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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Education, Educational Services, International, Women, Womens Rights

Mission: We are dedicated to partnering with and empowering indigenous women in Chiapas, Mexico, by providing them with access to education. Our goal is to help break the cycle of poverty, build self-esteem, and create positive role models.

Results: In August of 2018, we will be welcoming 24 girls and women on scholarship. Four of these scholarships are new, the rest are continuing. As of now, 5 recipients have completed university, and this year 4 are currently at the university level. We strongly believe that even one or two years of additional education opens up possibilities and empowers women. The 8 children's programs that are operating were conceived and run by the scholarship recipients as a way to give back to their communities. These programs strengthen academic skills, develop creativity and foster environmental stewardship. . We fund workshops, for the bi-monthly meetings of members of the cooperative. We also fund three 1 1/2-day workshops per year that focus on the scholarship recipients. We provide eye exams and glasses to all members of the cooperative . We have donated a laptop to each community, 3 laptops to the women's center and we buy new laptops as needed. In the past 5 years, completed projects include: the purchase of a building that serves as the women's center in San Cristobal de Las Casas; a project that provided 20 families with eco-friendly latrines; and an adult literacy program that lasted 6 years in a remote community. In our 13 years of working with this weaving cooperative, we have seen that women and girls have found their voice, value their opinions, value their work, and are assuming leadership roles in the cooperative and in their communities. The scholarship recipients serve as role models for the younger girls. More and more are postponing marriage and having children until a much later age than before.

Target demographics: Indigenous women and children who live in poverty.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Approximately 150

Geographic areas served: 12 communities in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexcio

Programs: Scholarships, Zinacantan Chilren's program, Crucero Saturday Children's Program, Altamirano Children's Program, Ocosingo Children's Program, Huixtan Children's Program, Naranjal Children's Program, Las Ollas Children's Program, Yajalon Children's Program, Eye exams and glasses, Computers, 20 eco-friendly latrines (completed), Twice a year toothbrushes and paste, Workshops

Community Stories

100 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been associated with and a donor of "Mujeres" for nearly 10 years now, and have been to San Csristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, and surrounding communities, several times. The work that this small group of dedicated and passionate people do is amazing. The education of the indigenous girls /women is making a difference in their world and ours . The children growing up with mothers who are educated past the 4th grade and some into university, are finding worth and value in themselves that they may not have otherwise. The education and community that has been built had provided worth beyond imagination. This is indeed a worthy organization! (Obviously my "word for this day" is Worth and well deserved!)

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The results of the work that happens from this organization has been astounding to see over the years. Several of the original scholarship recipients have gone on to university and have brought back their knowledge to the communities and have gone on to provide more education to their small communities. The seeds have been planted and have flourished due to our original support and the opportunities provided to the indigenous women. I LOVE supporting this organization!

Cathy V.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I went to Chiapas to see how the Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation works: who the recipients are, how they live, what they do with the opportunities they are given. I saw poor, indigenous girls who had few prospects for a better life until they got more education and I saw how they used what they learned to benefit themselves, their families, and their communities when they had the opportunity to continue with their schooling.
Later, I joined the board of directors and I have become even more impressed. This is a well-run organization that has a much bigger impact than you would expect from a small non-profit.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Mujeres de Maiz (women of corn) Opportunity Foundation for a number of years, beginning with a trip to Chiapas with the founder and board chairman, Judith Pasco, where we visited the programs supported by the foundation. I later joined the board of directors. Volunteers and supporters raise money to help pay for education for indigenous women and children in the poorest state in Mexico. I have seen how these women live, been to their homes and eaten with them, and I have seen what a difference education makes for them and for their families and communities. The ripple effect of education for women is impressive, and Mujeres helps make it happen in an efficient and cost-effective way.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Jeg har fulgt Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation gennem nogle år. Jeg må sige at deres arbejde har gjort et stort indtryk på mig. For det første synes jeg det er virkelig genialt at hjælpe mennesker som forbliver i deres eget miljø og deres egen kultur. For det andet kræves der at de mennesker som får hjælp, selv skal gøre en indsats, således at det bliver muligt for dem at realisere nogle af deres drømme. For det tredie er det meget vigtigt at det er piger og kvinder der bliver hjulpet, så det måske er muligt at nedbryde nogle af machosamfundets barrierer. Bestyrelsen i Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation gør et stort og uselvisk arbejde, og har samtidig forstået at organisere indsatsen ved hjælp af lokale, meget effektive medarbejdere.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I år var jeg i Chiapas og så med egne øjne nogle af de projekter, som Mujeres de Maíz har startet der. Det var en stor oplevelse at konstatere, at projekterne ikke blot hjælper de mennesker, der er involveret, men også griber om sig og sætter ny ting i værk. Samtidig er det også vigtigt at se, hvordan projekterne er integreret som en naturlig del af og fortsættelse af pigernes og kvindernes liv. De får ikke en amerikansk uddannelse, men lærer at hjælpe sig selv og andre med den uddannelse, som de har valgt i det mexikanske system. Desuden var det for mig vigtigt at se hvor uselvisk og effektivt de frivillige amerikanere fungerer i den mexikanske verden.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Clearly dedicated volunteers continue to lead, guide and help this non-profit in providing opportunities for young women in Chiapas to achieve great things.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Mujeres de Maiz is the kind of organization my husband and I like to support...instead of just handing out money, Mujeres changes lives by enabling and encouraging the indigenous women of Chiapas, Mexico, to get an education and, thus, better their lives as well as the lives of their children. Sandy Reed

