About Family to Family Guatemala
FTF is staffed by a volunteer board in the United States, and has experienced program managers and native field workers in Guatemala. Donors from throughout the U.S. sponsor a family at $40/month, or assist with self-help or other projects at times and amounts of their choice. Contributions are tax deductible under IRS 501 C3.
During the 1980ʻs, children from third world countries were brought to Spokane for medical care. When some foster parents returned a little girl to Guatemala they witnessed the poverty in which children were being raised -- a dirt floored room without water or any conveniences. FTF was begun by those foster parents to provide help to poor families with food and medical care, plus longer term income producing skills. Insofar as the Diocese of Spokane already had a mission relationship with the Mayan Indians in Guatemala, FTF began within that non-profit framework as an outreach program of St. Thomas More Parish. The primary FTF focus, however, was (and remains) on economic development, with no limitations due to religious affiliation.
The Board of Directors, headquartered in Spokane, WA, consist of dedicated individuals who have worked with the poor in a variety of programs in the U.S. and/or in lesser-developed countries . They have a wide range of education with collegiate degrees in professional engineering, education, business, computer science, and human resource management. All board members volunteer their time and travel costs.
The Guatemalan staff consists of Program Coordinator, Natalia de Leon, a talented, bilingual manager, with a Business Administration degree from San Carlos University in Guatemala City. She has considerable experience in program planning, financial, and international project management.
Field Operations Manager, Adela Tambriz, a Mayan native of extraordinary technical, leadership, and human resource management skills. She is deeply admired by her people. Although she is located in a very remote area, Adela uses the latest available technology to communicate with the U.S. Board of Directors, track and monitor all participating families, schedule training programs, coordinate projects with her field workers and maintain accurate records of funds received and allocated. Adela’s work in reforestation programs has been recognized by the Guatemala National Forest Program, and she has represented the country of Guatemala with a special presentation in Brazil.
Recognition, Grants & Awards
FTF staff members and programs have received recognition (nationally and internationally) for accomplishments in several areas. Although the initial support for FTF programs was from the Spokane region, FTF has benefited from local, university, and national publications. An early article in St. Anthony Messenger (August 1988) prompted response from individuals in 20 states. As the FTF program continued to develop, it also received Guatemalan national and United Nations recognition.
One independent research book, "Roads to Change in Maya Guatemala," (Hawkins and Adams of Brigham Young Univ., 2005) noted that the FTF system of financing "insured that the family [participating in a sewing class] was involved in planning and that it was correctly spending the funds." (p. 181) In another observation, the study found that"projects provided training in trades that helped many obtain a greater degree of self-sufficiency." (p. 182) The study also observed (p.182) that the trout farms project "reflects Familia a Familia's commitment to help families eventually become capable of sustaining themselves without outside aid."
FTF has received grant and foundation support for some of its projects. The International Foundation awarded FTF a grant for solar power for a trade center built in remote Tzamjuyub, Guatemala, where there was no electricity. (A challenge grant was also received from the Raskob Foundation for the wiring and lighting.) FTF has coordinated activities with the Peace Corp and numerous training projects with INTECAP, the Guatemalan governmental training organization. FTF is currently managing a major housing project (PNUD) with support from an agency of the United Nations.