Educational Institutions

Frances and Henry Riecken Foundation, Inc.

aka Riecken Community Libraries

Princeton, NJ


Riecken Community Libraries promote democracy and prosperity in Central America through modern community libraries that awaken a spirit of discovery and foster citizen participation.

Ruling Year


President and CEO

Mr. William Cartwright

Main Address

ESG, Inc./ Riecken Community Libraries / The Riecken Foundation C/O T. Grover PO Box 30

Princeton, NJ 08542 USA


Guatemala, Honduras, libraries, community development, youth, education, early childhood





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Libraries, Library Science (B70)

Rural (S32)

Citizenship Programs, Youth Development (O54)

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

In many parts of Central America, rural, mostly poor communities lack access to information, have extremely low literacy rates, suffer from poor nutrition and lack of opportunity. Largely indigenous, these communities receive little government attention and are often excluded from available educational resources. Leadership development is desperately needed so that these communities can evolve to analyze and problem-solve their challenges.

The 65 Riecken Community Libraries provide key lifelines to the outside world and opportunities to overcome these challenges in Honduras and Guatemala.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization



Culture and Identity

Early Childhood Development and Nutrition


Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Riecken Community Libraries and its network of 65 libraries in Honduras and Guatemala work daily in support of community development, health and nutrition, human rights education, and environmental conservation by providing modern libraries that:

- Provide access to information through quality books and where available, to the Internet
- Foster leadership development
- Serve as community development centers
- Provide training and tools to equip the communities with skills to solve their community development issues
- Create local opportunities that can help community members lift themselves out of poverty

Our strategies fall into these key areas:

* Providing modern community libraries that are open and free to all. We share the definition of "modern libraries" with international organizations such as Beyond Access and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
* Alignment with a strategic model that requires participation by the community, local governance and the Riecken Foundation in order for a community to have a Riecken library. This 3-pillar model ensures sustainability of a library's operation by requiring local community and government buy-in and support.
* Delivery of dynamic, community-relevant training in support of the greatest needs
* The creation and continued building of local library associations in each country to help move the library networks toward self-governance and eventual self-reliance.
* Promotion of technology use and training in the libraries, so that with the help of technology funding partners, remote learning modalities can be used to extend the training capacity

The Riecken Foundation has nearly 20 years of experience developing and operating community libraries in remote, poor communities, often difficult to reach geographically.

Our strong sustainability model requires that a library community have community support, local government support and Riecken Foundation expertise support. The communities with libraries consider them of high value to the community, its members and opportunities to build a better future.

Although Riecken Community Libraries operates with very lean staff, those on staff are very dedicated and capable in skills required for their specific job, including local librarians at each library. The strength of the staff is multiplied by their ability and willingness to teach local community members to participate, volunteer and support activities in the libraries.

HIGH volunteer support for the libraries in each community. In 2016 over 280,000 volunteer hours were logged, at a value of more than $336,000 USD using minimum wage rate of $1.32 USD/hr.

Thanks to funding partners such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Riecken Foundation has been able to institute a level of financial infrastructure and reporting capabilities to attract larger partners to implement our work and programs.

The Riecken Foundation has a strong Board of Directors, and is supported by loyal friends of the Foundation.

Since the first Riecken Community Library was opened, it has been our goal to positively impact the lives of poor, rural, often remote communities by providing information access, books, training and programming through community libraries. We know that we can do that and have successfully overseen the creation of 65 of them in Honduras and Guatemala.

We see the following as indicators of the progress we wish to make moving forward:

* Progress of the library network in each country (Honduras and Guatemala) in its ability to develop the necessary leadership and fundraising skills to self-govern the entire network and resolve their own library issues

* Matured library associations that are capable of negotiating on their own behalf with local governments and partners - with confidence and success

* Our ability to provide consistent training to each library in the network, and their local volunteer boards are able to replicate training to additional community members. Key areas of programs where training is needed are reading programs, early childhood development and nutrition, and technology.

* Resources available to build new libraries replicating our successful Riecken Sustainability Model in additional countries

The Riecken Foundation has created 65 vibrant community libraries that are governed and managed by their community volunteers in conjunction with their local governments and Foundation support.

We have created, implemented and are expanding strong programming in the key areas of youth programs, technology and technology training, and reading programs. Many of these programs have been replicated for use beyond the Riecken library network.

We have been instrumental in developing strong leadership at the community and network (library network) levels, such that community development issues are more frequently being analyzed and solved by individual libraries.

Looking forward we intend to:

- Develop the milestones for a self-sustainability roadmap that the 65 libraries follow on their path toward the ultimate goal of self-management with minimal or no oversight from the Riecken Foundation

- Further strengthen leadership at library and association levels to support the transition to self-governance so that Riecken can focus on building new libraries

External Reviews



Frances and Henry Riecken Foundation, Inc.

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?