When someone asks how is Esperanza funded, we share with them the unusual fact about you, our amazing supporters spread around the globe, who donate monthly to keep our efforts afloat.
The more often we share this, the more we realize how unique this model of small monthly gestures actually is to the world of fundraising.
The following exciting news is a direct result of what makes your support so meaningful to us. It's the fuel that keeps us going every single day!
1. We Have A New Executive Director
As the Esperanza community continues to grow, and the kinds of transformations begin to vary, our team recognized the need for a true Executive Director. With experience at both USAID and Fundacion Jesus Luz y Oportunidades, Cristina Maduro was our first choice.
Panamanian-born, Cristina brings to our team a much valued sense of order and vision.
We are thrilled to welcome her on board and wanted to thank every single donor for allowing us to make this great step forward and provide even more true opportunities to our beneficiaries.
2. Sharing Our Stories With The World
Over the years, we've found that press does a few things for Esperanza: the obvious is that it helps us form new relationships with new individuals who can help our cause.
The less obvious (although arguably more powerful) benefit of good press is that it lends itself to the reintegration process of our graduates. Recognition is important for individuals of all backgrounds, but it's especially helpful when you are working to reverse the harm you once caused to your community.
For these reasons, we're always appreciative of these sorts of opportunities:
- Prevue Meetings: "The tour is led by former members of the notorious Ciudad de Dios street gang who now operate Fortaleza Tours within the district, following the intervention of the Esperanza Social Venture Club who work to integrate gang members into formal society."
- Rickshaw Travel Partnership: "Once a hotbed of gang activity, this is now a thriving district of art, culture, and architecture. In order to preserve an element of human patrimony, Esperanza’s non-profit initiatives assure that young at-risk males get to take part in the neighborhood’s growth, by providing help with mental and physical health as well as coaching to enter the workforce."
- Yahoo! Travel: "However, these tours are not so visitors can gawk at the poverty-stricken streets that still dominate the area — despite the massive gentrification of the last few years — but rather to highlight what the human spirit, when offered an alternative reality by way of education and hope, can do."
Because the transformation process is a patient one, it's extremely exciting to begin to see concrete results from groups that we began with several years back. As we start off 2016, we celebrate the following statistics:
- 43 former gang members graduated
- 74% currently working
- 3 actually working in one business (Super Gourmet)
- 11 started their own businesses through the Esperanza Social Venture Club
When we ask ourselves internally "what good results look like?" the answer is often that if we can change the course of one young man's life, we have solved one community problem.
With these results and with your monthly support, we are more confident now than ever before, that we are moving in the right direction.
4. Gorgeous Photo Exhibition Featuring Esperanza Graduate
Sofia Verzbolovskis is a Panamanian photographer based in New York who recently spent several days getting to know Luis. Following him into and out of neighborhood buildings en route to Lava Auto Plaza Amador, Sofia was able to capture the essence of what makes Luis, his business, and the power of his transformation so unique. You can see all Sofia and Luis' photos here: A Day In The Life Of Luis Moreno.
Thanks again for your ever-lasting support.
And please know that every day when we go to work, we are appreciative of people like you who believe enough to stand beside us.