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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Energy Resources Conservation & Development, Environment, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Pollution Abatement & Control

Mission: Trees, Water & People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to improve people's lives by helping communities to protect, conserve and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends.

Results: Nationally, TWP is actively involved with helping to improve the lives of Native American families living on the reservations of the Great Plains. There, where the winters are extremely long and harsh, Native Americans commonly spend more than half of their income on their exorbitant utility bills. Together with our reservation-based partner, we have built 850 economic solar heating systems, saving tribal families 20-30% on their annual heating bills, and trained more than 175 tribal members in residential and facility-scale renewable energy applications. We have also planted trees and shrubs around the home sites for more than 160 additional families, further lowering heating costs and associated emissions by acting as an important wind blocks during the frigid winter and providing much-needed shade during the sweltering summer. Internationally, TWP works extensively in Central America and Haiti. Together, with our country-based partners, we support 8 community tree nurseries that produce over 650,000 trees annually to aid in reforestation efforts, planting over 4.3 million trees to date. We have built 47,800 clean cookstoves. Each cookstove decreases a family’s need for firewood by 50-70%, as compared to standard open fire cooking, and reduces carbon emissions by at least 1.5 tons per year. When vented to the outside of the home, these improved cookstoves also decrease indoor air pollution, which is responsible for the death of 1.9 million women and children globally every year.

Target demographics: low-income, rural and peri-urban communities in Central America, Haiti and on Native American Reservations in the U.S.

Geographic areas served: Latin America and U.S. Native American Reservations

Programs: Clean Cookstoves Program, Reforestation Program, Solar Energy Program, Tribal Renewable Energy Program

Community Stories

48 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Feeling the need contribute to the well being of others I researched and followed several organizations until I found TREES WATER PEOPLE. I am not very wealthy so I needed to feel my small offerings were getting a bang for the buck. Combining technology and local communities dedicated to improving peoples lives this non-profit is rocking it. In the central highlands of Honduras clean cook stoves improve lives by producing a lot less smoke in homes and reducing the tedious labor of gathering wood. Water cisterns made by a simple, and extremely durable design ease families through the dry months. The appreciation and gratitude the village people showered on us was very touching. I will be with TWP for a long time.Tamara Winter Nelson, Boulder, Colorado

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great place doing wonderful things! So happy to have been a part of such a life-changing organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Trees, Water, & People several times through their Tribal Program on the Pineridge Reservation in South Dakota. Every volunteer experience has been inspiring, grounding, and fulfilling. Trees, Water, & People is an organization that is addressing one of the longest contentious issues in America; Native America Oppression. It is doing so with "boots on the ground" practices, like planting trees, building gardens and homes, and donating food and supplies to Lakota locals.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a International Development intern at Trees, Water & People, and I cannot express how wonderful the TWP staff is, as well as the work that they do in the U.S. and abroad. TWP is uses a rare approach to sustainable development in that they work BOTH in the U.S. and abroad, and the emphasize the health and well-being of BOTH humans and the environment. Their holistic approach also targets their work in some of the most marginalized communities around the world to work WITH them lead better lives as opposed to traditional forms of development which can have a top-down approach. TWP is quite the opposite, and always works directly with local non-profits and community leaders who know their communities best, and what they need - they are always working from the bottom-up.

As an intern, I gained practical grant-writing skills, and I was able to apply the knowledge from my Master's program to assist in their data analysis efforts and even help them build new partners. The staff is flexible with each intern and allows them to make the best of their experience! I felt taken care of, valued, and I made 10 new friends in the process of getting to know the entire staff. Keep up the great work!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found TWP through Colorado State Universities Center for Fair and Alternative Trade. I became interested in interning for TWP because of their social and environmental impact they have in various Central American countries. TWP does a fantastic job in making sure each country is receiving the appropriate help in accordance to their cultural needs. TWP has made huge impacts with their projects.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am thrilled to say I am the new international development intern for TW&P! I am proud to be part of a team that cares for the people they are trying to help and are passionate about the environment as well. TW&P is invested in offering a hand up and not a hand out which I think makes this organization sustainable and incredibly productive in the projects it implements both nationally and internationally.

I love that TW&P collaborates with local partners to determine their goals and projects; by doing this they ensure the projects are not only sustainable but culturally appropriate and helpful to these communities, both for them and the environment. We need more organizations who have these priorities and goals to make sure the money being spent on development projects is being used the best way possible and making a real difference in the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have just started my internship here at TWP and am so excited about what the organization stands for! The TWP approach focuses on engaging with communities in order to create solutions that fit for different cultures and societies. Their national and international development programs help to bring necessities to those who do not have access to them, such as solar air heaters in the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota and clean cook stoves in Latin American countries. I am so jazzed to be working for such a giving non-profit!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Before I moved to Fort Collins, I saw TWP's website and new that I needed to be involved with them. Being an intern, it feels great to know that I can help Native Americans honor Mother Earth by living with more sustainable means, such as using and understanding solar power, wind power, organic gardening, reforesting, and using our natural resources as intended. TWP helps us all out!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is an honor that I have been an intern for Trees, Water & People for three years. They are a very hard working, hands-on, dedicated, and noble nonprofit organization. I am so glad that I have been able to help them with their mission of improving disadvantaged people’s lives by teaching them how to protect, conserve, and manage their natural resources upon which their, and everybody else’s, long-term well-being depends on. What a great organization that eventually helps everybody, one family or community at a time, while improving the environment.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

TWP is an exceptional non-profit in that it works at the frontline of energy and the poor in improving lives through low cost applications such as fuel efficient cook stoves and solar air heaters. It does it through working with local organizations at the grassroots level. Ten years ago, I helped TWP set up a tribal lands project to build and install solar air heaters for low income housing. Today it is the largest solar air collector initiative in the country, impacted dozens of reservations and has built one of the only sustainability centers for training in Indian lands on the poorest reservation in the country, Pine Ridge. TWP results speak for themselves.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love Trees, Water & People! My relationship with this awesome organization began back in 2012 when I took a road trip with some friends up to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. TWP partners with a Native-owned solar and renewable energy company there. My friends and I helped out in the organic garden called Solar Warrior Farm located at the Red Could Renewable Energy Center campus. This was my first experience being on a reservation, and I learned a lot about Native American culture and the hardships that many American Indians are faced with. This experience left me with a strong desire to continue volunteering with both TWP and the folks at Pine Ridge.

Since that first trip, I have been back to Pine Ridge several times to volunteer with TWP. My relationship with environmentalism and social justice is nurtured through the projects I take part in, and I always leave the reservation feeling more at peace than when I arrived, and with a renewed sense of purpose to keep taking action for change.

I also decided to do my internship here in TWP's Fort Collins office to finish out the requirements for my degree in Environmental Sociology this spring. I really enjoyed getting to learn more about the organization and it's programs, and getting to work more closely with the wonderful staff (so much so, that I decided to stick around and continue volunteering after graduation!). In a way, the volunteer work I get to do with TWP has added to my inspiration to pursue my education further, so I will be starting a master's program in Sustainability and Environmental Management next year.

TWP will always be one of my favorite organizations. I love the mission and purpose, and truly appreciate the hard work they put in to helping our environment!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Trees, Water & People cultivates a creative, inspiring work atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoy my work as an intern. I'm challenged to think outside of the box every day.

One of the programs I'm most excited about is the new solar energy solutions: Luciernaga. TWP has been distributing solar lamps and chargers to people in rural communities in Central America who are lacking access to the main grid. The solar lamps and chargers are inexpensive, and proving to be a vital energy resource to those who need it most.