Bridges to Community, Inc.

Building Communities, Changing LIves

aka Bridges to Community, BTC, Bridges   |   Chappaqua, NY   |  www.bridgestocommunity.org

Mission

Bridges to Community's mission is to build a more just and sustainable world through service learning and community development by engaging volunteers to work in developing countries—building community and changing lives.

Ruling year info

1994

Executive Director

Ms. Julia B. Hadlock

Main address

480 N. Bedford Road

Chappaqua, NY 10514 USA

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EIN

13-3731405

NTEE code info

International Cultural Exchange (Q21)

International Economic Development (Q32)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Housing

Housing is the first step to making a family safe and healthy, and keeping their belongings secure, so that all family members can work or go to school. Bridges to Community helps families with housing through the construction of sturdy cinderblock homes and the securing of land titles for the owners. Beneficiary families pay a small monthly quota of $10 for a 7 year period. These payments go into a community fund that can then be used for other needed projects, such as small business loans, school or home repairs, clinic maintenance and other purposes. Bridges also works on housing repairs in communities where there is an existing structure, but additional work is needed to make it safe and secure.

The housing selection process is comprehensive. We begin with a large community meeting to explain how the Bridges’ housing program works and what it can mean for them. This is followed by a community-wide door-to-door survey by BTC staff and community leadership. The survey covers key data points such as the number of people living in a house, including children, and broader factors like general health, employment and aspirations (education). The community leadership then assesses the households. The houses in the community are ranked and prioritized based on the level of need and the willingness and ability of the families to work with Bridges to ensure that they have the land title and agree to the terms of paying into the community fund.

Population(s) Served

Health Strategies
Bridges to Community focuses on preventive care and educational workshops as well as improvements to health-related infrastructure, including the construction and repair of health centers and hospital facilities. Additionally, Bridges helps dig wells and build water systems to deliver potable water; design and build hygienic latrines to improve sanitation; and install high efficiency, indoor smokeless stoves to reduce the risk of illness. Our 2019 projects screening 542 people in our partner communities for high blood pressure and diabetes (2 of the top chronic illnesses in the D.R.) with our public health volunteers, completing the Hormiguero Clinic to serve over 18,000 in the rural Northeast of Nicaragua, building 21 sanitary latrines and biodigesters throughout Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, a reforestation project, and community gardens.

Hygienic Latrines and Biodigestors - In Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, latrines are an essential aspect of health and sanitation for rural families. In most of the communities that we work with, several families will share a latrine in poor condition, or may not have access to a latrine at all. This can lead to contamination of water sources and the spread of disease. Bridges to Community constructs hygienic latrines where pits can be dug deep enough to not effect water sources, or biodigestors in areas where pit latrines are unsafe. Biodigestors break down organic waste to produce a renewable energy called biogas that can be used to fuel stoves, and the run-off water from the process can be used for irrigation and fertilization of community farms.

Population(s) Served

Education Priorities
Bridges to Community’s education strategies emphasize the construction of adequate physical infrastructure and the commitment to ensuring that students have adequate resources to encourage learning. In addition to the construction of classrooms, libraries, technical centers and other school buildings, Bridges operates a scholarship program for qualified students and provides internships for highly motivated students.

Schools and Classroom Buildings – In many of the communities where Bridges to Community works, children have to walk miles to overcrowded and unsafe school buildings every day. Bridges helps these communities by constructing schools, classroom buildings and libraries in the areas that most need them.

In 2019, Bridges plans to begin construction on a new school for the community of La Guama, Dominican Republic. The current 48 sq. meter school is overcrowded with 75 students studying in 2 small classrooms - some students must travel one-hour via bus to attend school because the current school cannot accommodate them. In addition to overcrowding, soil erosion on the school grounds has led to a deteriorating and unstable foundation. By working with the community and the Ministry of Education, we have acquired a new plot of land necessary to accommodate a new school facility that includes four classrooms, administrative offices, two bathrooms, and a kitchen. This project will create a more conducive learning environment for the existing 75 students and will provide space for an additional 45 students. It also moves the school to a much better location that does not experience ongoing erosion and will provide a more stable site for the school buildings.

Scholarships- Our scholarship program currently helps a total of 77 Nicaraguan scholars access the education they deserve in their own country. The scholarship award has a maximum of $1,000 for college, university or vocational school, and $500 for high school students. Each recipient must maintain a GPA of 80% or above, participate in meetings and workshops with Bridges staff and complete 40 hours of community service. This program offers promising young people from the communities we work with opportunities to develop their leadership skills and achieve their educational goals. The program leads students toward making life decisions and selecting careers that will lift them and their families out of poverty and make positive and lasting impacts on their communities. Students benefit from these funds in a number of ways: some use it to pay for rent to relocate to Managua, some for bus fees if they live close enough to travel, others for books or tuition. Many of these youth receive vocational training for jobs that are needed in their communities

Population(s) Served

Economic Development
Bridges to Community works to promote economic development in a variety of ways:
● Through our housing project, families contribute to a community fund that is used to provide small business loans to community members, among other priorities.
● Community leaders receive training to manage payments to the fund, to write business proposals and other business related training.
● We make diagnostic studies that help communities to better understand which business options are economically viable.
● We also provide training to entrepreneurs so they can move forward with their new businesses.

Siuna, Nicaragua is a great example of our economic development work. Bridges began working in Siuna in 2001. Since then, Bridges has partnered with a total of 9 communities in that area. These communities have a combined balance of $19,411 in their community funds with an outstanding $28,474 in loans. These loans are in good standing and were given for the purpose of planting basic grains, financing the purchase of livestock, repairing fencing and pastures for current farmers, and improving housing. The staff in Siuna continues to help manage the community funds, making sure the communities invest in creative projects that appropriately serve the needs of the local families and their region.

In addition to personal loans, the credit committee under the advisement of Bridges’ staff has the ability to invest in community-wide projects that support their region. Bridges staff frequently coordinates partnerships between various communities’ credit committees to support jointly beneficial school additions or refurbishments, water projects, health clinics, etc.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Financials

Bridges to Community, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Bridges to Community, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 12/9/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Nancy Doon

VHB Engineering, Surveying and Landscape Architecture, P.C.


Board co-chair

Ms. Lisa Kunstadter

Stephens Family Charitable Foundation and Albert Kunstadter Family Foundation

Richard Bauman

Bridges to Community Canada

Karen Johnston

CareCentrix

Nanette Bourne

Sam Schwartz Consulting

Lisa Kunstadter

Stephens Family Charitable Foundation and Albert Kunstadter Family Foundation

Marcus Cohn

2U

Nancy Doon

VHB

Dr. Mike Lahn

Montefiore Westchester Square

Jim Allen

Morgan Stanley

Linnet Tse

Kyle Kirchhoff

NorthSky Imagery LLC

Mark Rollins

MarkhamRollins.com

David Archibald

Ivy Realty

James Finlayson

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes