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PROYECTO ITZAES
October 28, 2012

Proyecto Itzaes fulfills a much needed role in the Yucatan. From library books to computer literacy to varied educational opportunities, PI works hard to serve thousands of families in the Yucatan. Other projects include education about the environment, including reforestation and beach clean-up. I am the board chair of Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation and can attest to the uncountable hours, untiring effort, and total devotion to her cause that Cindy Wilber, founder and executive director of PI, invests in her organization.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field

Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation
October 25, 2012

As Board Chair of Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation, there are a number of things that make me very proud. One is the fact that the women with whom we work assess their own needs and make proposals to us. This enables us to help them in the ways that will have the most impact. Another is the fact that we can see the changes over the past 7 years in the ways that the girls and women relate to each other and to us. 7 years ago there was little eye contact, little expressing of opinion, extreme shyness, almost no opportunities for life choices and feeling valueless. Now, especially in those who have continued their education through scholarships funded by us, we see assertiveness, decision making, eye contact, literacy teaching, and an ability and desire to express opinions. Moreover, the two continuing Saturday Children's Programs are in their 3rd year and flourishing, as it our adult literacy program. More women and girls are getting eye exams and wearing glasses. A new project provides the education and building materials for 28 families to have composting toilets. And, our supporters are the best!

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Board Member

Alternative Gift Markets, Inc.
April 15, 2012

Alternative Gifts International, based in Wichita, promotes and supports the gift markets that support over 30 non-profit organizations which share the yearly catalog. In this age of materialism, the work that AGI does to encourage "alternative gift-giving" is laudable. As the board chair of a non-profit that has had the honor of being in the AGI catalog for 4 years, I am aware and appreciative of the commitment that the AGI staff shows. Working with such caring individuals is a pleasure. Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation has benefited greatly from our association with AGI.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Client Served

Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation
March 19, 2012

This year was amazing for Mujeres de Maiz OF. Seventeen girls received scholarships this year and two of our long standing scholarship recipients will graduate from university in December, 2012. The two Saturday Children's Programs are flourishing and serving about 55 primary school children. Not only are the children strengthening their academic skills, but they are learning to write their Maya language, They have the chance to express their creativity in various art and theater projects and are becoming stewards of the environment by learning about recycling, composting and planting trees. When we visited the community of Crucero, we found a new structure that the parents of the children had built to house the program. It demonstrates how much the parents value this program. The programs are in their 3rd year. The adult literacy program in Altamirano is also in its 3rd year and the 27 adults will complete their primary school education this year. We hope very much that funding will allow us to continue funding for these dedicated students and their instructor. Mujeres continues to fund workshops and eye exams, glasses and laptop computers. Three new valuable projects have been proposed and we are actively seeking grants and looking at more ways to fundraise because at the moment we are unable to take on more projects.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my many visits to Chiapas. I see the changes in the women...they are beginning to value themselves and see that their opinions have worth and want to share in the governance of their communities. Scholarship recipients are role models. Adult women who never thought they would read and write are experiencing the joy of accomplishment.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

How did you learn about this organization?

I am a founding member.

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

Providing education in its many forms.

What is its top priority in the long run?

Empowering poor, indigenous women so that they may lead fuller lives, have decision-making opportunities, and be role-models in their communities. Education is the key.

MY ROLE:
Board Member & I am the Board Chair. I go to Chiapas twice a year and visit communities and take care of Mujeres' business with our coordinator. I listen to women's assessments of their needs and work from there. .

Alternative Gift Markets, Inc.
April 11, 2011

I am the Board Chair of Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation. We provide access to education to girls and women in a cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico Three years ago we applied to Alternative Gifts International to be in their catalog and were accepted. We were amazed that AGI would accept a small, grassroots organization because some of the names in the catalog are very well known and established. But AGI saw how much we had grown and developed since our inception. They saw that we had a dedicated working board, that the women with whom we partner assess their own needs, and that service learning is an important component of the work we do. AGI works with its client organizations. I attended their conference in April 2010. As a result, we 1) shortly thereafter produced a video showcasing our work for a minimal investment. (see the video at www.MujeresDeMaizOF.org); 2) followed AGI's suggestion and posted a page on Facebook and Facebook Causes; and 3) were able to network with The Nature Conservancy and their representative in Chiapas gave a workshop to the women in the cooperative about climate change. The staff at AGI is supportive and personable. Our experience with AGI has been nothing but positive.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the amazing boost that AGI has given us in our ability to fund, sustain and continue projects. Both the Saturday Children's Programs and the Adult Literacy Programs continue and our scholarship girls know that we will continue support until their educational career is complete. In addition to the financial support, I feel that Mujeres de Maiz OF has a supportive friend in AGI. The interest taken and the hard work by the AGI staff speaks loudly to their dedication and belief in the work they do.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

hope that they could find a marketing volunteer who could actively seek out more markets for the AGI catalog. Word of mouth is good, but in this difficult economic climate it's not wonder that donations are down. If churches and organizations looking for gratifying fundraising experiences knew about AGI, I have no doubt they would participate. The AGI message incorporates caring for others and selflessness into gift-giving.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Through their catalog.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Client Served & I wrote the three proposals that resulted in our being accepted to AGI. I also am the main contact and am personally responsible for all communications with AGI.

Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation
March 19, 2011

I have been the Board Chair since we formed Mujeres de Maiz OF in 2006. At the beginning we were thinking only of scholarships to the indigenous women in the cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico, but what has transpired has been amazing. Soon we were funding workshops and eye exams and laptop computers. Then full year children's programs and adult literacy classes came into being. We also take toothpaste and toothbrushes every 6 months, have donated 100 children's backpacks and each community received a solar lamp. Now we are involved in helping the cooperative purchase a facility of their own. What we love is that while we provide access to education, the women assess their own needs and make decisions about the paths they are taking.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

... the scholarship girls who become role models in their communities, the women who learn to read and write who start to participate in the governance of their communities. I've seen the trust build year after year. I've seen the women start to speak their voice. I've seen more and more children interested in continuing their education.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Can't think of anything at this point.

More feedback

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

How did you learn about this organization?

I'm a founding member.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Board Member & I have worked steadily for over 6 years, at least 20 hours a week, all volunteer. I have been involved in every facet of this organization from the very start.