually, the Fundação staff presents over 120 programs reaching over 3,400 people,


Children´s Day/Vaccination Day – In October, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Vila Velha Praia da Costa and Municipal Secretary of Health, the Fundação hosts its Annual Children´s Day to increase awareness about vaccines. A variety of activities for children were offered including trampoline, face painting, games, cotton candy, popsicles and other activities. For participating children, parents had to bring the child’s vaccination card so that we could verify the child´s vaccinations were up to date. If not, we vaccinated the child. Once the child had the required vaccines, he will have the right to receive a toy.

Prevenir Cancer Prevention – In partnership with SICOOB, the Fundação holds its Women´s Cancer Awareness Day and Prostate Cancer Awareness Day in October and November. The Women´s Cancer Awareness Day includes women receiving a breast exam, orientation and on how to do a self-exam, pap smear, and a presentation on breast cancer. The Prostate Cancer Awareness Day includes men receiving a blood test, a prostate exam, and a presentation on prostate cancer This project is done with the support of the Municipal Secretary of Health and the University of Vila Velha.

The Impact

The Fundação has countless stories of how we help individual families, but it is important to analyze the broader impact that the Fundação has. By providing 11,000 dental and medical consultations representing more than R$2,825,000 in free services, the Fundação helps to ease the burden on the public health system and has a residual effect of allowing more people to access health services in a more efficient way. The Fundação has become a positive agent for the change in the lives of thousands of people and an integral and important part of the community.