About Us

CEO Valerie Scheirman with students at our dental hygiene workshop

 

 Our Mission

1. We're a mostly-women operated 501(c)(3) nonprofit company who has engaged in this endeavor for three reasons:

  • We want to mitigate or alleviate poverty in selected Latin American populations by assisting indigenous artisans and growers to expand how they sell their products by going directly to the US and Canada.
  • Share our business experience with culturally appropriate perspectives to ensure improvement in production and quality products.
  • We believe in the Biblical model of empowering the poor by mentoring and encouragement through our services.

2. What values will drive our organization’s activity?

  • Empowerment of every client in business development and marketing
  • Solutions driven results of the process from creation to delivery 
  • Self-sustainable local business
  • Naturally produced, environmentally friendly sustainable handmade products

3. Selected businesses go through a screening process. Here are some of the guidelines in general:

  • Marketable: do people need/want it
  • Meaningful: how much of a “must have” item is it?
  • Measurable: in the production process, from obtaining supplies to final product; are all stages considered to accommodate adequate production
  • Manageable: is the work manageable as far as having adequate supplies and availability of workers
  • Micro Loans: will the business qualify for a limited loan with check points, inspections  (if non-compliant, products are discontinued)
  • How much experience does the person have in this type of creation/production
  • Who can they partner with (locals) for supplies, production
  • Materials: local or regional; with recyclable/repurposed materials

Why did we start SoulGives?

It came from me being a lost soul myself and realizing that there are many other lost souls that have slipped through the cracks. We do not even know about the reason we do not know about indigenous people.

Is it because we do not speak the same language? How often have you said that another person is not speaking my language? This is what God has placed on my heart and how SoulGives began.

It grew from a meeting I had with a Mayan woman living in Cozumel, Mexico, who was braiding hair in the central square. The cruise ships and tourists had stopped coming to Cozumel and that left virtually all the residents on the island without income. I loved her entrepreneurship and was willing to see how I could help support her efforts. She started spray-painting mugs and boards and my husband, Gary, and I used our experience to sell them through other channels than from a 6-foot long table.

Although the pandemic was tough, we found that even during the best of times, the income of most artisans and small-farm growers barely is above subsistence level. They simply needed a better way to have interested shoppers find their products.

The impact you can make comes from using your gifts to serve alongside God.

Your partnership with us to purchase their crafts, promote the artisan of your choice, or volunteer can help further these beautiful stories.

-Valerie Scheirman

 

Board of Directors/Advisors:

Valerie Scheirman

From her childhood, Valerie worked with her father running an Italian bakery. Later she became a pharmacist and started and managed pharmacies for large corporations as well as the State of Colorado. Now retired, she lives part-time in Costa Rica and Mexico.

She loves to work with people that have fallen through the cracks because they happen to speak a different language or live far from large cities. They need to be heard.

 

 

  Hazel Calderon Morales

Hazel is SoulGive's accountant. She has managed the financial and tax transactions and reporting for both profit and nonprofit organizations. Originally from San Jose, Costa Rica, she has lived in the west coastal cities in Guanacaste with her husband and two sons for the past five years. She was instrumental in forming the SoulGives nonprofit association in Costa Rica, and has been especially helpful because she is fluent in Spanish and English.

 

 Maritza Baeza Castillo

Maritza is a leader in the Cozumel, Mexico, business community. She owns and operates dental offices and has extensive experience in education and community service. She dedicates many hours in coordinating and providing "hands on" services in building up impoverished communities.

 

LeighAnn Corey

LeighAnn is a Certified Pedorthist and owns an orthopedic shoe business in Fort Collins, Colorado.

She met Valerie and Gary at a market in Costa Rica and found they had much in common. She has a vision for creating a sandal manufacturing company with Costa Ricans and develop a business where they not only earn a wage, but build esteem from seeing value to their labors. 

 

Charlotte Watts

Charlotte Watts - acupuncturistAfter growing up in Arizona Charlotte initially worked as an Emergency Medical Technician in Colorado. She became a Nationally Board Certified Acupuncturist and added licenses in Reiki, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Yoga Asana. She has owned and operated her own acupuncture clinic in Colorado for the past 13 years and has contributed to numerous nonprofit causes in the area.

 

 

John Garofalo

John Garofalo has had a business career in Real Estate and Mortgage Banking.  He ran his own mortgage company for fourteen years that had five offices in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. His passion for Conservation Resource management along with his desire to help those less fortunate is shown in a 50-acre eco-farm in Costa Rica. Visit ranchocostafalo.com to learn about their projects.

 

 

Gary Scheirman

A Colorado native, Gary has founded and run Development, Sales, and Support for several technology companies. Now retired, he is enjoying supporting his wife, Valerie, with SoulGives.