Thank you so much to our wonderful and faithful donors! We are in good shape to face the challenges of another academic year now and start to envision what 2018 might look like for these children and the Ixil community. We thank God for the way that you stand up for these children in the Ixil so that their hopes and dreams can be realized!
Friends, thank you so much for investing in the young lives of Guatemala’s Ixil region! Through your generosity, students from this desperately impoverished region are looking forward to a future free from poverty—through a high-quality secondary education! Because you care deeply about the students we serve together, I want to celebrate with you some of the great accomplishments of the Nicolás Christian School. I also want to share with you an urgent request as the new school year gets underway in January 2017. I am so blessed to report that, still in its first year, the Nicolás Christian School has already become known throughout the Ixil region as a center of educational excellence! Our science and computer labs are one-of-a kind, and our library/resource center is the envy of other schools. The leadership is excellent. And, most important, the school is openly and unapologetically rooted in the Christian faith. No wonder our students are so proud of their school! These amazing blessings are due to donors just like you—along with other faithful friends—who have stepped up to support and pray for the school and NFE students. This January, a new class of seventh-graders from Agros Ixil villages will start their first year at the Nicolás Christian School. We have begun work with three additional Agros villages, and those children are anxious to begin attending Nicolás Christian School. Three students from San Nicolás, seven students from Cajixay and other students are praying that they will be able to continue their education beyond the sixth grade. We won’t be able to accommodate these additional students unless we can increase our budget. We haven’t yet raised sufficient funding to cover their scholarship …
Through your generosity, Nicolás Fund for Education is now able to serve students from five Agros villages: La Esperanza, La Bendición, Belén, Villa Hortencia Uno and now San Nicolás! NFE is strategically planning for the future. We have a four-year lease on our current school campus. We have three more years on our lease at this location but we can already see that we might outgrow that facility by the end of our lease. We realize that we should allow lots of time to build any infrastructure improvements we would need to make for a different leased property. We are evaluating where that school should be located to serve our students best. The Cotzal area is more central to many of our villages, and having the school closer to our students will reduce NFE transportation costs. However, we also need to be thoughtful about the locations of other Agros villages that might be sending students to our school with the help of donors. By planning now, we hope to have the new school ready to step into when our current lease is up. NFE encourages you to consider whether or not you or your family would like to be one of those future donors and make a five-year commitment to sponsor one student from an Agros village from 7th through 11th grade. We can only add these students to our school as we engage new donors who support them. Might your church small group or business like to sponsor 2-3 students? The cost for a full scholarship for one student is $3000/year. Half scholarships are also available.
Thank you to our donors who are helping Ixil youth to realize their educational dreams! This month, we would like to walk you through how each dollar you donate is spent. For each dollar that you donate: Nicolas Fund for Education is definitely a “no frills” operation. Our National Director, Ivan España, administers our NFE programs in Guatemala. Our “US Administrative expenses” include our virtual assistant, donor management software, Constant Contact, website, insurance, office supplies and marketing tools such as posters and mailings. We have one part-time “virtual assistant” who is an independent contractor to help coordinate NFE Board activities and assist with communications. The costs associated with our virtual assistant contractor are covered by a private donor, and we are very grateful for this help. We have no NFE employees in the United States. The “Distance Learning Program” refers to Juanita’s and VH1 programs through Instituto Superior de Educación a Distancia. ISEA meets Guatemalan Ministry of Education criteria and standards. The village tutoring program, however, was created by NFE specifically to better prepare students before they begin 7th grade. Our fundraising costs are far, far below the average for a nonprofit because of our faithful donors and volunteers. This allows our fundraising to be highly efficient so that the least amount of money can be spent to receive a donation. Typically, nonprofits spend about 25-30% of funds raised on the fundraising process itself, according to Charity Navigator. NFE spends only 2%, thanks to our dedicated team of volunteers who bake, set up and take down our event and the hospitality of both Evergreen Covenant Church and Bellevue Presbyterian for our fundraiser. Our volunteers really help us devote every …
Paul Selvig, February 2016 team member, and his son Josiah shared about their experience as team members. Paul, a multi-trip veteran, described how rewarding it was to introduce his son to his friends in the Ixil that he has made over many years. He strongly encouraged families to consider taking a trip together.
NFE Board member, Kathy Riper, provided a status update on developments at Nicolás Christian School, aided by two videos that featured our new computer and science laboratories. Professor Braulio Mateo Bach Cabrera gave an excellent introduction of all the changes the school has experienced since opening in January 2016. On behalf of the parents of NCS students and NCS staff, Prof. Braulio expressed gratitude to the donors who have made all of this happen!
Petronila Elizabeth Ramos, our keynote speaker, left theFulfilling A Dream Desert Event audience spellbound, many in tears, as she shared her life-journey from a fatherless girl in the jungles of Guatemala to a University Graduate and teacher. Petronila related how her father’s abandonment of her as a child has reverberated pain throughout her life. She recounted losing her brother to the Guatemalan 36-year civil war and her fear of losing her mother, her only parent. She described her family’s poverty, and how they came to be included in the Agros village of La Esperanza. Petronila explained how a near-fatal knife attack perpetrated by two village members on her mother and her devastated their family and continues to haunt Petronila. Despite these significant challenges, Petronila has survived and gone on to academic excellence with NFE’s help. We will soon be sharing more of Petronila’s courageous story on our blog.
Thanks to all who attended our 2016 Fulfilling a Dream Dessert Event! It was a wonderful night that we won’t soon forget! There was a palpable feeling of love and good will in the room between people who share a mutual interest and affection for our friends in the Ixil. We are especially grateful for all who donated so generously to the Nicolas Fund for Education at our event. Thank You. We are still counting the contributions that are coming in, but we can report we have received a generous increase over last year’s event totaling over $130,000. This is about 65% of the ongoing expense of running our program. Thank you on behalf of the 68 students who are in our program or have graduated.