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 to expand how they sell their crafts 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 clients in business development and marketing
- Solutions driven results of the process from creation to production to market to delivery
- Self-sustainable local business
- Naturally produced, environmentally 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 reduction of risks on obtainment of supplies, 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 table on an empty island.
The impact you can make comes from using your gifts to serve alongside God.
Your partnership with us to purchase their crafts or assist with a fundraiser can help further these beautiful stories.
Board of Directors/Advisors:
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.
Kristin is the founder and lead trainer of Living Soul Institute (www.livingsoulinstitute.com), a teacher training and continuing education yoga school that also provides soul care programs, retreats, and philanthropic events. As a leader, she bridges that what holds space for God to redeem and restore hearts, souls, minds and bodies. She shares the unforced rhythms of grace (Matt. 11:28 MSG) beyond borders and to people in marginalized communities and is passionate about training up and multiplying the light workers here on earth for such a time as this!
Hazel Calderon Morales
Hazel is an accountant and has set up and managed accounting systems for both business and nonprofit organizations. She grew up in San Jose, Costa Rica, but has lived and worked in the west coastal cities in Guanacaste with her husband and two children for the past three years.
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 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.
After 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 volunteered and contributed to numerous nonprofit causes in the area.
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 has founded and run Development, Sales, and Support for several technology companies. Now retired, he is enjoying supporting his wife, Valerie, with the startup of SoulGives.