Francesc Martínez de Foix i Llorens, CEO of TEB Cooperative Group, left us this morning at the age of 63, after a month and a half of fighting against the effects of a stroke.
Throughout his professional career, he has stood out for his commitment to people with intellectual disabilities, and to the values of cooperativism and the social economy. He has specially fought for this collective to have access to work, housing and quality services, and enjoy sport and leisure; in short, to live a full life. In 2012 he received the Creu de Sant Jordi award of the Generalitat de Catalunya in recognition for this dedication.
His career in TEB Cooperative Group
He was, as he liked to introduce himself, the brother of Joan, for whom he fought along with his parents, Josep Martínez de Foix and Josi Llorenç, and his brother Alex, to build a better future for people with intellectual disabilities. Francesc started at TEB as a carer in the 70s and since then has worked to generate employment for this group, and to defend the right to housing and quality services.
He became the director of what was then the cooperative Taller Escola Barcelona in 1980, and for almost four decades, with tenacity, teamwork and cooperative values, led it to what today is TEB, a cooperative group of social initiative, formed by 8 cooperatives that employ or offer services to more than 1,000 people, or 1,000 life projects, in his words. Francesc defended a model in which the economic and social aspects navigate together in the same direction, and where the care of people and the quality of life, the defense of the rights and the support to the families coexist in perfect symbiosis with professionalism, innovation and business development.
Founder of ACELL, Special Olympics Spain and Special Olympics Catalunya
In the field of sport, he advocated for the access of people with intellectual disabilities to sport and leisure, and actively participated in the founding of the Catalan Sports Federation for People with Disabilities (ACELL), which presided over 23 years, until march of 2017, when Marina Gómez took over. He contributed to founding Special Olympics Spain and Special Olympics Catalunya, organisations of which he was president. In 1992 he promoted the first Special Olympics Games in Catalonia, which was a major milestone in the recognition of people with intellectual disabilities.
He also made efforts to bring together and strengthen the intellectual disability sector, specially from the defense of the right to work. In this field, he participated actively in the creation of the former APPS and Coordinadora Tallers (merged in what we now know as Dincat), organisations of which he was part of the board of directors, as well as other initiatives such as the disappeared Tots Tallers.
Francesc Martínez de Foix was vice-president of Dincat federation, which brings together the defense of intellectual disability, from 2010 to 2014. At a state level, he was a member of the board of directors of AEDIS, the business association for disability. He also collaborated with numerous initiatives in the field of disability, such as DKV-Integralia Foundation, of which he was a patron.
Staunch defender of the cooperative model
A strong advocate for cooperativism as a means of building a more fair and egalitarian society, he actively participated in the Federació de Cooperatives de Treball de Catalunya, a federation of which he was a member of the governing council since 2010. He fostered intercooperation and networking with other organisations to generate value and occupation for people with disabilities. In this respect, he promoted Xxa Ambiental along with other companies and entities. He also supported organisations when they were going through difficult moments, in order to preserve the jobs and also the value of social initiative in the territory.
“Francesc, comrade, in TEB we feel heirs of your tireless struggle. We will miss you, but we will seek the strength in your memory to continue to strengthen this collective project, trying to put the same energy and tenacity as you have. We will work together, families, workers, users, as TEB has always done, to contribute to make this world a little more fair and for people with disabilities to occupy the place they deserve in society “
The family and TEB colleagues want to thank all the support received these days by institutions, organisations and people who knew and loved Francesc. Thank you very much; We felt very accompanied.
The wake will be on Monday, 17th of July, in Tanatori de les Corts, and the funeral will be on Tuesday, 18th of July, at 9.15 in the same premises.
His friends of TEB Cooperative Group, ACELL, Special Olympics Catalunya, Federació de Cooperatives de Treball, Dincat, DKV Integralia and Xarxa Ambiental will held a homaging ceremony the 16th of September at 11h in INEFC Barcelona (Avinguda de l’Estadi, 12-22, 08038 Barcelona), where we will pay tribute to his professional contributions, and his defense of people with intellectual disabilities, from the values of cooperativism and the social economy.