Board Member

Rating: 5

For many years I've been impressed with the effectiveness and positive impact that this organization has on the lives of young women in Chiapas. Supporting this organization helps to deliver cost-effective assistance to those who wish to continue their education, and has made a real, tangible difference in the lives of many already. Even more, in recent years the kind of support has expanded to include providing eye exams and eyeglasses, supporting educational workshops, and much more!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have enjoyed getting to help with the annual Mujeres de Maiz dinner over the years. It is always great food, a fun event, educational, and best of all helps provide educational opportunities for women in Chiapas.

Liam D A.

Donor

Rating: 5

Thirty years ago, we travelled through Chiapis and were impressed by the beauty, culture, crafts, people and complex politics of the area. A few decades later, we learned a group of our neighbors and friends had formed a foundation to support immediate needs and empower the women, children and communities of Chiapis. Although the Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation is a few individuals, their impact has been large and local. Our community in Washington state learns about foundation's efforts and accomplishments as we provide support to our neighbors serving the foundation.
The women and families reached by Mujeres' programs demonstrate success and brighten the future for their local communities. In this case, small is truly beautiful - a small group of dedicated volunteers through Mujeres has been amazingly effective in enhancing the beauty we and people of Chiapis experience in our lives.

Margot H.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am so impressed with the organization and amazed with all they do one on one. I look forward to the annual dinner as we get to hear the latest news and see photos of the women we are helping.
Margot Hewitt - Sequim

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Donor

Rating: 5

A true ""local" success story that shows how much a few dedicated people can accomplish.
I look forward to the annual fund raising dinners and the inspiring reports and slides from their most recent trip to Chiapas.
I hope to become more involved in the future.
Margot Hewitt

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Board Member

Rating: 5

The Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation has a proven track record of living their mission to empower indigenous women in Chiaps by providing access to education. Many of the girls who have become educated have passed along what they have learned to other women and girls. Like a pebble in a stream, the effect continues to spread. There is a definite impact. As the women are educated they get stronger as individuals and as a community. I was amazed by how organized the women are who are running the workshops in Chiapas; their documentation is quite in-depth and shows their dedication and focus. For years I have been a general supporter of the Mujeres group. Now, as a new board member, I get to support the organization at a deeper level. It is refreshing to recognize and be a small part of the ripple.

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization uses every donated dollar better than any non-profit I know which is important to me when I consider donating to important causes.

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Donor

Rating: 5

The board works so hard that I know my donation dollars to Mujeres de Maiz will go further than at any other charity.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation was born in and of the hearts of just a few women from Sequim, WA, who saw a need in Chiapas, Mexico. These women do an incredible job, but that’s because their hearts are in it. They money they raise goes a long way because they know how to maximize it, and they know what is most important. They have improved the lives of not only the women and girls who they’ve assisted and educated, but also the lives of their families and their communities. The scholarships and training the organization provides are like pebbles dropped into the water—the ripple effect keeps on going. Girls who have gone thru schooling now help instruct others. Those who have received, gladly decide to give back. It is a continuous cycle of education, hope and caring. I whole-heartedly support this organization and what they do.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation is an amazing grassroots organization. When I donate money and time, I know it is going directly to educate young indigenous women on many levels. They are given opportunities they wouldn't normally have, and with their education they are also able to give back to their communities, encouraging others to further their education.
Also, when board members take trips to Chiapas (at their own expense), they transport much needed donated items (i.e. toothbrushes, eyeglass frames) to the communities they visit and are able to see the effects of the foundation's efforts firsthand.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been proud to be a board member of Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation since its inception. All of us on the board have traveled to Chiapas, Mexico at least once, where we have had the opportunity to connect with the women who are being empowered to further their education and share what they know with the other members of their communities. 91% of the money we have accumulated with our fundraising efforts goes directly to the women. Each time we visit Chiapas we are able to see the number of scholarship recipients growing and an increase in programs and educational opportunities that the women are initiating in their communities and with each other as a sewing cooperative.

Donor

Rating: 5

As a former teacher, I want to support a charity that is efficiently run and that empowers women and girls through education. Mujeres de Maiz is just such an organization. The board members all volunteer considerable time and energy on fundraisers in order to provide scholarships and educational programs for the women and children of Chiapas, Mexico. The foundation distributes an annual newsletter to supporters clearly depicting programs and services provided by the donations. Mujeres de Maiz is an excellent foundation and very worthy of support.

