Alliance for International Reforestation, Inc.

With every farmer we train, every stove we build, every tree we plant, we choose Hope

aka AIR-Guatemala; AIRES; Alianza Internacional de Reforestacion; AIRES-Nicaragua   |   Atlanta, GA   |  www.airguatemala.org

Mission

AIR was established in 1993 with the mission of implementing environmental education programs, Regenerative Farming methods, building efficient stoves and planting millions of trees with low-income rural families in Central America. The impact of this mission is to prevent lung disease, reduce soil erosion, improve food crops and nutrition, prevent deadly mudslides, while sequestering carbon and protecting the gift of the Earth.

Notes from the nonprofit

The number of trees planted over the 25-year history of AIR-Guatemala is at over 7 million trees, that are still growing strong and are not for timber. We keep careful records of tree seedlings produced by species, from each AIR technician in each community, available in annual tables. This 7 million trees is a low total estimate because it does not include all of the trees planted from several Micro-Businesses that have emerged from AIR's work; i.e., AIR tree nurseries often become micro-businesses and farmers continue selling tree seedlings to neighbors long after AIR has moved on to other communities. AIR technicians stay in contact with some of these micro-businesses to assist them. This is more evidence that AIR's Farmer training is transforming cultures from tree-burning to tree-planting cultures. In addition to planting millions of trees, we train farmers in Regenerative farming. It is a model that works for the long-term on many levels.

Ruling year info

1992

Executive Field Director

Sra. Cecilia Isabel Ramirez

Main address

4514 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd. Unit #496

Atlanta, GA 30338 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

59-3062311

NTEE code info

Other Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition N.E.C. (K99)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Rural (S32)

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

AIR addresses three inter-related problems in Central America: Deforestation and mudslides; smaller crops and malnutrition; and lung disease from open cooking fires--this is also related to the overarching problem of Climate Change due partially to deforestation. At least 2/3 of Central America is deforested and much of this devastation is from "slash-and-burn" farming and from firewood use. Although "slash-and-burn" farming is traditional, it is no longer sustainable with growing populations and when farmers are forced to farm on steep mountain slopes where deforestation causes massive soil erosion and deadly mudslides. We address the inter-related problems of deforestation, malnutrition and lung disease with inter-related solutions: Sustainable Farmer Training, Reforestation, and Efficient Stoves (see below):

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?

Tree nurseries

Tree Nurseries - AIR has approximately 250 nurseries in hundreds of communities and dozens of schools, established over AIR's history. The population served by these nurseries are the resident families who participate in the agro-forestry training by AIR technicians and who manage the tree nurseries and own the tree seedlings produced.  AIR provides all seeds, materials and training. AIR staff and volunteers have produced over 7 million trees from these nurseries!

Population(s) Served
Families
Indigenous peoples

AIR technicians train in eight to ten villages each; they help farmers implement agro-forestry methods in their own fields-- increasing food crops without using dangerous chemicals!   In 2019, AIR organized the first annual "Intercambio de Experiencias" event in Guatemala, where over 120 farmers who were trained by AIR technicians came to share their successes and lessons learned with each other.
AIR has just begun a "capital campaign" to construct a SECOND Training Center for farmers--this one is to be built in west-central Guatemala.

Population(s) Served
Families
Indigenous peoples

Brick, fuel-efficient stoves each year are built by AIR technicians and volunteers.  These stoves ventilate harmful smoke to improve family health, and they conserve a ton of firewood each year, and are an important incentive for farmers to reforest and participate in farmer training.

Population(s) Served
Families
Indigenous peoples

AIR selects fifteen rural students from impoverished farmers and who are participating in the farmer training--to receive high school scholarships. AIR technicians will mentor each student and finds US sponsors to pay their tuition and purchase school supplies, uniforms, and transportation for 5 or 6 years--allowing the students to graduate from vocational school. The scholarships are only $800 per year to change the lives of these dedicated students.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Indigenous peoples

The farmers participating in establishing tree nurseries and the farmer training in regenerative methods often turn their AIR tree nurseries into microbusinesses. In fact, 90% of the tree nurseries become businesses after AIR's training! The farmers sell the tree seedlings at a modest price to neighbors who have been watching the farms improve. Now, the tree nurseries add to family incomes and spread the tree-planting even farther.

Population(s) Served
Families
Indigenous peoples

AIR technicians provide teacher training on environmental topics and establish tree nurseries and gardens on rural school campuses. AIR with a grant from ERM has published two textbooks in English and Spanish.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Indigenous peoples

Where we work

Awards

Best Environmental Organization of the Year 2004

Instituto Nacional de Agricultura y Bosques (INAB), Guatemala

Equator Prize 2017 for Nature-Based Sustainable Development 2017

United Nations ECOSOC

CNN Hero, Anne Motley Hallum 2011

CNN (Cable News Network)

J. Sterling Morton Award for International Excellence to Anne Hallum 2011

National Arbor Day Foundation

Momentum for Change: Women for Results 2013

United Nations Conference on Climate Change

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.

