Common Hope

Fighting Poverty with Diplomas

St. Paul, MN   |


Common Hope promotes hope and opportunity in Guatemala, partnering with children, families, and communities who want to participate in a process of development to improve their lives through education, health care, and housing.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mrs. Shari Blindt

Main address

1410 Energy Park Drive Suite 4

St. Paul, MN 55108 USA

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Formerly known as

Godchild Sponsorship Corporation



NTEE code info

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Health (General and Financing) (E80)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

According to international development indicators, educational opportunities in Guatemala are the lowest in Latin America. Access to education is limited due to the cost of uniforms, school supplies, enrollment fees and transportation costs. Families with limited economic resources often make the difficult decision to have their child leave school because their families depend on them to start working to contribute to the household income. In Guatemala only 18.6% of people graduate from high school and have limited opportunities to be able to break the generational cycle of poverty. Absent Common Hope’s support to help students stay enrolled and progressing in school, most of our students would be among those who do not continue their education beyond primary school.

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?


Our education program helps students attend pre-primary, primary, and secondary school, vocational school, and university. We also provide extra educational support like tutoring, library access, and extracurricular youth development activities. And, we partner with local public schools to help them reach new standards of excellence.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Our health care program includes basic health care, preventive health care education, dental care, prenatal education, a pharmacy, nutrition and lab services, and community health fairs.

Population(s) Served

Our housing program provides opportunities for affiliated families to earn a house through sweat equity hours. In addition, families can work to earn a stove, latrine, cement floor, and utilities such as water, drainage, and electricity.

Population(s) Served

Our Family Development Program strives to create stable family systems. To accomplish this we offer social work support, job placement services, parenting education, counseling, support groups, and social workers who work closely with each family to identify goals and formulate a plan to succeed.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Charity Navigator 2015

Charity Navigator - 4 Stars 2016

Charity Navigator - 4 Stars 2017

Charity Navigator - 4 Stars 2018

Charity Navigator 4 Stars 2019


Dignitas Humana 2010

St. John's School of Theology-Seminary

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 program graduates

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Educational opportunities in Guatemala are among the lowest in Latin America with only 18.6% of the population graduating from high school. The graduation rate for Common Hope students is 60% or more.

Number of children who have access to education

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success


Context Notes

With more than half of the population living below the poverty line our education program works to remove barriers by providing books, uniforms, school supplies, tuition, and transportation.

Total Population Served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

A child’s ability to show up and do well in school depends on the wellbeing of the entire family, which is why we provide health care, housing and family development programs to the entire family.

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.

The fundamental belief that access to education is an opportunity for families to break the generational cycle of poverty IS the heart of Common Hope’s work. It is a fabric of support systems in education, health care, housing and family development designed to remove the barriers that prevent children from graduating from high school. Through Common Hope’s comprehensive approach families received access to programs and interventions that provide families with the tools they need to support the educational process we believe will break the cycle of poverty, but will also create a stronger, more sustainable community for generations to come. Common Hope supports more than 14,000 children and adults through our comprehensive programming model in 27 communities in Guatemala.

For 35 years, Common Hope has successfully delivered our mission to promote hope and opportunity in Guatemala. All of our programs work towards the long-term goals that students will (1) graduate high school or a vocational equivalent, (2) develop critical thinking skills, and (3) possess the confidence, compassion, and organizational skills that will enable them to be multipliers of our work and agents of change.

Common Hope’s 2017-2020 Strategic Plan is focused on growing our ability to serve thousands of children and families through education, health care, housing and family development and on renewing our commitment to foundational excellence by making necessary investments. This planning period will work to:

**Invest in the future. To carry out our mission, we need to ensure our capabilities grow along with our commitments and support envisioned growth.

**Build on a Proven Approach. As Common Hope has grown and evolved into a larger, more professional organization, we've honored our core values and maintained the emphasis on education within a holistic and relationship-based approach to human development. We are committed to building strong relationships between those we serve, our staff and volunteers, and our loyal, committed donor base. In this planning period, we will continue to steward our resources with integrity and discipline, maintaining donor confidence and providing a stable foundation of support to affiliated families so they may build a better future.

**Innovate to improve outcomes. As more than 2,000 graduates and a third long-term impact study demonstrate, Common Hope has been successful in raising educational attainment. To make hope real for more young Guatemalans, we continue to innovate in our programs to better address needs and obstacles. In this plan period, we seek to increase promotion rates through Junior High and into High School, improve the education primary schools provide affiliated students, and increase the number of students who continue into secondary school in San Rafael.

1. Empower families to eliminate barriers to education for their children by delivering efficient, effective programming in health care, housing, and family development. Our programs empower families to commit to education for their children through high school graduation. We will focus on providing support to families who are faced with sicknesses and insecure housing while accompanying them in their process of development.

2. Improve the success of key interventions to increase annual grade promotion toward high school or vocational graduation. We seek to create greater momentum for students rising through primary school, reaching junior high on schedule, and ultimately graduating from high school.

3. Improve the lives of families in the San Rafael and Santa Marta communities by increasing the educational attainment of their children and providing access to primary healthcare and social work accompaniment to the family. We will address the extreme poverty and barriers families in these communities face. Keeping children in school longer, providing access to secondary education, and addressing very basic family needs like primary health care and housing.

