Sowing Opportunities, Inc.

Cultivating self-sustainability in rural Guatemala

aka Sembrando Oportunidades   |   MALDEN, MA   |  www.sowingops.org

Mission

Sowing Opportunities seeks to cultivate self-sustainability, education, and wellness in rural Guatemala.

Ruling year info

2018

President

Ms. Fern Remedi-Brown

Main address

21 IVY RD

MALDEN, MA 02148 USA

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Formerly known as

Sowing Opportunities, Inc.

EIN

81-3388386

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (K01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (P01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (J01)

IRS filing requirement

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

Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The village of Chajmaic, Guatemala is located along el Río Cahabón. The river provides plentiful water for the village. Destitute and bereft of resources, stripped of options by years of being forgotten by the government, the river is the greatest asset for the remote village of 1,750. However, the river is used for all the village's needs – cooking; cleaning clothes, food, cookware; bathing; drinking; eliminating. Many years ago an administrator from the nearby municipality of Fray Bartolomé de las Casas tried to set up water by sectors for the village, with a small hut for a water pump, which would elevate the water through a pipe already installed, up a hill in the village and it would have been pumped up from river into the hut. The project was halfway completed. This would reduce contamination of water toxicities – projected to reduce by half their current values. This opens the opportunity to eradicate GI illnesses and greatly improve the well-being of the entire village.

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?

Water for Life – Agua de Vida

We seek to help Chajmaic to become self-sustaining, but first they must have access to clean water and food so that they can think of options.

Our pilot project in the village of Chajmaic is water access for the village, population 3,000:

1) Set up a system to access water for the village, with 3 milestones: water accessibility, water filtration, water hygiene education

2) Set up greenhouse tiered farming and teach a team how to continue this work and why it’s important

3) Teach the people to plant non-native vegetables to feed themselves, on their land, and to sell the vegetables to the other villages

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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 affiliates speaking to government leaders about relevant policy issues

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

No target populations selected

Related Program

Water for Life – Agua de Vida

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Five affiliates have requested and received funding from the municipal mayor about our pilot project. These include our board and staff members in Guatemala, our President, and village leadership.

Number of government officials who publicly support the advocacy effort

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

No target populations selected

Related Program

Water for Life – Agua de Vida

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our team met with the municipal mayor of Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, Lilian García Contreras. in 12/2017. She aided us in 5/2018. The new mayor, Arnoldo Fontana completed the project in 3/2020.

Number of list subscribers

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

No target populations selected

Related Program

Water for Life – Agua de Vida

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

As of March 9, 2020, we have 225 subscribers.

Number of funding dollars secured for demonstration projects or pilots

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

No target populations selected

Related Program

Water for Life – Agua de Vida

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The work of the two municipal mayors equals USD $225,000 in effort, displacing the amount Sowing Opportunities needs to raise.

Number of meetings held with decision makers

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

No target populations selected

Related Program

Water for Life – Agua de Vida

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our Board of Directors (decision-makers) meets approximately 8x/year.

Number of new advocates recruited

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

No target populations selected

Related Program

Water for Life – Agua de Vida

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In the past month (March 2020), we actively have recruited five new advocates.

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.

What is your organization aiming to accomplish?
Our associate in Guatemala, Ricardo San José, and his team of agricultural engineers, have traveled several times since 2015 to the village of Chajmaic, providing food and water filters, doing field research, and establishing good relations with the village leaders (COCODE) of Chajmaic and with the mayor of the nearby municipality, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas.

We wish to accomplish three objectives:
1. Create peace and healing between the village and the government, in response to historical intentional disregard and destruction of indigenous people and their land.

2. Deliver water from the river, purify it, and bring it to stations within the village.

3. The team will use the clean water for growing crops, which will provide food (agriculture) to sustain them, and a livelihood selling the food that they grow.

What are your strategies for making this happen?
1. In December in 2017 they met with the mayor, who showed them the water filtration system in Fray on which Ricardo and his team will model a pump system for Chajmaic. They are visiting again in May 2018 to further this strategic mission.

2. Pump water that will deliver suctioned water uphill from the river and draw it into a tank to purify the water. They will send this water to the entire village by force of pressure and gravity push, approximately 450 gallons per hour, 24 hours a day. This will eliminate gastrointestinal diseases.

3. Rent a relatively small portion of land to build a tiered greenhouse, bringing in vegetables that are not native to Chajmaic.

Fern Remedi-Brown has expertise is in designing successful programs that understand the needs of multicultural and multilingual populations, and she has a passion for eliminating global healthcare inequities. She has traveled multiple times to Guatemala and is working closely with the Guatemala NGO CorGuate. She is an educator with a Master's of Education and an MBA in Global & Healthcare Management. She has done extensive fundraising on a small scale, raising over $31,000 over three years with grassroots funding.

Our associate in Guatemala, Ricardo San José, President of the NGO CorGuate, is the project manager for our team in the region. He has directed projects and has connections with the Catholic church, as well as having developed personal trusted relationships with members of the village of Chajmaic. He has knowledge of business practices, as well as organizational capability.

The initial plan for the village of Chajmaic was to create a chili pepper farm because that is one of the only crops that will grow on the land. We sent Ricardo and Antonio to do field research in Péten, in the north, to visit a functional chili pepper farm. When we realized the cost of renting a large amount of land and hiring farm hands, we decided in March 2017 to start smaller for our pilot project and to go with the most pressing need – that of clean water, which will help the villagers to stop getting sick from the river water, which they use for all their needs.

At the December 2015 trip to Chajmaic, Ricardo and Antonio visited the COCODE, the village leaders, and got their approval to do a project that will help them to move out of poverty. At that time, we were thinking about the chili pepper project. At the December 2017 trip to Chajmaic, they also visited the mayor of Fray Bartolomé, which was a necessary step in creating a bridge relationship between the village and this municipality. There are long-standing issues of trust between the indigenous people and the local government, so this work has to be done with finesse. Ricardo and his team are approaching this strategically.

Financials

Sowing Opportunities, 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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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • 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.

Sowing Opportunities, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 3/23/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Fern Remedi-Brown

Sowing Opportunities, Inc.

Term: 2017 - 2025

Cecilia Nuñez O’Doherty

Lauren DiSalvatore

Rabbi David Kudan

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/09/2020

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
Female, Not Transgender (Cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person with 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: 03/09/2020

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • 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 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 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.