GOLD2022

AMIGOS DE SANTA CRUZ FOUNDATION

Changing the world, one community at a time, one generation at a time.

aka Amigos de Santa Cruz   |   Seattle, WA   |  www.amigosdesantacruz.org

Mission

The mission of Amigos de Santa Cruz is to help improve the lives of the people of Santa Cruz through support for education and economic development. We envision Santa Cruz communities where all families live in a healthy environment and have access to sustainable sources of income; where schools provide quality education to all children; and where women, men and youth have an active voice in decisions that impact their communities.

Ruling year info

2001

Executive Director

Jessie Cohn

Main address

2226 Eastlake Ave. E., #319

Seattle, WA 98102 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

91-2155843

NTEE code info

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

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

Santa Cruz La Laguna is a rural, indigenous municipality in the Western Highlands on the shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. Perched on steep mountain slopes, many of the Santa Cruz communities can only be accessed by boat or rudimentary roads, largely cutting off access to the education and economic opportunities available in larger population centers. Despite a recent growth in tourism, the Santa Cruz community continues to suffer from high unemployment, low wages and wide gender disparities. Access to education has historically been very limited, with most completing only a year or two of primary school in facilities that lack supplies and qualified teachers. Santa Cruz is now seeing a generation become educated for the first time, yet many obstacles remain, particularly for young girls.

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?

Women's Empowerment & Small Business Program

Amigos works to support local women to redefine traditional gender roles and expand their opportunities in the most remote communities of Santa Cruz. For women who have never attended school and do not speak Spanish, the ability to earn an income on their own for the first time is life changing. Our holistic approach empowers women both inside and outside the home through integrated programming on nutrition, domestic violence, and political participation, in addition to small business development. Our staff collaborates with indigenous women to identify business opportunities, train the women, and provide long-term technical assistance. Investing in women has a multiplying effect that results in greater reinvestment in the home and the local economy.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Indigenous peoples

We believe that encouraging a greater sense of responsibility and community leadership among youth, together with expanding educational opportunities, is key to ensuring their success and promoting positive community development. Our programs include sexual and reproductive health education classes for all youth in grades 4-9, youth leadership training, and professional development opportunities through the Santa Cruz Youth Corps internship program for recent graduates.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Young adults

With leadership and input from the local community, Amigos opened a Vocational Training Center (Centro de Capacitación - CECAP) in 2010 to provide pathways out of the limited job opportunities that perpetuated a cycle of poverty in Santa Cruz. Each year, over 400 adults and youth take part in vocational training programs in CECAP that include sewing, beading, weaving, culinary, carpentry, welding and computation, among others. We run two social enterprise businesses connected to CECAP that provide work opportunities to our students. Graduate-run Café Sabor Cruceño serves traditional Guatemalan cuisine with a rooftop view of Lake Atitlán, a favorite of travelers. Manos Cruceñas is an artisan store selling beautiful local handicrafts, also available for purchase online at store.amigosdesantacruz.org.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Economically disadvantaged people

We work to improve the quality of public education in Santa Cruz over the long term, focusing on three main strategies. 1) Our Early Education Afternoon Reading Program seeks to give children in Santa Cruz access to a positive and enriching first learning experience and instill a love for reading through creative and interactive educational strategies. 2) We provide support for school supplies and materials to over 1700 primary and middle school students, and nutritional daily snacks to over 450 young students. 3) At the secondary level, we offer high school and university scholarships that provide youth with an opportunity to access higher education.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Children and youth

Where we work

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.

Amigos aims to improve the lives of the indigenous people of Santa Cruz and surrounding villages through support for education and sustainable economic empowerment. We envision Santa Cruz communities where all families have access to good health and sustainable sources of income; schools provide quality education to all children; and women, men, and youth have active voices in decisions that impact their communities. Our programs seek to alleviate poverty through empowerment, encouraging community members to take responsibility for improving their own communities. In everything we do, we seek to advance key values of gender equality, support for a healthy environment, and the critical role of youth leadership in social change.

For almost 25 years, our programs have grown in response to changing local needs, led by Santa Cruz community leaders themselves. We focus only on the seven rural communities that make up the Municipality of Santa Cruz, rather than spreading our resources to further reach, in order to understand and respond to the specific challenges facing the community. We invest in long-term programs that promote powerful, generational change. And we work in empowerment, not handouts, building the skills and confidence that people need to improve their own livelihoods and community over the long term.

Amigos has a long history of trust in the Santa Cruz communities. The staff managing our programs were themselves among the first participants in Amigos’ programs, leading the generational change currently underway. Of our 27 total staff, 26 are Guatemalan and almost all from the Santa Cruz communities themselves. Decisions on programming and priorities are always take in consultation with local community leaders, and with deep knowledge of local customs and needs. Further, we have strong relationships with the local government and institutions such as public schools, health centers, and community groups.

Thanks to almost 25 years of working in the Santa Cruz communities, we are seeing the first generation Santa Cruz youth to receive an education. Back in 1998, only four students stayed in school until the 6th grade and most barely learned to read, write or speak Spanish. School enrollment has now more than tripled, and Amigos has supported more than 150 higher education scholarships, with young women comprising over 50% of students!

Santa Cruz is also seeing its first class of working professionals thanks to Amigos’ training programs. For the first time, trained carpenters and welders have established workshops, skilled women artisans are earning an income outside of the home through Amigos’ Manos Cruceñas Artisan Store, and restaurants around Lake Atitlán hire our culinary graduates.

Financials

AMIGOS DE SANTA CRUZ FOUNDATION
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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
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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AMIGOS DE SANTA CRUZ FOUNDATION

Board of directors
as of 01/04/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Davina Ratcliffe

no affiliation

Lee Beal

Nancy Bingham

John Berry

Cynthia Davis

Davina Ratcliff

Nancy Oschenschlager

Riley Sise

Rory Delaney

Santos Canel

Debra Blake

Erynne Dowe

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/31/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability