Concern America

Grow a Global Heart

Santa Ana, CA   |  www.concernamerica.org

Mission

Transforming Need Into Self-Sufficiency

Ruling year info

1973

Executive Director

John Straw

Main address

2015 N. Broadway

Santa Ana, CA 92706 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-7273488

NTEE code info

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

Community Improvement, Capacity Building N.E.C. (S99)

Health - General and Rehabilitative N.E.C. (E99)

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Concern America seeks to improve access to quality and affordable health care services, clean water, income generation, and education for communities worldwide, particularly in remote communities in Latin America.

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?

Integrated Community Health Program

Concern America's Health Promoter Practitioner model brings health care to impoverished regions by engaging the most valuable resource in each village: the people themselves. Developed over the past 25 years and unparalleled in its quality of instruction and accessibility to individuals with little formal education, the program trains Health Promoter Practitioners whose resulting depth of knowledge, skills, and ability to provide health care, in their native languages, are comparable to the work of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the U.S.

In addition to coursework, hands-on training includes extensive field practice in the programs' Teaching Clinics and during community visits. Health Promoter Practitioners further their education through courses
on advanced topics such as minor surgeries (like tendon repair and cyst removal), palliative care, complicated deliveries, orthopedics, trauma management, diabetes control and treatment, and managing psychiatric conditions.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Families

An essential component of Concern America’s Health Promoter Practitioner work is the organization’s “integrated” approach to health that combines health care services with prevention efforts, the key of these being potable water. Much like with Health Promoter Practitioners, Concern America has developed an Environmental Health Promoter curriculum that enables community members, many of whom are also Health Promoter Practitioners, to lead any number of appropriate technology projects from building water systems to fuel-efficient stoves.  Not relying primarily on outside engineers or medical professionals, nor investing in the construction/staffing of expensive hospitals or elaborate systems, it instead realizes that community members have the ability to develop their own solutions to their sanitation issues.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Economically disadvantaged people

Concern America’s Community-Centered Education Program has helped build a successful and sustainable education system that continues to grow and now provides primary and secondary education to 4,000 children and youth from 300 indigenous Mayan communities in a region where few schools existed prior to the project. With the support and accompaniment of Concern America, the communities created Education Commissions to develop and maintain a school system with a curriculum that incorporates their history, languages, and way of life as indigenous peoples.

Population(s) Served
People of Latin American descent

Concern America's integrated approach to development includes training for economic stability. It's Fair Trade Craft Program supports community-based economic development by providing accompaniment to and purchasing products made by locally-run cooperatives.  Concern America works closely with the cooperatives to provide assistance regarding product designs and colors, marketing, shipping, and growth for the cooperatives. Grounded in the values of fair trade, the Program promotes and practices trading partnerships that are based on reciprocal benefits and the prices paid to producers reflect the time and value of the work they do, taking into account their health, safety, and wage laws. This year, Concern America is shifting to focus the majority of its efforts on smaller, developing cooperatives that require additional administrative and product assistance. This further builds capacity within the community and better utilizes the resources of the organization.

Population(s) Served
People of Latin American descent
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Buckminster Fuller Challenge Semifinalist 2016

Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller Challenge Semifinalist 2014

Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller Challenge Semifinalist 2012

Buckminster fuller

Buckminster Fuller Challenge Semifinalist 2011

Buckminster Fuller

Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize Finalist 2010

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize Finalist 2007

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Clarence H. Moore Award for Voluntary Service 2007

Pan American Health and Education Foundation

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of individuals without a usual source of care

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples, Multiracial people, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Refugees and displaced people

Related Program

Integrated Community Health Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Concern America seeks to build local capacity in health care, community leadership, clean water, income generation, and education in order for community members to address their most pressing needs themselves.

At the core of its work, Concern America is focused on building local capacity in health in remote communities, rather than simply the providing of health services. This emphasis allows community members with very little access to formal education opportunities to develop lasting knowledge and skills that are comparable to nurse practitioners and physician assistants. They live and work in their own communities and have the cultural context and language to best understand and communicate with their patients. Additionally, Concern America ensures that there is a network of support for further learning and growth through advanced courses and continuous training opportunities with more advanced -practitioners and field personnel.

Concern America's strategies include:
1. Increased Availability of Care: Practitioners and midwives continue to provide care to their communities in the teaching clinics and in their homes and communities. The clinic sites have been reconfigured to ensure safety for all, as well as established specific instructions and processes for those with COVID symptoms.
2. Training and Increasing Public Health: While most in-person courses are postponed, the programs have expanded virtual training through informational videos and increased telemedicine support, particularly to keep practitioners and patients updated on COVID information. Short videos, made by advanced practitioners and field team members, can easily be shared by way of mobile phones. Likewise, practitioners are able to then inform their communities on the best public health practices, helping to provide guidelines and a reliable source to answer questions and local needs around safety, transmission, and vaccines.
3. Essential Medicines and Equipment: Previously, most families had been able to pay for the affordable care they receive and the practitioners’ supply is maintained as a rotating fund.
4. Build Local Leadership: Practitioners and midwives continue to expand their responsibilities in leading program activities, managing the clinic, accounting, budgets, and reporting, further extending the work of the program through local leadership. They continue to be instrumental in identifying and responding to the needs in their communities.
5. Integrated Development: By using popular education materials and activities that train community members, Concern America strengthens community-based development and empowers local leaders to addressing environmental health concerns. Concern America works with teams of environmental health practitioners to develop community water systems, install family water filters, and construct healthier and fuel-efficient stoves.

