Via International

We believe when people thrive, community thrives

aka Via International, VolunTours, Los Niños   |   San Diego, CA   |  www.viainternational.org

Mission

Working across borders, Via International engages local leaders to promote sustainable development in under resourced communities. We integrate community development initiatives with education and volunteerism to build leadership capacity, self-sufficiency and community resilience and provide a sense of purpose to counteract poverty, inequality and the deterioration of community.

Ruling year info

1976

President

Ms. Elisa Carole Sabatini

Main address

1955 Julian Avenue

San Diego, CA 92113 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Los Ninos

EIN

95-2961670

NTEE code info

Leadership Development (W70)

Nutrition Programs (K40)

Economic Development (S30)

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

Poverty, economic instability, negative health indicators, low educational attainment and a deterioration of community are at the core of a decline in quality of life and overall well being in our communities. While we can’t solve all of these problems, we have started by organizing the communities in which we work to begin to identify the basic needs and strategies that can be implemented for individuals to build the capacities necessary to achieve long-term improvements in these various areas of their lives. We work in multiple low-income and migrant neighborhoods along the US-Mexico border to address issues brought about by displacement, family separation, deportation, migration and fragmented community such as economic instability, housing insecurity, food insecurity and the negative health impacts associated with all of these things.

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?

Community Development Programs

Community Development Programs of Via International include: Family Health and Food Security, Family Financial Security, and Community Leadership Education. Through our Family Health and Food Security programs we offer nutrition and ecology classes to low-income women, men, and children including community garden development. Our Family Financial Security programs feature two main branches: Micro credit and Micro enterprise. These programs support the development of small, community-oriented businesses that enable families to have increased amounts of disposable income. Increased income translates into better nutrition and improved educational opportunities for all family members. Through our Community Leadership Education programs we provide a curriculum for community organizing and opportunities for higher education as well as youth leadership development programing integrated with art and environmental education. With all of our programs we aim to promote self-reliance and nurture human potential.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Immigrants and migrants

Via International offers Volunteer and Educational Travel experiential learning programs working with community development initiatives in San Diego, CA; Tijuana, Mexicali, Mexico City, and Baja Sur, Mexico; Appalachia, VA; Guatemala, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka. We host more than 1000 volunteers each year to work side by side with local community members addressing issues and completing community-defined projects. The program brings much needed labor and resources to local communities as well as creating jobs for local residents. Designed as a social enterprise, the program covers the cost of the experiences, engages both volunteers and community members, as it supports community initiatives.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
At-risk youth

In the San Diego/Tijuana region Via offers coordinated service events for business, corporate, religious and student based groups to work alongside community members in community improvement projects. This includes mural restoration, school improvement and support of local beekeeping activities.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Health and Nutrition Program Award 2007

International Community Foundation/Fundacion Internacional para la Comunidad

Social Ventures Finalist 2003

Yale University

Prize for Sustainability Finalist 2008

Rio Tinto Alcan

2013 U.S.-Mexico Cooperation & Innovation Award 2013

Wilson Center, COLEF, ASU

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 Facebook followers

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

Adults

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of trips provided

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

Young adults

Related Program

Volunteer & Educational Travel

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

In 2020, due to COVID, most of our trips were cancelled.

Number of international sites visited at least once

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

Adolescents, Young adults

Related Program

Volunteer & Educational Travel

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of Instagram followers

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

Adults

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of people on the organization's email list

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of local service events

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

Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Engagement

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The metrics in 2019 and 2018 correspond to mural restorations and beehive builds. Because of COVID, we were unable to hold any service events in 2020.

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.

Via International is a community empowerment organization working to build self-reliance in individuals and communities through programming centered on personal capacity building. We work with and in communities along the U.S.-Mexico border, identifying gaps and responding to needs related to basic quality of life indicators: health and wellness, food security, economic stability, and social belonging (i.e. creation of stable and supportive community networks that bolster strong families/individuals). Our goal is to build capacities at the individual and community level so each and every person can contribute to positive change in their own lives and in their community.

We consider outreach to be a process of human development, approaching community development one person at time. By working with individuals to understand their issues of concern, we can empower them with the resources they need to accomplish their goals (i.e. improved health, economic stability etc.). In many cases, their most important resource is each other. This is one reason our model is effective. Through programs centered on health, wellness, food security and economic stability, we encourage community members to both rely on each other and be self-sufficient. The focus on self-reliance produces proactive people who take the initiative to actively improve their well-being, as they contribute to the community. Our outreach model has community members take a leadership role in organizing and educating their community. The outcome is the development and self-realization of personal capacity that has profound impact on the participant, their family and the broader community.

Via is a binational organization, working since 1975 uniting and nurturing small grassroots initiatives, incubating ideas and stimulating action in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Via's expertise lies in developing relationships at the grassroots level and listening and responding to the needs of the community. It has also allowed us to develop trust within the community. Our programming continually shifts to meet the needs of the community, but has one overarching purpose: developing the capacity of the individual to have positive, long-term impact on the whole. Our leadership has been in place for over 20 years and our organization has a great deal of trust and credibility in communities on both sides of the border.

In the past 30 years we have provided thousands of children and mothers basic nutrition, health and organic gardening instruction and environmental education classes. This has led to extensive relationships in schools and networks of community/school gardens. Annually we loan $225,000 to small, mostly home-based businesses that demonstrate their growth through improved education of their children and home improvements as well as the growth of their businesses. Via has expanded community leadership capacity through three program: Formation and Education, Arts/Resolution/Engage, and Engaging Agents of Change, inspiring hundreds of community members to participate, design and lead community initiatives. Via has also hosted thousands of students from around the globe, and partnered with many corporations in immersive border education, and community volunteerism, supporting CSR goals and service learning objectives.

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 demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Underserved populations along and across the U.S.-Mexico border, primarily migrant populations in Tijuana, Mexicali and San Diego.

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

    Paper surveys, Community meetings/Town halls,

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

    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, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We have been working in multiple shelters in Tijuana to provide leadership training and nutrition and ecology education to migrant woman. In the middle of a set 16-week program format, a wave of migrants arrived at "El Chaparral" and are actively camped out at the border, hoping to seek asylum in the US. Our program participants wanted to pause our program activities to instead, use what they had learned in our classes immediately, by setting up migrant kitchens to serve meals to many hundreds of families at the border. We immediately began to raise money specifically to support these emergent community leaders in Tijuana and paused our planned programming to respond to their immediate needs instead.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Via is at its core a learning and listening organization. We base all of our programming on the expressed needs of the community and therefore, our programs are different in every population we work with. The power always resides within the communities we serve, and the communities are the drivers behind our decisions regarding where and when to expend resources, financial or otherwise.

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

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Via International
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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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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

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.

Via International

Board of directors
as of 4/23/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Phillip Hadley

St. John's Episcopal School

Term: 2010 - 2019

Susan Pinza

Member

William Bramley

Chair Emeritus

Joan Bryden

Board Secretary

Phillip Hadley

Chair

Jim McLaughlin

Member

Andrew Morikawa

Member

Marisela De la Concha

Member

Nancy McGehee

Member

Elisa Sabatini

President, Via International

Walter Ludlow

Board Finance Officer

Gerardo De la Concha

Member

Dr. Elizabeth Reed

Member

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 01/06/2021

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
Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic (2+ races/ethnicities)
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without 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: 01/06/2021

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 review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
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 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.