Third World Housing and Education

Third World Housing & Education became a focus area after an impactful presentation by Food for the Poor in at the Roetheli’s church and learning more about the impoverished, poorest of the poor people in 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries, the Founders of the Lil’ Red Foundation felt led to get involved to make a difference. An emphasis in Guyana evolved for several reasons: Food for the Poor’s presence in Guyana, official language is English, average per capita income of $7,200/year and the government was eager to assist and cooperate in getting change implemented. To learn more about Guyana, visit:

Lil’ Red Foundation has also provided homes in Volcancito, Palencia (Guatemala), sponsored Africa water projects through U.S. Engineers Without Borders and another cooperatively built community well with International Vision Quest and provided funding for a fundraising project for Education Development United whose mission is resourcing education across Africa.

Together with Food for the Poor, the Foundation has completed has completed 5 villages totaling over 325 homes, each with a sanitation facility. The homes are built on stilts to protect and provide safety during monsoon season. Each of the villages includes safe drinking water, schools, community center/church and three have microenterprises to sustain the quality of the lives of the residents. For many of the residents, this is the first time many have had a “home” that provides dry cover during the rainy seasons and a safe place with locking doors.

Lil' Red Village #1

  • Land donated by government
  • Completed April 2009
  • Named after the Roetheli name which means “little red one”
  • 100 homes each with a sanitation facility
  • School w/ library and computer center
  • Community Center/Worship Center
  • 2 stores
  • Deep well for safe drinking water

New Haven Village #2

  • Land donated by government
  • Land donated by government
  • “Residents-to-be cleared 40 acres of dense jungle and village completed in less than 60 days.
  • Completed December 2009
  • Named in honor of the Roetheli’s first granddaughter and the town of New Haven, Missouri, near where Joe grew up; and it is most certainly a haven for its residents
  • 70 homes each with sanitation block
  • School w/ library and computer center
  • Community Center/Worship Center
  • 2 stores
  • Sawmill Project

Princeville Village #3

  • Amerilndians of Whyaka provided land
  • Electricity was already present on site and 60 days later residents were in new homes
  • Completed June 2010
  • Named in honor of oldest son, Steffan, which means “prince”
  • 65 homes each with a sanitation facility (15 homes provided by Food for the Poor)
  • Expanded and Renovated School w/ library and computer center
  • Community Center/Worship Center
  • 2 stores
  • Water system reconfiguration

Georgeville Village #4

  • Land donated by Amerilndians Keep photos already in place
  • Accessed by boat/canoe or through jungle
  • 52 days to build the village
  • Completed May 2011
  • Named in honor of the late George Hill, Judy Roethel is father, who had a soft heart for the needy and a was a strong proponent of education.
  • 50 homes each with a sanitation facility
  • Nursery School
  • Community Center/Worship Center
  • Poultry project
  • Water project

New Hope Village #5

  • Completed November 2016
  • Built in celebration of Joe and Judy Roetheli’s 43rd Anniversary and their commitment to each other
  • 43 homes each with sanitation facility
  • Community Center/Worship Center

Pet Therapy

Pet Therapy became a focus from the personal experience Joe and Judy Roetheli had while Joe’s father was in an elder care facility. Joe took Max, the family dog, on visits with his father. To witness the delight of the residents of the facility was evidence that pets visiting such facilities provided a social and emotional benefit.

The Lil’ Red Foundation’s focus for pet therapy initially began with an emphasis for the elderly to ensure that residents in nursing homes would have the opportunity to visit and interact with trained and certified animals. The pet therapy focus has since broadened to include a larger outreach of individuals.

The Lil’ Red Foundation later became founders of the Research of Human and Animal Interaction (ReCHAI) program, a dynamic collaboration between the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing and College of Veterinary Medicine. ReCHAI’s mission is providing education and conducting programs and studies about the benefits of human-animal interaction through various programs including elderly care, children, veterans, autism, etc.. Dr. Rebecca Johnson was the first professor in the United States to have a dual appointment in the College of Nursing and the College of Veterinary Medicine. Visit for more information.

Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction

The Lil’ Red Foundation also support the efforts of Pets for Life in the Kansas City region. Pets for Life is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to share with others their love of animals and to share themselves. Animals are a common denominator through which people of all ages and capabilities can communicate and express their love. Visit for more information.


