WHAT WE DO
Sustainable Sharing with Guatemala (SSG) is focused on optimizing resources in the United States to support organizations run by Guatemalans. SSG’s partners spearhead practical, community-based projects and achieve positive, long-term effects on the health, agriculture, and environment of rural indigenous Guatemalans.
The indigenous Mayan Mam culture is rich, beautiful and embodies global wisdom. Thus, it deserves to be valued, protected and shared. As the United States’ close neighbor, Guatemala plays a vital role in sustaining our hemispheric environment and culture. Since environmental, health and justice issues challenge communities across borders, we are committed to developing working models of sustainability that connect cultures. The unique experience of the Maya provides education, inspiration, and perspective.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
SSG believes that local organizations that engage within Guatemalan communities and shape projects that respond directly to their specific needs will be more successful. These organizations are the ones that can facilitate real, lasting, on-the-ground changes that are owned and operated by the indigenous Mayan Mam communities themselves.
HOW WE DO IT
As these kinds of imbedded changes take time, SSG is committed to two inter-related strategies;
1) To provide ongoing support, in coordination with local Guatemalan organizations who utilize community-based approaches to problem-solving and,
2) Use proven experience to develop useful, sustainable, replicable models for similar development projects in impoverished communities outside Guatemala.
HOW SSG EVOLVED
SSG’s founder, Julie Siegel, has been connected, initially as a donor and then as a Program Officer, to the EarthWays Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization committed to “global awareness and social and environmental activism.” Through her work with EarthWays, Julie worked extensively with the AFOPADI organization, which serves the Mayan communities living in the mountainous northwestern region of Guatemala. This experience, along with 30 years of working on a range of Guatemala solidarity projects has shown Julie first-hand, the components that are necessary for building real change in remote indigenous Guatemalan communities. So much so that in 2005 Julie founded SSG to extend and strengthen this work. SSG has developed significant expertise in project development and evaluation specific to Guatemala. SSG established its board in 2010 and applied for its 501c3 designation in April 2012. Today SSG is operating with 100% volunteer staff and continues to grow.
Julie Siegel’s connection with Guatemala dates to 1984. She founded Sustainable Sharing with Guatemala in 2010 in order to fund the ongoing work in the northwestern region that she has observed during annual visits to the country since 2005. Learn more about Julie.