Guanacaste Community Fund
Esperanza School Project
After a devastating earthquake in 2012 damaged the school in Esperanza, Nosara, a group of concerned community members decided to launch an initiative to build a new one. The Esperanza School Project (ESP) was created in 2015 to raise funds to purchase land and build and maintain a new school for the children of Esperanza.
The ESP was founded after a benefit concert and fundraiser at the Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort in Nosara in March 2015 yielded $12,000 for the initiative. In July 2015, a crowdfunding platform was launched after Nosara resident Shivanter Singh organized a Be the Vision Conference at the Omega Institute in New York. Be the Vision 2016 will be held in June.
In September 2015, rendering drawings were presented to propel the design and building of the new school.
The Guanacaste Community Fund is accepting tax deductible donations for the campaign in both the U.S. and Costa Rica.
- 200 schoolchildren from Esperanza will benefit from the Esperanza School Project, which will be developed in three phases: purchase land, build the school, sustain the school.
Opening Minds and Creating Opportunities
Abriendo Mentes (Opening Minds) is an organization based in the community of Playa Potrero, Santa Cruz, dedicated to providing afterschool education and recreation activities to children and their parents. Together with Asociación CEPIA and the La Paz Community School, it also operates Casa Brasilito, a program that offers an integrated program of assistance for children and mothers in the nearby town of Brasilito, one of the most conflictive and socially disadvantaged communities in Guanacaste.
Abriendo Mentes was founded in 2009 by a couple living in Playa Potrero who noticed that the local school only held classes for three hours in the mornings, and the children lacked any organized activities or creative outlets in the afternoons. By working with volunteers who make a 6 month commitment to the organization, they have established an effective program that teaches English and computer skills, promotes arts and crafts, and organizes sports and other activities in Potrero and nearby. The success of the program has attracted the attention of other communities, and similar activities are being organized in other communities such as Playas del Coco, Ostional and Samara.
The Guanacaste Community Fund, with funds from the CRUSA and Las Catalinas Donor Advised Funds, has provided Abriendo Mentes with matching grants in support of Casa Brasilito.
- 225 children and 167 adults participated in Abriendo Mentes’ programming in 2014
- 1,859 hours of educational and community development activities delivered
- Volunteers contributed 11,572 hours which has a financial equivalent of $260,948
Lindsay Losasso, Director
Children’s Education and Health
Creciendo Juntos (Growing Together), is a nonprofit organization that has worked for over twelve years supporting the elementary and high schools in the northern region of the Nicoya Peninsula. It was founded as the social responsibility program of Ecodesarrollos Peninsula Papagayo, the company which developed the Papagayo Peninsula, an enclave of exclusive homes and hotels, including the Four Seasons Resort. Today it operates independently, with a great deal of support from the residents and visitors of Papagayo.
In addition to supporting 18 public elementary and high schools with materials, books, transportation and improvements in infrastructure, Creciendo Juntos also operates the Children’s Clinic in Comunidad de Carrillo. The clinic provides preventive care for over 3,000 children a year through an innovative partnership between Creciendo Juntos, private funders and the Costa Rican Social Security Agency (the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social), which operates the country’s public clinics and hospitals.
The Guanacaste Community Fund has worked with Creciendo Juntos to provide funding for the Children’s Clinic, and has also supported Se Quema el Cielo, a program to raise awareness of the dangers and prevention of wildfires, a serious problem in Guanacaste during the dry season. In 2015 it is working with Creciendo Juntos to implement the Solar Schools Project, which will place solar panels on public schools and teach children about energy conservation and climate change.
- Over $650,000 has been donated through volunteers to schools and families in need
- The Carrillo health clinic takes care of 350-400 kids per month
- 19 communities and 21 educational institutions are in the circle of influence of the NGO
Elsa Bonilla, Director
Opportunities for Kids
CEPIA, an acronym that stands for Culture, Education and Psychology for Children and Adolescents, is a nonprofit organization that promotes education, health and opportunity for children and their families in Guanacaste. It works extensively with volunteers and with the support of local businesses to provide learning activities, training, psychological and legal counseling and other opportunities to disadvantaged children and families.
CEPIA recently inaugurated a community center in Huacas, Santa Cruz, which provides a wide range of services and activities in one place, and as part of a completely integrated program of support the population it serves.
The Guanacaste Community Fund and the CRUSA Donor Advised Fund has assisted CEPIA with the organization and expansion of a library, the equipping of a computer laboratory and with operating support for Casa Brasilito, a project that it operates together with Abriendo Mentes, another GCF grantee, and the La Paz Community School. Most recently the GCF and the CRUSA Donor Advised Fund supported the installation of an elevator in the community center.
- 1000 children and 500 adults benefit from CEPIA’s programs
- 145 volunteers participated in programs in 2014
- 2 beginners computer groups started in the new computer lab supported by Guanacaste Community Fund
Laetitia Deweer, Director
Restoring Our Watershed
Greening the Nandamojo
The Asociación para la protección de la cuenca del río Nandamojo, also known in the área between Junquillal and 27 de Abril de Santa Cruz as Restoring our Watershed, or ROW, is a non-profit organization that has been active in the Nandamojo River Valley of Guanacaste, Costa Rica since 2001. ROW is working to create a “green valley” with a healthy ecosystem and abundant opportunities for people to live and prosper. The efforts are focused in two areas: 1) Reclaiming the health and resiliency of natural areas identified as critically damaged or threatened (about 5-10% of the watershed), and 2) Reinvigorating local, sustainable food production to create green jobs.
A signature project of ROW is its “Bees for Trees” initiative, whereby it works with families to help them become expert beekeepers and stewards of their land. The excellent honey they produce is marketed in hotels along the Guanacaste coast and in the central valley.
The Guanacaste Community Fund has supported ROW with two matching grants. The first was to work with landowners to implement erosion control measures on their lands and, more recently, to expand a forested biological corridor along a portion of the banks of the Rio Nandamojo. The GCF is also partnering with the Rio Nandamojo Donor Advised Fund to sponsor a series of hands-on symposiums for landowners to share knowledge and experience in sustainable farming and erosion control.
- 8,000 saplings planted
- Helped 6 watershed families increase their incomes through beekeeping. The honey company established by ROW is on track to collect $20,000 in honey in 2015
- Planted 2km of water-harvesting contour line barriers
Matt Rosensteele, Executive Director
For Costa Rica income tax deduction through the CRUSA Foundation.
For U.S. tax deduction through our partner Amigos of Costa Rica.