Donor

Rating: 5

I continue to be amazed by the work Mujeres de Maiz has done over time.
They currently have 21 girls & women on scholarship. Education is changing their lives & positively benefiting indigenous communities in Chiapas as the scholarship recipients share information & teach children. The boardmembers do not take salaries so all their fundraising goes for the benefit of the program.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been fortunate to have traveled to Chiapas to see the work of the foundation firsthand. I witnessed those that had received scholarships from Mujeres de Maiz and graduated from school, return to their community and are now teaching others. While I visited, a pediatrician from the US which had worked with Doctors Without Borders was teaching the woman about prenatal care and answering questions. The foundation continues to supply tooth brushes and teach dental hygiene. They also provide optometrist visits so those that may have never had the opportunity to get glasses can get them. The foundation has not only provided a path for individual growth, it has created an environment where students become the teachers and continue supporting their community.

Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation is also one of the few nonprofits that directs nearly all donations to the people it's meant for. Expense of running the foundation is kept to a minimum with none of the foundation members receiving salaries for their time and efforts.

I am fortunate and proud to have had the opportunity to experience firsthand what a wonderful organization Mujeres de Maiz is. I have and will continue to donate my time, money and resources to this foundation as it continues to support the education of others and uses the donations it receives to directly benefit the people it's intended for.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In December 2010 I had the pleasure of traveling to San Cristobal where I had a wonderful experience learning more about the work the Mujeres De Maiz Opportunity Foundation performs. The educational opportunities reach not only the local woman but the lessons learned are taken back to multiple states within Mexico. The outreach and focus to work with a culture and not change it was great to see. The foundation is truley there to support and educate. Mujeres De Maiz Opportunity Foundation might be a smaller organization but its ability to change so many lives it grand.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've attended fundraisers for Mujeres de Maiz, and have seen how hard the board members and other volunteers work. They listen carefully to the women with whom they work, and then partner with them to develop the programs that are most needed.
By funding scholarships for girls and women in rural Chiapas, Mujeres de Maiz is helping provide the tools for community development -- on the people's terms. The "scholarship girls" know best what their communities need, and when they are fortified with education, they are able to address those needs. So the scholarships benefit the whole society.

Donor

Rating: 5

I can't think of a charitable organization where the donated dollar goes further. This group has funded so many indigenous women and girls through their education. These scholarships follow their recipients for as long as the women stay in school. This has been such a life changer in these communities. Perhaps best of all, the local peoples are asked what they would like help with, instead of having outsiders impose projects on the communities. I can't recommend this organization highly enough.

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Donor

Rating: 5

One of the qualities that I love the most about this organization is that they LISTEN. Instead of coming into a community and announcing what they will provide, they take the time to hear what is needed. What an enormous contribution they have made by listening and serving!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have just returned from Chiapas where Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation partners with indigenous Mayan women by providing educational opportunities to individuals and groups. Over the last decade plus, the women have taken advantage of the support our donors give them. Among the scholarship recipients one can find a university graduate in nursing, another in English, and a third in computers, as well as several younger girls who are just finishing elementary or middle school. The effect of the success of these women encourages other girls to pursue what, at one time, might have been a dream but now can become a reality for them. However, what our supporters don't get to experience first hand is the heartfelt gratitude the women and their families express in words and hugs and sometimes even tears to us fortunate enough to be able to meet with them every summer. Mujeres de Maiz OF is a frugal organization. Our donations go a long way in providing the women with a path to a better life for themselves, their family and their community. Mujeres de Maiz is a top charity to support if you value education and gender equality and if you continue to have hope that everyone's future deserves to be better.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

Mujeres de Maiz OF continues to give opportunities to indigenous women and their families in Chiapas, Mexico, through education. We continue to help individuals by offering scholarships for secondary through university level work. In return several of the recipients give their time to the children of their communities by conducting Saturday schools. The children receive remedial help as well as enrichment activities. We are pleased that this year another community has joined in this project. One of the strengths of Mujeres de Maiz OF is letting the women in Chiapas decide what their needs are. Due to a solid group of supporters, we feel grateful that we have been able to see through completion all proposed projects as well as continue to fund ongoing scholarships and workshops. As a board member, I feel privileged to be able to visit the women at least once a year. I am awestruck by how confident and well-spoken the women have become. Change began as a hope and now change is an ongoing reality.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mujeres de Maiz does more with the money they receive than any other non-profit we donate to.
They have an all-volunteer board and exceptional community support. As a non-profit working in Chiapas, Mexico, Mujeres does not decide what to fund. The women of the weaving cooperatives decide what their needs are. Mujeres de Maiz has funded education for women and children, helped in procuring a permanent building designed by the women for workshops and meetings, provided eyeglasses, helped with a latrine building project and much more. One of the rewarding things that has happened is that some of the “girls” who were provided scholarships have returned and are working to support the programs. The participants decided they needed to help in developing and instructing a children’s program. The programs continue to grow for a population that is often neglected in their own country. I am proud to be a volunteer and donor of Mujeres de Maiz.