Trees, Water & People

Helping people and the planet

aka Trees, Water & People   |   Fort Collins, CO   |  www.treeswaterpeople.org

Mission

To improve people's lives by helping communities protect, conserve and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends.

We work in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and on tribal lands in the United States.

Notes from the nonprofit

All of our current financial data and reports can be found on our website: https://www.treeswaterpeople.org/financials.html https://www.treeswaterpeople.org/annual-report.html

Ruling year info

1998

Executive Director

Sebastian Africano

Main address

633 Remington Street

Fort Collins, CO 80524 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

84-1462044

NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Management & Technical Assistance (C02)

Energy Resources Conservation and Development (C35)

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

The livelihood and well-being of rural people across the Americas is constantly threatened by different factors. Climate change is one of them and a core driver of migration. The frequency and intensity of extreme and devastating climate events is constantly growing, leaving people with no other choice but to leave their homelands behind and embark in a dangerous and uncertain journey, often met with violence and stigma. The need for addressing extreme climate risk is immediate and requires job generation, economic diversification and empowering local communities to protect, preserve and better manage their natural resources.

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?

International Program

Trees, Water & People's international community-based development projects improve people's lives by helping communities protect, conserve, and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends.

In partnership with local NGOs, we have planted more than 5.8 million trees and built more than 70,000 clean cookstoves in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti. Our clean cookstoves reduce fuelwood consumption by 50-70 percent, as compared to standard open-fire cooking, and reduce indoor air pollution by up to 80 percent. When vented to the outside of the home, these improved stoves reduce deadly smoke in the kitchen, which kills 4 million people, mostly women and children, globally every year. Our community tree nurseries supply local farmers and communities with over 50 different species of trees to aid in reforestation efforts throughout Latin America.
 
TWP also distributes solar lighting products through our for-profit subsidiary, Luciérnaga. These household solar LED products meet lighting and device charging needs for energy poor populations, saving families money on fuel costs and reducing indoor air pollution. Luciérnaga imports solar products in bulk and sells them to our trusted network of NGOs, small business owners, and cooperatives on the ground. To date, Luciérnaga has sold nearly 5,000 solar lighting systems to rural, off-grid families.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples

TWP provides sustainable, economically beneficial, and culturally appropriate energy solutions to Native Americans living on tribal lands throughout the Great Plains and the American West.

With our local partner, Lakota Solar Enterprises, we have produced over 850 innovative solar air heating systems that save Native American families 20-30% on monthly heating costs, prevent toxic pollutants from harming their health and the environment, improve their living conditions, and allow them to utilize savings for much needed medicine and food. More than 150 tribal members have received valuable training in renewable energy applications, providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary to install efficient solar heaters in their communities.

In addition, our Compressed Earth Block (CEB) homes are an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional building techniques, offering a solution to the acute shortage of housing on Native American reservations around the country. CEB homes can be built quickly, using local materials and local people, providing shelter to families in need.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples

Where we work

Accreditations

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2013

Charity Navigator 2013

Awards

Best in America Seal of Excellence 2010

Independent Charities of America

Platinum Award 2012

Climate Wise

Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy 2005

Ashden Awards

Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability 2008

Rio Tinto

UNEP Sasakawa Prize 2009

United Nations Environmental Programme

Platinum Award 2013

Climate Wise

Energy Globe National Award - Honduras 2013

Energy Globe Award

Purpose Prize Fellow - Richard Fox 2013

Purpose Prize Fellow

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

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

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our volunteers donate their time in a wide variety of ways; from working in our garden, to stuffing mail, to planting trees, to building a home for a Native American family!

Number of trees planted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Tribal Renewable Energy Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

TWP has planted over 6MM trees in Central America, and after the 2019 season will have planted over 120,000 trees between South Dakota and New Mexico on Native American Reservations (reflected in #'s)

Number of overall donors

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

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

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.

The work of Trees, Water & People is guided by the belief that natural resources are best protected when local people play an active role in their care and management, and that preserving local ecosystems is essential for the ongoing social, economic and environmental health of communities everywhere. We seek to leverage our team's collective experience in agriculture, forestry, and renewable energy technologies to create a more sustainable future for communities living on the economic margins of society.