Since its establishment in 1972, Concern America has worked in fifteen countries on four continents, making a difference in the lives of more than two million people. It has sent over 300 field volunteers to support refugee aid programs, health care training, education, appropriate technology training and development, cooperative and fair trade income-generation. Concern America currently works with 4,000 health care providers, midwives, dental promoters, teachers, water system builders, and artisan cooperative members in more than 1,000 communities.

With a reputation for preserving organizational integrity in all aspects of its work, Concern America has succeeded quietly, for nearly five decades, while continuing to grow to serve more of those in need. Despite economic downturns and shifting trends in international development, Concern America has maintained and expanded its programs by attracting and keeping loyal donors and maintaining a dedicated team of field personnel and home office staff.

Becoming the primary health care providers in their villages, practitioners participate in a standardized three-year course of study. This includes diagnosis, treatment, and an emphasis on preventive care and is done through coursework and extensive hands-on training and practice in the programs’ clinics and community visits. Practitioners and midwives further their education through courses on advanced topics such as minor surgeries (like tendon repair and cyst removal), palliative care, complicated deliveries, orthopedics, trauma management, diabetes control and treatment, and managing psychiatric conditions. During the pandemic, the program has created and shared videos and flyers by cell phone of updated procedures, treatments, and public health information for practitioners and their communities.

In order to make the model accessible to other programs around the world, Concern America has developed a 24-book training series for practitioners. Using “popular education” pedagogy, the dynamic How To Teach Health manuals are comprehensive and facilitate a hands-on, community-centered learning experience, including teacher guides and student workbooks. Concern America has partnered with Hesperian Health Guides, the publisher of the seminal Where There Is No Doctor, to promote and distribute the innovative How To Teach Health series. Publication of the series significantly expands and deepens the catalog of resources to build community-led health programs and has the potential to expand and improve care to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

The impact of Concern America’s health promoter practitioner model becomes apparent by looking at the numbers. They demonstrate increased accessibility of high-quality health care in isolated regions. Consider Petén, Guatemala, where Concern America operates its largest health program. The doctor/patient ratio had been estimated to be 1:5,000, before Concern America began its trainings, and a typical health consult would cost more than US$20 including travel and medications. For context, most families’ income amounts to a meager US$2/day.

As a result of Concern America’s work, the ratio of health care provider to patient has improved by a full order of magnitude: 1:500. A typical consult with a practitioner costs about US$3. That includes lab tests, medicines, and patient education — and it all takes place in one’s own village.

Last year alone, practitioners in Guatemala provided 150,000 high-quality medical consults, saving families US$2.55 million, needless hardship, and untold deaths. The complexity of diagnosis and treatments recently registered at one of the teaching clinics in a single day of consults included strep throat, malaria, high blood pressure, fungal infections, intestinal parasites, pneumonia, wound care, eczema, diabetes, muscular pain, epilepsy, and anemia.

To train and accompany the practitioners and other community members, Concern America engages long-term field personnel who work for a minimum of two years, though most stay for an average of five years, and some stay for decades, because of their commitment to this transformational work. They are nurses, doctors, engineers, and related professionals who live in the communities where they work. They share housing and food, as well as the hopes and challenges of life in that region.

Now, local leaders are responsible for most of the training courses, community visits, community organizing, and program coordination. In the Guatemalan health program mentioned above, in 1997 Concern America supported eight field personnel who worked in 40 villages. Today there are five field volunteers, yet the program serves more than 300 communities. This is possible because of the strong local team of advanced practitioners, midwives, and environmental health promoters. In fact, a number of the Guatemalan practitioners and midwives now travel to Colombia and Mexico in place of Concern America field personnel to staff and support the organization’s health programs in those countries. In all, a population of 255,000 currently receives its health care from Concern America-trained practitioners.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Concern America trains community members in Guatemala, Mexico, and Colombia to provide health care services, clean water, education, and income opportunities in hundreds of remote communities in those regions. Most of those trained, as well as those they serve, come from indigenous communities and have little access to basic resources.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Because of public transportation shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, community members reached out to the trained health care providers because they were not easily able to access much-needed medications, particularly for chronic illnesses. In turn, the practitioners organized deliveries of two-month supplies of medicines every two months throughout this time to ensure that people had access to these life-saving supplies.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    It helps to maintain a more horizontal and participatory structure. In particular, community members feel a stronger ownership if they are involved in program decisions.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Concern America
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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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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Concern America

Board of directors
as of 11/11/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ben de Los Reyes

Beth McPherson

Ben de los Reyes

Michael Gilbert

Herlinda Ramirez

Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange

Deborah Salas

Marty Trujillo

Paul Williams

Sandra Williams

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

Doreen Chesebro

Stacey Clinesmith

Amy Glenane

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

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/7/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/07/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.