Dear Fulfilling a Dream 2023 Attendees, The Nicolás Fund for Education board wishes to extend our heartfelt gratitude for your incredible support at our Fulfilling a Dream fundraising event at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church on April 22, 2023. Seeing so many new faces in the audience filled us with hope and excitement for the future of our organization. Your unwavering generosity has truly made a difference for our cause. We are incredibly grateful to announce that we have raised over $135,000 at the event, with donations still coming in! With each gift, we come one step closer to empowering Mayan youth in the Ixil region of Guatemala to break the generational cycle of poverty through Christ-centered education. The impact of your contribution is undeniable—you are helping us create tangible, lasting change for these young students and their communities. Your support provides access to essential educational opportunities and resources to transform lives for the better. Thanks to your kindness, generations of empowered, educated Mayan youth will transform their communities. We are also thrilled to welcome 28 new supporters to the Nicolás Fund for Education family. Your commitment to our cause strengthens our efforts and inspires us to work harder to make a difference in the lives of these children. We are eager to keep you involved and informed about the progress we make together, thanks to your generosity. Once again, thank you for standing with us in our mission to provide a brighter future for Mayan youth in the Ixil region of Guatemala. We couldn’t do this critical work without partners like you, and we look forward to sharing updates and stories of success in the coming months. With gratitude, The …
How Nicolás Fund For Education is Helping Ronaldo Overcome His Challenges
Ronaldo is a determined and ambitious young man from Guatemala’s Ixil region. He is working hard in his final year at Nicolás Christian School with the dream of one day becoming a civil engineer and owning his construction company with his father. But, this journey isn’t without obstacles; financial and health challenges stand in the way of him accomplishing his goals. However, through help from Nicolás Fund for Education, he remains hopeful that he can make it happen! Family life is an important value in Ronaldo’s world. His father, Domingo, works as a mason while his mother, Rosa, devotes all of her time to the home and weaving. This strong bond between child and parent has created even closer ties for Ronaldo with his four older brothers – Diego Eduardo, Sergio Nicolás, Juan Ariel, and Domingo Alexander who are adults living in San Juan Cotzal, like himself. He enjoys the beautiful scenery around his neighborhood, Canton Tu Poj, where he lives alongside rivers and waterfalls. The rivers provide a fun swimming spot when he finds some free time. More often than not, Ronaldo chooses to help his father with masonry projects because it involves assisting his father. Ronaldo works without pay. He gives his time out of pure love for his father! Ronaldo was a stellar student throughout primary and junior high school. Even at a young age, he was looking for ways to take his education even further. He found what he was searching for at Nicolás Christian School – an advanced institution full of tools and resources like tablets, microscopes, and TV screens in each classroom! When it came time to hone in on the most challenging subject …
Breaking the Generational Cycle of Poverty: NFE Transforms Lives of Mayan Indigenous Ixil in Guatemala
For over 400 years, the Mayan indigenous people of the Ixil in Guatemala have experienced systematic discrimination, culminating in a civil war that resulted in genocide. This has left these Ixil families locked in poverty for generations. However, one organization is working to break this cycle: Nicolás Fund For Education (NFE). NFE is a 501(c) 3 non-profit dedicated to helping the Ixil youth break the cycle of poverty, injustice, and prejudice. Before NFE came into existence, parents were unable to afford school after 6th grade – leaving children without an education and no hope for their future. Free education stops after sixth grade in Guatemala. The most powerful way to permanently break this cycle of poverty is through education. NFE operates Nicolás Christian School which currently has about 150 students enrolled. They also offer PreK, Kinder, and tutoring for 5th and 6th graders as well as university scholarships. It all began with 13 students. Now there are 85 high school graduates and 17 have earned a university degree. This is particularly significant because only 20% of high school students in the area graduate, and less than 1% graduate from university. To double its impact, NFE is building a larger school that is scheduled to open for the 2024 school year! “We are so proud of the incredible strides and challenges our students are overcoming,” said Becci Merritt, President of NFE. “Our goal is to provide a high-quality Christian education that encourages faith-based values that will help them lead successful lives.” With NFE’s help, these children can look forward to brighter futures than ever before – free from poverty and injustice.
