Visited the program in Cambodia in 2013. Top notch!
I was so impressed with the work that Trailblazer is doing in Cambodia when we visited in 2011! They work with local people on local projects that will empower and support local people. We donate as often as we can because we recognise the importance of their work. Inspiring!
Although program outcomes are essential to any mission driven organization the criticality of an involved board of directors (BOD) and effective staff administration should not be overlooked. The Trailblazer Foundation serves as an example of how the BOD/staff work hand in hand to develop and deliver programs whose outcomes make a difference.
As a former nonprofit associate professor at a major university, I have worked with thousands of well meaning nonprofit employees - both new to the field and established management - and have personally observed how good intentions are just one piece of a well run organization. A sustainable organization - one that will endure both the triumphs of successful programs - as well as the pressure to achieve more impact with constrained resources - requires dedication evidenced by the Trailblazer BOD, staff - and volunteers!
In today's complicated and often fretful world, it can be easy to turn away when the "job" seems never ending or unachievable - but I can attest to the dedication and devotion that TB staff has today as well as the future to support the people of Cambodia.
Global Leadership/Nonprofit Management
Denver, CO (former affiliate faculty)
I was a volunteer for 4 weeks with Trailblazer in Siem Reap and had the most amazing and enlightening time. It is remarkable how much the Foundation has achieved both on the water filters and wells front, and also on the educational front via various amazing school projects and teaching local families how to provide for themselves. I worked with the water filter team and felt privileged to work with such a dedicated team and also humbled by the dignity I observed amongst the families to whom we delivered the filters. The Trailblazer Foundation, under the direction of Chris and Scott Coats and their wonderful staff, deserve every accolade going and all the support we can offer. I will be volunteering with them again. Nina x
Scott Coats and Chris Coats started Trailblazer Foundation with a simple assumption -- communities have within them both a desire and the intelligence to move forward. As a person with 38 years of nonprofit executive leadership and consulting experience, I know when someone just has the right idea, sweeps the silly doubts, questions and industry fads aside and does what is important in the right way. Traiblazer has done that, giving substantive expression to the term empowerment in the most vulnerable and marginalized villages in Cambodia. While more esoteric and better funded groups have their agenda about this system, that change or a host of shoulds that are completely out of touch on the ground, Trailblazer just takes another dozen steps forward, connecting local villages and regional structures, facilitating trust, nurturing hope, moving to the next village when the consistent results have manifested the roots and trunk of a sustainable future.
I love how Trailblazer Foundation is making a huge difference in Asia, to help people who would otherwise be captive in their poverty. I love their sense of justice, giving practical help to the poorest of the poor.
I volunteered for 2 1/2 months digging wells with the drill team nothing compares to see the smiles and great fullness of the families that we got water to. It definitely was a life changing experience
Hey there !
I completely loved this experience ! This is amazing how giving your time for a good purpose make you feel so happy.
My experience at Trailblazer was my first volunteering and not the last :). I've learned a lot on myself but also on the power of volunteering.
Think about that you are helping people having access to clean water ! Imagine how you would feel, living aaway from any grosseries shops without water ? Having to go by waking/motocycling everyday just for getting water seems unbelievable for you ? but that's their daily life and traiblazer is changing this!
I am very glad I worked with trailblazer. The staff are really nice and funny, volunteers I met were also very nice and actually thanks to traiblazer I am gonna go meeting them in Canada and elsewhere.
Plus living in Cambodia was such a good experience :)
Trailblazer is really a good NGO much better than some others who are building a business on the money that they ask you to pay for volunteering...
Although I only spent 2 weeks volunteering with trailblazer, I will defiantly go back long term & help them achieve there goals.
What trailblazer is doing is amazing, I was really happy with what I saw + all the staff are great!
Highly recommend trailblazer when in siem reap!
It's great to see someone making a difference out of there own comfort zone in someone else's backyard!
Leadership & Philosophy: Originally visiting the Trailblazer Foundation (TF) while volunteering with a partner organization, I was completely captured after speaking with the co-founder, Scott Coats, about TF's work, philosophy, staff, volunteers, and impact. I was so caputred that I asked if I could stay for a month and volunteer. The focus for TF is on actually listening to the people to help guide them towards sustainable solutions. I saw far too many nonprofit organizations throughout Southeast Asia and Cambodia that go in with preconceived ideas of what will work and then do it (in a western/non-localized way) with minimal to no villager interaction. Now those villagers are waiting for the next handout. Instead, TF has a sustainable development model where the communities invest in their own futures (for instance each villager pays a small amount for each biosand filter that is put into a village fund for the villagers to take loans from and managed by an appointed villager). This allows the villagers to feel included in their own growth, and it encourages them to problem solve and develop solutions. It may be a slower solution sometimes, but it is a far more sustainable future for these villagers to empower them to create their opportunities with TF's support.
The Crew/TF Team: The team that works at TF both inside and outside of Cambodia is incredible! It's obvious that they enjoy what they do and are proud of it! They are a smart team and very fun to work with and learn from, and they really care about the people they are supporting. They're not just building filters and wells and agricultural systems. They're providing clean water, access to water, and sources of income to some of the poorest people in Cambodia who would otherwise continue facing uncontrollable illnesses and unhealthy levels of poor nutrition.
Beneficiaries & Impact: I had the pleasure of meeting with different villagers while gathering information with a TF team member for case studies/impact assessment and for the Village Savings Funds. Wow. The beneficiaries of TF's support are truly inspirational. They all have endured challenging hardships, yet they are so resilient and share a smile with the world that brings so much warmth to the atmosphere.
Volunteer Work: My volunteer experience was different than most, but if anyone is ever looking for a more hands-on opportunity to volunteer, then the Trailblazer Foundation would be an amazing place! Most volunteers have the opportunity to help in not only building the filters, but also in delivering them to the villagers with the team. An experience that can never be replicated.
I am grateful to be a part of the Trailblazer Foundation's family going forward and continuing to support their amazing work! Thank you, TF!