Dr. Joseph and Judy Roetheli were awarded The Legacy Award from Thinking Bigger in February. The legacy award salutes the city’s most enduring business leaders who have made a lasting impact on the entrepreneurial community.
Dr. Joseph and Judy Roetheli honored with The Marion and John Kreamer Award for Social Entrepreneurship at the UMKC 31st Annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Sharing learned experiences and challenging others to dream new ideas and innovations is a personal passion of The Roetheli Lil’ Red Foundation. Joe and Judy actively participate in a variety of venues to assist with the education of the world’s future entrepreneurs. Joe and Judy achieved success in an entrepreneurial business after developing “Greenies®” the dental dog treat. It was their vision to create a dimensional space within the Bloch School to honor entrepreneurs and inspire students. The Lil’ Red Foundation founded the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame at the Bloch School of Business in 2014 to honor successful entrepreneurs in the Kansas City area. Visit for more information.

Inspirational Stories

Inspirational Stories remind us of the incredible feats people go through to live their dreams. The Lil’ Red Foundation has promoted and produced documentaries and books and shares stories to inspire others to focus on dreams and remind them with persistence, passion, practice, purpose, that exceptional achievements are possible.

The 25,000 Mile Love Story-

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them; for those experiences have left an indelible impression, and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”

-Henry David Thoreau

The 25,000 Mile Love Story, An Impossible Journey…The Ultimate Price – The amazing and dramatic true story of the Roetheli’s Swiss relative Serge and his wife Nicole. Serge ran the equivalent of the circumference of the world – over 25,422 miles 1,910 days (63 months), through six continents and 37 countries while his wife rode on a motorcycle next to him at 7.4 miles per hour. The two of them constituted the entire team and managed all functions “on the go”. During their journey they raised awareness of the plight of children in Third World countries and lived their dream to run the world. As Serge noted, “Impossible is just a stupid word. Nothing is impossible if you are willing to pay the price”. The movie is based on the detailed diary that Nicole kept during their run. The movie was shown on American Public Television in 2015 and 2016. DVD and Books are available for purchase here.

I See The Crowd Roar – A documentary and book about William “Dummy” Hoy, a young deaf and mute man, who dreamed of playing major league baseball in the late 1800’s. After being told repeatedly that he would never play at the professional level because he was profoundly deaf and small, he practiced, persisted and achieved his dream of becoming a star outfielder and star player in his era of Major League Baseball. His “handicap” contributed to umpires using hand signals in baseball today from which players and fans continued to benefit. He still holds record that has stood for over 125 years – throwing out three base runners from centerfield, unassisted, at home plate in a single game. DVD and Books are available for purchase here.

Lost Road of the Popes – The untold, true story of the “lost” road on which 16th century Rome and its Church made the most profound urban and religious comeback in history while not meant as a film on Catholic theology, the film follows six powerful popes and their dynasties as they take on the task of first rebuilding, then glorifying, the new Rome. “Via Papale” unfolds the miracle of this remarkable renaissance, showing how Rome and its papal rulers not only survived, but were inspired by a holy road. The film features outstanding architecture and interior design of Rome’s cathedrals.This was the first time Rome and its cathedrals were filmed in HD. One amazing story from the filing of the Via Papale was that the Catholic crew had obtained permission to film with a 40 foot crane in St. Peters Basilica and had locked the doors. That very morning, the Pope had a high level delegation that he intended to show St. Peters. However, the doors to St. Peters were locked, so the Pope could not bring his delegation into this famous church.

Roots to the American Dream (Coming Soon) – Roots to the American Dream is a documentary that explores the inspirational story of the Roetheli family’s pursuit of the American Dream combined with epic quests to unearth family history. This courageous journey covers many miles and years, and tremendous obstacles that are overcome along the way. This story is about people who demonstrate unwavering commitment, perseverance, intelligence, humor and love during their pursuit of a better life.Twenty-five members of the Roetheli family left Switzerland in the mid-1800s; five weeks after landing in New Orleans, only three family members survived. This story reveals how against all odds the Roetheli family tree rejoined despite all three branches using different last names throughout their American history and how the American and Swiss Roethelis reunited after 138 years without communicating. The documentary includes additional “finds” during filming of this interconnection between genealogy and American success stories.

Extraordinary Actions

The Lil’ Red Foundation responded to extraordinary needs such as:

The tragedy of the tornado in Joplin, MO and its devastating impact on a family’s home. The foundation provides housing for a family who lost everything.

Beauty for Ashes provides a Christ centered community that equips prisoners for their restored role in society through mentoring, practical teachings and spiritual disciplines. To learn more about Beauty for Ashes Ministry visit

Supports the mission of Liberty Women’s Clinic: “To minister with the love of Christ to the practical, emotional and spiritual needs of women, their partners, and parents who face the trauma of an unplanned pregnancy”. LWC empowers women to make an informed choices about their pregnancies. To learn more about Liberty Women’s Clinic visit

Restoration of the Gasconade County Courthouse, located in Herman, MO. This Courthouse is thought to be one of the few courthouses in the United States built entirely with private funds. To learn more The Gasconade County Courthouse visit