Meet Outstanding Nicolás Christian School Scholar Yesica!
Meet Nicolás Christian School 11th-grader, Yesica. She lives in the village of Los Angeles in a mountainous region in northwestern Guatemala. Los Angeles is a farming village of 150 families. Yesica described Los Angeles as “very poor,” with only a few families having money. Home Life Her father and mother are Francisco and Catarina. Francisco owns and operates a small tienda (convenience store) in Los Angeles. Catarina is a full-time homemaker. Yesica has two little sisters and a brother. Her sister, Jazmín Amanda, attends Nicolás Christian School as a 7th grader. She has a younger sister, Sandy Carina, and a younger brother, Abner Andry. School Life Yesica was an honor student when she attended elementary school in Los Angeles and has continued to be an honor student at Nicolás Christian School. Ivan España, Nicolás Fund for Education National Director, describes Yesica as “disciplined” and aware of her academic responsibilities. She is a terrific role model for her younger brother and sister. Her Burden But something is worrying Yesica, and she dissolves into tears as she tries to describe her concern. Her father, Francisco, has had severe back pain for a year and isn’t improving. Yesica told us, “It makes me feel very bad to see him like this.” Her number one prayer request is that her father’s back pain would resolve, and she has requested prayer in the past from our monthly virtual prayer group. Please pray that God will restore Yesica’s father to complete health and mobility. Yesica told us that without the support of donors like you, she would not be able to attend Nicolás Christian high school. Yesica said that if she couldn’t be a student at …
Donate & Double Your Impact
As we transition into our season of Thanksgiving, knowing that your donation will be doubled is a wonderful way to give a student a hand up out of poverty through quality education. A very generous donor has offered to double your donation up to $65,000! Every donation will be doubled until that total has been achieved. You can double your impact with your tax-deductible donation today!
Help Us Bring All 150 Students Back in January 2023!
You are making a tremendous impact in the lives of Nicolás Christian School students! Students and Graduates are becoming entrepreneurs, and some are independently securing their grants and microloans to pursue different types of farming enterprises. Our July 2022 team saw more than six greenhouses producing the most beautiful Roma tomatoes. Nicolás Christian School graduate Antonio is working in the greenhouses. Their first harvest was 100 lbs. of tomatoes! Some graduates, like Sucely Jenyfer, are successful business owners in Cotzal. Sucely Jenyfer currently has a plan to go to baking school so that she can open a bakery…in addition to her successful clothing shop in Cotzal! Nicolás Christian School students have options Other students who don’t have a desire to attend university in the future have a new option to transfer to an Intecap trade school after 9th grade. Nicolás Christian School currently has ten scholarships to offer that cover tuition at the Huehuetenango campus. Intecap trade schools have an excellent jobplacement rate after graduation. Our graduates have hope for a better future because of the education you are providing for them. Hope for a better future is key in this part of Guatemala, recognized as the #1 area for youth suicide in the country. To fully fund the 2023 academic year for 150 students, Nicolás Fund for Education must raise$174,000 by 12.31.22. This would require 58 donors to donate $3000 before 12.31.22. We also have a new option for donors to make a total pledge towards the 2023 academic school year that can be paid in installments as long as the last installment payment is received by 12.31.22. For more information, call Becci Merritt at 425.243.3709. Make a donation …
Thank you so much to our wonderful and faithful donors! We are in good shape to face the challenges of another academic year now and start to envision what 2018 might look like for these children and the Ixil community. We thank God for the way that you stand up for these children in the Ixil so that their hopes and dreams can be realized!
Our New Seventh-Graders Need Your Help!
