A Guatemalan woman and her child.

2019 : A look back

At TWP our mission is to help communities protect, conserve, and manage their natural resources. In 2018, we improved the lives of even more families with your support.

Dear Friends,

It’s with great pride that we present Trees, Water & People’s (TWP) 2018-2019 Annual Report in which you’ll read stories of growth, evolution, and inspiration that were made possible by donors like yourself. In these turbulent times, you’ve entrusted TWP to help those facing acute effects of climate change in their communities, and we continue to rise to the challenge.

In this report, you’ll read about our growing solar literacy work—emPOWERing Native American Youth—to understand the opportunities presented by renewable energy with a Native-led solar energy curriculum, life-skills training, and experiential education.

You’ll also read about the great work we’re doing in Central Honduras, helping rural people build agricultural resilience to slow outbound migration, which is fueled by climate change and unrelenting economic uncertainty.

Together, we’ve faced these challenges with poise, patience, and passion, learning where our true strengths lie and building programs and partnerships that achieve real results. You have helped us grow financially by almost 20% in the past year, allowing us to add more talented program staff at home and in the field, and to invest in long-term planning. Your commitment to TWP is an investment in a bright future for our shared planet, and we work hard every day to make good on that investment.

The challenges we work on are persistent—and they won’t resolve themselves. The more people we have behind us, the more we can accomplish. This annual report concludes our 20th year of providing these important services to marginalized communities across the Americas, and this is when we really begin to see the fruits of our labor.

Thank you for your dedication to this vital work,

Sebastian Africano signature

Sebastian Africano
Executive Director

Doña Catalina of the community of La Bendición shows us the fruits of her labor as a newly trained agroforestry farmer. Her home garden was voted “Most Transformed” by Utz Che’ in 2018.

Resilience of Indigenous Farmers

Doña Catalina of the community of La Bendición shows us the fruits of her labor as a newly trained agroforestry farmer. Her home garden was voted “Most Transformed” by Utz Che’ in 2018.

Rural communities in Guatemala’s southeast are often the most forgotten in the country. Over the last several decades, hundreds of thousands of farming families have been relocated from their homes in the northern highlands to the rocky, volcanic lands of the Southeast Pacific coast. Today, smallholder farmers in this region are still relearning how to coexist with their forests, soils, and crops, and finding ways to cultivate new livelihoods.

On June 3, 2018, the active Volcán Fuego unleashed a massive, pyroclastic flow toward TWP’s partner community of La Trinidad, forcing the entire community to evacuate their homes. This is the third time this community has been displaced in just as many generations, and you have been instrumental in helping TWP respond with meaningful and timely support.

With our loyal donors by our side, Trees, Water & People has been able to work alongside disadvantaged communities to solve problems for over 20 years. We’re in it for the long haul. You helped us raise over $40,000 to help the community of La Trinidad organize, refine, and launch their recovery plan, so they wouldn’t have to settle for the first resettlement option presented to them. They are indigenous farmers, and are determined to continue their lives as indigenous farmers. Your support has helped them keep that dream alive.

We believe in the creative power of people like the people of La Trinidad, who are rising bravely to face challenges that will define the lives of their next generation. We all have a lot to learn from communities like these, and we will continue to ensure their voices are heard and not forgotten.

We are deeply grateful for all of our supporters and in the incredible rural communities across the Americas for believing in TWP.

My deepest gratitude,

Gemara Gifford signature

Gemara Gifford
International Director

2018 - 2019 Financial Report


Public Support $714,808
Foundation Support $439,830
Corporate Support $127,106
Eco Tours $32,287
In-Kind Income $24,220
Interest Income $7,905
Government $5,926
Unrealized Gain/Loss on Assets $5,132
Miscellaneous Income $3,992
Total Cash Revenues $1,361,206
Donated/Volunteer Services $130,202
Total $1,491,408


International Program $643,387
El Salvador $88,100
Guatemala $166,328
Honduras $115,084
Nicaragua $273,875
National Program $386,159
Support Services $122,903
Fundraising $108,204
Total Cash Expenses $1,260,653
Donated/Volunteer Services $130,202
Total $1,390,855
Net Assets at End of Year $1,104,307

2018-2019 Revenue

2018-2019 Expenses

We strive to be responsible with every gift we receive, putting your dollars to work where they are needed most. We encourage our donors to explore our profiles on these independent, third-party review sites

Charity Navigator logo

Great Nonprofits


Solar trainees on Pine Ridge Reservation

Reclaiming Our Father Sun

Leo Bear (left) is a community leader and business owner in Southern Idaho, and a longtime friend and partner of TWP. He always brings a positive attitude, and strong team morale to projects.

In the Fall of 2018, TWP and a team of renewable energy experts installed a 20kW solar array onto KILI Radio, making it the first Native-owned and operated radio station in the nation to be energy-independent. There, I had the privilege to meet and discuss Native American energy independence with Leo Bear (pictured above, left), a community leader from the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe of Southern Idaho.

Leo is one of many warriors who see the power of combining renewable energy with cultural exchange, mirroring the long-term vision of TWP’s National Program. Leo owns and operates a small-scale business called Off The Grid, where he empowers and installs solar-based projects for Tribal members. His ability to make people laugh, create relationships, and indulge you with his traditional wisdom illustrates that Native American people continue to fight to conserve their way of life and protect Mother Earth.

But how to get more Native Americans involved in the renewable energy revolution?

Wrestling with this question led TWP to embark on a new approach to accelerating energy independence on Tribal lands, and it begins with education. Tapping into the curiosity of young people has shown to be an effective way to engage more Native Americans with energy projects in their communities. Making solar energy accessible and meeting youth at their level increases self-confidence and self-esteem, and will lead more students to pursue futures in STEM related fields.

Driving this shift will take time, but engaging young people in meaningful ways today, and giving them the tools to confidently face the future will change the narrative for the next generation of Native Americans.

Thank you for your dedication to this vital work,

James Calabaza signature

James Calabaza
National Program Coordinator

Thanks to these innovative partnerships, we have been able to complete important community-based sustainable development projects. To learn more about our Partners for a Sustainable Planet program, please visit treeswaterpeople.org/partners.

Creating a global standard for sustainable forest product consumption, PrintReleaf guarantees to certifiably ‘releaf’ all paper products consumed by its customers. The patented technology measures consumption, and tracks reforestation partners, like TWP, to ensure fulfillment.

Wanderlust is a leader in yoga lifestyle. Wanderlust festivals are multi-day yoga, music + outdoor celebrations held in awe-inspiring locations around the world, and partners with TWP’s carbon offset program to support their ‘Wander Without Waste’ movement, and certified B Corporation standing.

Cafe Imports is an independent importer and developer of some of the world’s finest specialty green coffees. A proudly carbon neutral coffee importing company, Cafe Imports is dedicated to coffee progress in the areas of environment, social responsibility and coffee quality development. Learn more today at www.cafeimports.com

Smartpress provides premium online print for creative professionals. You can choose imaginative printing options while integrating envrionmentally-conscious practices. As a partner supporting reforestation on Tribal Lands, Smartpress plants more than 7,000 trees per year with TWP. Visit http://smartpress.com to learn more.

A solar trainee at Colorado State University learns to use the Solar Suitcase.