Mr. Fernandes believed that it was important to participate and give back to the community that supported his business endeavors. From donating to local causes, providing scholarships, attending various events as a representative of the Portuguese American community, or sharing his business knowledge, he spent as much time—if not more—on his philanthropic work as he did on his businesses.
Through existing documents, newspapers articles, and informal conversations with those who fondly remember him, one can ascertain that he did not participate in philanthropic work for the praise it might bring him. He truly believed that it was his duty to give back, however he could.
Mr. Fernandes personally or through the super market business, sponsored a large number of scholarships, none of which at the present time are still active. The following were available to students through the 1960s and 1970s:
The International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC) (1947-1977) was founded by Nelson A. Rockefeller in January 1947. The Corporation was developed as a private business enterprise that would focus on upgrading the "basic economies" of lesser-developed nations by lowering food prices, building sound housing, mobilizing savings, and fostering industrialization. The objective was for the business to be profitable and sustainable, and to encourage others, especially nationals, to establish competitive businesses and thereby establish a "multiplier" development effect. In it's early years, 1947-1955, IBEC was especially focused in Latin America, specifically Brazil and Venezuela. The subsidiary Venezuelan Basic Economy Corporation (VBEC) was formed, which was divided into several companies: a fishing company, a food wholesaling company, which later became a retail supermarket company, and a milk company.
During the period 1956-1971, IBEC's mission broadened to encompass new activities, such as mutual funds, housing, poultry, and soluble coffee companies. During this time IBEC expanded into other geographical areas, eventually having operations in thirty-three countries on four continents.
From: International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC) records (FA084)