Trees, Water & People works in some of the poorest regions of the western hemisphere, including rural areas of Central America and Tribal lands of the Western US. A cornerstone of our strategy is to partner with respected, dedicated, and capable local organizations to implement projects. Working through local representatives ensures that our assessments of needs and appropriate solutions are contextually appropriate and more likely to gain traction. In ideal cases, requests for partnership and support come from the communities themselves, and are designed with a cost-share agreement or co-investment. In this way, we can co-design our offerings with the community receiving them, and ensure that they are valued once implemented. We position ourselves as conveners of diverse, talented groups focused on creating a space for rural farmers, researchers, students, and professionals to learn pragmatic approaches to combating climate change.

Trees, Water & People has been focused on rural economic development since 1998, both nationally on Tribal Lands in the Western US, and internationally in Central America, and the Caribbean. During that time, our staff and partners have developed an assortment of technical skills, broad networks of local subject matter experts, and a diverse donor base to accomplish our objectives. We have direct relationships with community and municipal leaders throughout our program areas, and logistical capacity in the way of vehicles, offices, manufacturing facilities, and warehouses to store and move materials as necessary. With staff members and contracted team-members both in the US and Central America, we are able to monitor and advance our efforts efficiently and effectively.

This successful model has earned TWP recognition including as the 2013 National Energy Globe Award winner, the 2009-10 Sasakawa Prize from the United Nations Environment Programme, the 2008 Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability, and the 2005 Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy. We have also secured significant contracts from government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of State Energy and Climate Partnership for the Americas (ECPA). TWP is a proud member of the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA), an initiative involving the United Nations Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, US Department of State, US Department of Energy, and US Environmental Protection Agency, with a goal to disseminate 100 million clean cookstoves around the world over the next decade.

Since 1998, Trees, Water & People has accomplished the following work:
o Trees planted: 6,480,713
o Clean cookstoves: 70,666
o People breathing cleaner air: 353,330
o Local people trained (International): 4,054
o Solar lighting systems deployed: 5,960
o Solar furnaces built: 936
o People trained (U.S.): 200
o Workshops hosted: 38
o Pounds of food distributed from Solar Warrior Farm: 4,000
o Tribal Trees Planted: 120,000+
o Constructed the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota
o Completed Tierra Verde - Nicaraguan Center for Forests, Energy & Climate near La Paz Centro, Nicaragua

Underlying these accomplishments is our successful community-based development model, based on the philosophy that the best way to help those most in need is to involve them directly in the design and implementation of local environmental and economic development initiatives. This creates ownership, involvement, and financial sustainability well into the future. Our proven development model of training and execution, coupled with an enterprise approach, engages and inspires local residents to preserve their precious natural resources.

At TWP, our goal always involves building the capacity of those people and organizations that can catalyze a community toward change. One motivation for this is to create local employment and improve the quality of life in rural areas. Economic and environmental desperation in Central America drives migration, separates families, and leads to imbalances in a community's makeup. A key indicator of success for us is helping improve environmental conditions, increase agricultural productivity and diversify income sources, to the point where someone that may have been considering migration decides to stay. Unfortunately, the forces driving people's decisions to leave their home communities and countries are so complex, and so overwhelming, that even our best efforts will not deter 100% of these cases. All we can do is remain committed to ensuring that every dollar we spend is reducing the likelihood that families will separate to pursue a risky, uncertain future in an unfamiliar place.

Financials

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

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Trees, Water & People

Board of directors
as of 3/9/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Jake Tornatzky

DriEV

Term: 2018 -


Board co-chair

Jon Becker

SolarGlass Window & Door

Term: 2017 -

Jenny Bramhall

Clothes Pony

Stuart Conway

Co-founder (retired), Trees, Water & People

Kathryn Higgins

MotherLove Herbal Company

Paul Thayer

Colorado State University

Marilyn Thayer

Colorado State University

Tyrone Smith

Native American Cultural Center Colorado State University

Henry Mouton

MotherLove Herbal Company

Cynthia Brown

Colorado State University

Irene Romsa

Colorado Judicial Branch

Raul Tuazon

Sustain Harmonics

Lara Williams

Green Team Real Estate

James Welch

Bella Energy

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 03/09/2021

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
Male

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data