Our Goals are:
(1) to train as many rural families as we can reach in central Guatemala and Matagalpa, Nicaragua in Sustainable Farming and to provide orchards and gardens for better nutrition and food security;
(2) to plant millions of beneficial trees, both for agro-forestry and reforestation of mountains in central Guatemala to prevent soil erosion and mudslides;
(3) to provide educational programs in dozens of schools, as well as scholarships for rural teens;
(4) to build hundreds of fuel-efficient brick stoves to protect lung health and conserve precious trees, throughout central Guatemala;
(5) to empower local decision-making by involving residents in every stage of planning and implementing projects; and
(6) to restore Bird Habitat and to sequester millions of tons of carbon pollution by planting trees.

The first detail of AIR's strategy is the efficient use of the time and talent of AIR Technicians. Each technician teaches in seven communities and one school, for FIVE YEARS of training and then moves on to another set. This strategy has enabled a small staff to reach large areas of two departments, i.e. "states" in Guatemala, and AIR has now added the third Department of Quiche. The projects are sustainable into the far future because we stay long enough for community members of all ages to experience the improvements, not just hear about them. In 2018, AIR was able to hire two more technicians to reach even more communities and schools-- over 50 communities at a time, each with a shared tree nursery averaging 10,000 tree seedlings planted at each site!
Secondly, each technician is a trusted native of Guatemala who speaks the Mayan language as well as Spanish--this provides extraordinary access and sustainable success.
Thirdly, residents have ownership of the projects from the first day and select their own leadership and sites for nurseries and stoves and cisterns. In fact, many of the tree nurseries become micro-businesses and families are able to sell tree seedlings to their neighbors for some income. It is up to them whether they take this step after AIR's five-year training.
Fourth, AIR accepts US volunteers each January and June, in order to have powerful friendship exchanges with the farmers. The volunteers are especially helpful during the season of transplanting seedlings and building stoves each June. But AIR avoids becoming a year-round "tourist" organization and losing our primary mission goals--we stay on task and follow the lead of the Guatemalan hosts.

AIR has an expert full-time staff of eight persons in Guatemala and two in Nicaragua and every full-time salaried member of AIR is a native resident.

The Executive Director of AIR, for instance, is Sra. Cecilia Ramirez who has earned business degrees and leads this award-winning organization with efficiency and effectiveness. She is aided every day by Administrative Assistant, Lidia Otzoy who began as one of AIR's scholarship students and is now attending college when she is not working with AIR.
AIR's technicians in the field each have degrees in Agro-forestry and two have earned Master's degrees in Environmental Engineering as well. In Guatemala, the AIR technicians are themselves K'akchiquel or Quiche Maya and know the native languages as well as Spanish and some English. The importance of this indigenous characteristic cannot be overstated-- farmers trust and relate to the AIR technicians immediately. This gives AIR an organizational capability and advantage that most environmental/agriculture nonprofits lack.
Finally, AIR has a team of dedicated Board members, donors, and volunteers in the United States-- including churches, Rotary Clubs, Foundations, and individuals.

*Over 5,000 Guatemalan families in rural communities have received five years of training in Regenerative Farming and have changed their farming methods (planting windbreak trees, fertilizing trees and fruit trees; no-till farming; poly-culture; terracing; without chemicals in fields; setting aside areas for forestry to prevent mudslides)
* 875 fuel-efficient stoves custom built in homes to prevent lung disease and to conserve trees;
* 200 schools with AIR's environmental curriculum and 14 rural schools that have received tree nurseries and vegetable gardens, along with intensive lessons by AIR technicians on composting, planting, nutrition, climate change, and native tree benefits;
* 6.5 million trees planted for (a) agro-forestry to improve crop yields with richer soil, nitrogen-fixing tree roots,less soil erosion; and (b) reforestation trees planted on steep mountain slopes to prevent mudslides and to restore bird habitat.
* Even more trees have been planted by the majority of the communities which continue the tree nurseries beyond the five years of AIR training;
* 350 US volunteers from universities, Rotary Clubs and churches have worked with AIR-Guatemala (but only when needed, during the summer planting season). The volunteers plant trees, build stoves, form friendships. They also evaluate AIR's progress and strategies.
NEXT: AIR plans to continue our highly successful five-year model, and we have hired two new Technicians (Josue Ajcalon and Victor Ruben) to expand the projects into the poorest area of Guatemala, the Department of Quiche. These two experts already are working in 10 new communities in Quiche training 189 farmers and students. AIR has just added a Farmer Training and Food Security program outside of Matagalpa, Nicaragua.

Financials

Alliance for International Reforestation, Inc.
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Operations

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

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Alliance for International Reforestation, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 8/27/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Anne Hallum

Stetson University Emeritus

Term: 1993 - 2023

Anne Hallum

Professor Emeritus, Stetson University

Ken McCoy

Communications Professor, Stetson University

Glenda Gray

Philanthropist

Christopher Stubbs

Snelling Staffing Svcs.

Cecilia Ramirez

Executive Director, AIRES

Roger Montes

Civil Engineer

Glenda Gray

Actress/Philanthropist

Heather Koontz

PCUSA Pastor

George Winsten

Solar Development

Carol Ivey

Philanthropist

Suzanne Kosmas

Philanthropist

Rebecca Hallum

Nonprofit Attorney

Adam Darragh

Pastor/Film Industry

Caity Peterson

Soil Scientist

Rachel Mammadi

Philanthropist

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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/27/2021

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
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/06/2021

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 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 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 help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • 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.