4. Improve the quality of education that primary schools provide to students in communities where our affiliated families live, contributing to improved outcomes in primary and secondary education. We will graduate our ¬first six partner schools with improved classroom management systems and literacy for their students and will launch Partner School 2.0 in up to eight public schools.

5. Define the vision for 2025 for the New Hope Site. We will specifically address our vision for New Hope School, unoccupied land, infrastructure and maintenance, the New Hope community, and potential areas for program expansion or innovation.

6. Build organizational capacity to align with goals for the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan and beyond. To honor generational commitments we make to grow the number of students in school, serve new communities, and partner with local public schools, we need to invest in our organizational capacity to attract, manage, and deploy greater resources.

7. Grow philanthropic support to generate revenues in excess of $5.5 million by 2020. To provide for planned expansion and investment, promote stability for generational program commitments, and sustain annual operations, we will generate revenue in excess of $5.5 million by 2020.

8. Steward our resources with integrity and discipline, carrying out our mission efficiently and effectively. Our history of stability, consistency of purpose, and kept promises has earned us credibility with our donors and the families we serve. We will maintain our goal of at least 80% of funding for program expenses, and maintain ¬fiscal integrity and donor trust.

Common Hope has been a strong and well-respected presence in Guatemala since 1986, and we have a well-established track record for accomplishing our goals and managing our programs. We have built a broad foundation of support, with the involvement of local schools, communities, governmental and non-governmental organizations. Our capable and committed staff is highly attuned to the local communities served, and 98% of in-country staff is Guatemalan.

Programmatic advances and innovation were possible because of our loyal donors and dedicated staff. Our mission is carried out by more than 8,000 active supporters, many of whom provide smaller, regular gifts over long periods of time. These recurring gifts make up nearly 42% of our annual revenues. This stable base of financial support enables us to make long term commitments the families we serve.

Common Hope has a well-established track record for accomplishing our goals and managing our programs. During the last three years, an average of 81% of donations have gone directly to programs. For 9 consecutive years, Common Hope has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, a charity watchdog that measures for financial health as well as organizational transparency and accountability. Only 2% of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive this “exceptional” designation. Our rating means that our ability to allocate resources toward programs and services, while minimizing overhead and fundraising expenses, and our level of transparency and accountability with our donors, continues to exceed industry standards. Common Hope also meets all standards of the Charities Review Council.

For 35+ years, Common Hope’s comprehensive approach has provided education, health care, housing and family development programs that make it possible for children to attend and stay in school. Despite the fact that only 18.6% of the population in Guatemala complete a high school education, Common Hope has supported more than 2,400 students through graduation. Programmatic achievements include:

Education: Common Hope helped provide pre-primary, primary, secondary, and university education for 3,271 students in 2019, paying for tuition, books, supplies, shoes and uniforms. We celebrated 157 young men and women who earned their high school diploma, most of them being first generation graduates. In addition, educational support programs offered tutoring, summer school, special education, access to libraries and computer labs, youth groups, and teacher training. Moreover, Common Hope operated a school for primary and pre-school students at New Hope Village, and we served an additional 547 students in public primary schools through our reading and math initiatives through Partner Schools, a program designed to improve the quality of education for all students who attend.

Family Development: Common Hope partnered with 1,629 families to provide resources and tools to improve their lives in Guatemala. Through a long-term relationship with a Common Hope social worker, families identified goals, obstacles and created their own family development plan. In support of these development plans, we provided training for adults in parenting and early childhood stimulation. Common Hope also offered emergency relief and support groups for parents and those struggling with alcoholism, psychological and emotional issues.

Health Care: Common Hope’s medical and dental staff and volunteers conducted a total of 10,760 consultations with patients at our clinics in 2019. Health care services included examinations, lab tests, x-rays, medications, surgeries, mental health services and dental care. Clinic staff provided treatment and education for specific health issues endemic to the area, including diabetes and hypertension. In addition, we conducted 4,798 screenings to diagnose things like cervical cancer, diabetes, and nutritional deficiencies. We partner with other organizations to provide health and dental care at our San Rafael, San Miguel Milpas Altas, and New Hope sites.

Housing: Common Hope partnered with families to build 80 houses that are clean, dry, and safe. Family members worked more than 4,695 sweat-equity hours to “earn” these home improvements. Common Hope also improved and operated the infrastructure for New Hope including running water, electricity, and sewer, to help families who have relocated from marginal housing in Guatemala City. In addition, the housing program built 10 retaining walls using recycled materials to protect homes from landslides, provided 68 efficient wood stoves, and provided 25 families with space saving, folding bunk beds.

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person),

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

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, 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 strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We serve communities in Guatemala. A recent survey was conducted in December 2020 regarding food insecurity and the availability of fuel for cooking. Common Hope is continuing to assess needs to help deliver services.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

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

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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently,


Common Hope

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


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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.

Common Hope

Board of directors
as of 07/11/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mark Ruff

Fran McCloskey

Nancy Norling

Nancy Norling, D.D.S.

John Bruellman

Sign-Zone, Inc.

Joe Hammell

Mark Ruff

Richard Cargill

Midwest Climbing

Cheri Broadhead

Totino Grace High School

Carlos Cruz

University of Minnesota

Danell Gibbins


Davor Grgic

Chris Osgood

Great Northern Equipment

Vince Walker

Diane Kozlak

Cindy Sattler

Marlene Ibarra

Katie Sullivan

Bill Wagner

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 2/12/2021

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


No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


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Sexual orientation

No data


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