Friends, thank you so much for investing in the young lives of Guatemala’s Ixil region! Through your generosity, students from this desperately impoverished region are looking forward to a future free from poverty—through a high-quality secondary education! Because you care deeply about the students we serve together, I want to celebrate with you some of the great accomplishments of the Nicolás Christian School. I also want to share with you an urgent request as the new school year gets underway in January 2017. I am so blessed to report that, still in its first year, the Nicolás Christian School has already become known throughout the Ixil region as a center of educational excellence! Our science and computer labs are one-of-a kind, and our library/resource center is the envy of other schools. The leadership is excellent. And, most important, the school is openly and unapologetically rooted in the Christian faith. No wonder our students are so proud of their school! These amazing blessings are due to donors just like you—along with other faithful friends—who have stepped up to support and pray for the school and NFE students. This January, a new class of seventh-graders from Agros Ixil villages will start their first year at the Nicolás Christian School. We have begun work with three additional Agros villages, and those children are anxious to begin attending Nicolás Christian School. Three students from San Nicolás, seven students from Cajixay and other students are praying that they will be able to continue their education beyond the sixth grade. We won’t be able to accommodate these additional students unless we can increase our budget. We haven’t yet raised sufficient funding to cover their scholarship …
Nicolás Fund for Education: Planning for the Future
Through your generosity, Nicolás Fund for Education is now able to serve students from five Agros villages: La Esperanza, La Bendición, Belén, Villa Hortencia Uno and now San Nicolás! NFE is strategically planning for the future. We have a four-year lease on our current school campus. We have three more years on our lease at this location but we can already see that we might outgrow that facility by the end of our lease. We realize that we should allow lots of time to build any infrastructure improvements we would need to make for a different leased property. We are evaluating where that school should be located to serve our students best. The Cotzal area is more central to many of our villages, and having the school closer to our students will reduce NFE transportation costs. However, we also need to be thoughtful about the locations of other Agros villages that might be sending students to our school with the help of donors. By planning now, we hope to have the new school ready to step into when our current lease is up. NFE encourages you to consider whether or not you or your family would like to be one of those future donors and make a five-year commitment to sponsor one student from an Agros village from 7th through 11th grade. We can only add these students to our school as we engage new donors who support them. Might your church small group or business like to sponsor 2-3 students? The cost for a full scholarship for one student is $3000/year. Half scholarships are also available.
Nicolás Fund for Education: Financial Transparency and Accountability
Thank you to our donors who are helping Ixil youth to realize their educational dreams! This month, we would like to walk you through how each dollar you donate is spent. For each dollar that you donate: Nicolas Fund for Education is definitely a “no frills” operation. Our National Director, Ivan España, administers our NFE programs in Guatemala. Our “US Administrative expenses” include our virtual assistant, donor management software, Constant Contact, website, insurance, office supplies and marketing tools such as posters and mailings. We have one part-time “virtual assistant” who is an independent contractor to help coordinate NFE Board activities and assist with communications. The costs associated with our virtual assistant contractor are covered by a private donor, and we are very grateful for this help. We have no NFE employees in the United States. The “Distance Learning Program” refers to Juanita’s and VH1 programs through Instituto Superior de Educación a Distancia. ISEA meets Guatemalan Ministry of Education criteria and standards. The village tutoring program, however, was created by NFE specifically to better prepare students before they begin 7th grade. Our fundraising costs are far, far below the average for a nonprofit because of our faithful donors and volunteers. This allows our fundraising to be highly efficient so that the least amount of money can be spent to receive a donation. Typically, nonprofits spend about 25-30% of funds raised on the fundraising process itself, according to Charity Navigator. NFE spends only 2%, thanks to our dedicated team of volunteers who bake, set up and take down our event and the hospitality of both Evergreen Covenant Church and Bellevue Presbyterian for our fundraiser. Our volunteers really help us devote every …
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