Community Improvement, Capacity Building

Mayan Hands Foundation Ltd

aka Mayan Hands

ALBANY, NY

Mission

Mayan Hands is a fair trade nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the prosperity of Mayan women so that they bring their families out of extreme poverty as they continue to live within the culture they cherish. We believe that when provided with economic opportunity, women can build sustainable futures for themselves, their families and communities. Additionally, Mayan Hands invests in the next generation by providing scholarships for the daughters of our artisan partners.

Ruling Year

2010

Principal Officer

Anne Kelly

Main Address

420 WHITEHALL RD

ALBANY, NY 12208 USA

Keywords

fair trade

EIN

26-2633965

 Number

7874893976

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Economic Development (S30)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Mayan Hands is a fair trade nonprofit organization dedicated to providing economic and educational opportunities to Mayan women, supporting them in their quest to bring their families out of extreme poverty as they continue to live within the culture they cherish. Though renowned internationally as talented textile artists, Mayan women are the poorest of the poor in their homeland. Without an education and unable to speak Spanish, they lack the basic skills necessary for employment outside of the home. In a society where racism and machismo are rampant, they suffer a double discrimination, as indigenous people and as women. Mayan Hands also invests in the next generation by providing education opportunity for both our artisan partners and their daughters. Unfortunately, girls face barriers to the quality education they deserve, simply because they are girls. Domestic housework, cultural bias, poverty, hunger, violence, and early or forced marriage are a daily reality.

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

Artisan Support

Education Fund

Where we work

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 they accomplished so far and what's next?

We believe that when provided economic opportunity and income over time, women can build sustainable futures for themselves, their families and communities. Mayan women are the most marginalized and impoverished sector of the population of Guatemala. However, with access to economic and educational opportunity, women and girls can be powerful agents of enduring change in their communities. Our artisan partners improve the health and nutrition of their families, send their children, including their daughters, to school, and invest in their local economies. In Guatemala, a country with more than half a million weavers and far too few local and international outlets, artisans often sell below the cost of production. Mayan Hands has found a solution to this competitive race to the bottom in the introduction of innovative artisan processes, something that our creative artisan partners have taken to places they and we could never have imagined.

Our work involves much more than simply paying a fair price: it includes capacity building, developing business and leadership skills, preservation of cultural traditions and environmental stewardship, as well as a demonstrated commitment to transparency. Rather than working with individual artisans, Mayan Hands partners with democratically operated cooperatives of women. In Guatemala, cooperatives offer an economic model that can provide financial stability, shared decision-making, and leadership opportunity to economically marginalized producers. Some of our partner coops have established their own micro-lending program and all have elected leadership and transparent accounting practices. Additionally, Mayan Hands provides scholarships and other educational support for the daughters of our artisan partners. Some of our artisan partners also participate in this scholarship program.

With 30 years experience partnering with talented artisans, we are uniquely poised to offer both current and new artisan partners an opportunity to apply their extensive traditional skills to innovative techniques that will open new markets for their products. As a founding member of the Fair Trade Federation, the North American trade organization of businesses and nonprofits fully committed to the principles of fair trade, Mayan Hands has undergone a rigorous vetting process, which also involves an annual renewal.

The mission of Mayan Hands is to provide work for our artisan partners. Ultimately the success of any of our projects is in no small part measured by increased income for the women. Since the women are assured fair compensation for their work, the ability to receive enough and regular work raises the standard of living. As much of our measure of success had been more anecdotal, in 2017 we initiated a Needs Assessment Project in conjunction with Siena College. One hundred sixty of our artisan partners were surveyed on detailed indicators of their economic status, standard of living and quality of life. This project, approved by an institutional review board, is the basis of an ongoing impact assessment process.

Over time, we have seen the enormous change that fair trade brings to the communities we serve. With long-term and consistent earnings, women have more control over their lives and can plan for the future knowing the income will be there month after month. For women who never attended school, the classes and trainings in which they participate generate pride in their abilities and their culture. Artisans acquire the business skills necessary to fulfill and invoice orders. Our Needs Assessment/Impact Assessment measures indicate that the families of our artisan partners receive nutritious meals, have access to health care. and that their children, including the girls, are in school.

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

Fair Trade Federation 1993

Financials

Mayan Hands Foundation Ltd

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Operations

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 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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?

Not Applicable

ETHICS & 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?

Not Applicable

BOARD PERFORMANCE

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

Yes