Guanacaste Community Fund
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
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.
Asociación Cultural Flamingo
Arts and Culture
The Cultural Association of Flamingo is a small community-based organization dedicated to bringing the arts and cultural activities to Playa Flamingo and surrounding communities. Comprised of residents, artists and businesses, the Association stages concerts, exhibits and festivals with the goal of educating and enriching the local community through exposure to music, arts and history.
The Guanacaste Community Fund helped the Association stage its first event in 2014, a festival commemorating the 25th of July, Guanacaste’s principal holiday, when local culture and customs are highlighted and celebrated.
- Currently +500 artists looking for space to exhibit work
- 10 association members
- Currently 0 places to educate creativity for children in Flamingo
- A following of +1,000 people for the organization’s events
Donovan Garcia, Director
Conservation and Production
UNAFOR Chorotega is the Guanacaste Chapter of the National Agroforestry Union, which aggregates grassroots farmer and agroforestry associations throughout the country, and is also affiliated with the Ibero-American Model Forest Network. UNAFOR Chorotega is based in the community of Hojancha, which has been a leader in Guanacaste in the areas of reforestation, conservation and sustainable agriculture. In its work, UNAFOR Chorotega coordinates with a wide range of local, national and international organizations, both public and private.
UNAFOR Chorotega has been a very active partner of the Guanacaste Community Fund, which has provided support for several projects. These included a matching grant with CRUSA Foundation Funds to strengthen the organization, and another to support wildfire brigades. With funds from the Harmony Donor Advised Fund, the GCF has also supported the UNAFOR’s work with the Municipality of Hojancha to develop a community botanical garden.
- 26 partners form UNAFOR’s assembly
- 7 legal associations are part of the assembly
- 6 projects carried out since founding
- UNAFOR is part of a 3 inter-institutional space of regional coordination (COSEL, CCI and regional agricultural joint forum)
Eloy Mendez, Director
Voz de Guanacaste
Accountability and Solutions Journalism
The Voz de Guanacaste, Costa Rica’s first nonprofit newspaper, has a strong focus on environmental and social issues, and on the operation of local governments in Guanacaste. The philosophy of the Voz is to to pioneer “community based journalism” in Costa Rica, where community members participate directly in reporting on issues of importance to their communities. The Voz de Guanacaste also seeks to have a strong impact by undertaking in-depth investigative reporting on issues of importance to Guanacaste, a first for a regionally-focused newspaper in Costa Rica. All of its content is published in Spanish and English
The Voz de Guanacaste was founded as a newsletter in Nosara, but with the support primarily of Buzzfeed Founder John Johnson and his wife Susan, who are investors and frequent visitors to Nosara, has grown to become a regularly published newspaper with a high and uniform level of quality.
Emiliana García, Editor in Chief email@example.com
Tel. 2685 4843
For Costa Rica income tax deduction through the CRUSA Foundation.
For U.S. tax deduction through our partner Amigos of Costa Rica.