The Story of a Seasoned Giver

unnamed‘Tis the season of thanks after all and below is a story by Cameron Giese, a model constituent, donor and Natik friend who we want to thank most sincerely. Indeed, thank you to all of those that have given to Natik. To learn more about how you can contribute this holiday season, check out our 2014 Catalog for Change!

Hi there! I’m Cameron Giese. I’m a quilt maker and graduate student in Portland, Oregon. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to participate in a service-learning class with Anita and two of her community partners, Mujeres y Maiz and Siempre Viva. Going to Chiapas and working with the women we met was both an honor and an incredibly important experience for me.

This year, instead of our traditional gift exchange, my family decided to donate money to a non-profit. As fun as gift exchanges can be, it was time to do something different. Because we’re spread out across the country and don’t get to see each other as much as we would like, it was hard to pick out gifts that would be loved, and giving as a family, we can make a bigger contribution than we could as individuals.

I got to pick the first organization that we would all give to. As excited as I was to make this decision, I was also overwhelmed. I wanted to make sure I found an organization that I trusted and that I knew was making a real difference. I thought and worried for a few days, and then one morning I woke to a Natik newsletter in my email – of course! We’ll donate to Natik. I can’t think of an organization that I trust more to take our donations and do something transformative with it, and I know firsthand how much of a difference even a small donation can make.  Thank you, Anita and Natik!

2014 Catalog for Change

Catalog CoverAnita Smart, Executive Director, and Rebecca Perkins, Board Chair, share Natik’s progress and news in their annual letter below. For more information on our partners’ activities in 2014, please visit this year’s Catalog for Change!

In 2014 we celebrated eleven years of work and made our organization stronger than ever! Thanks to your support, our partner organizations are making real and lasting impacts in the lives of their constituents and communities.

This year we focused on strengthening our partners’ capacity to serve their communities. At the beginning of the year, volunteers built a playground for the Puerta Abierta educational program in Santiago Atitlan. During the summer, we teamed up with the Lower East Side Girls Club of Manhattan, and a score of fellows, interns, and volunteers to fundraise enough money to build an educational center for the Yo’onik project in Zinacantan. Our renewed promotion of Just Apparel gave the artisans new opportunities to display their talent. We are pleased that the online sale of merchandise through Etsy continues to grow in popularity, thus contributing to the income of Mujeres Sembrando la Vida in Zinacantan.

Yo'onik 2Over the past year, we cultivated relationships with several Universities in the United States and signed an official letter of relationship with the Intercultural University of Chiapas (UNICH) in Chiapas, Mexico.

We restructured our board to facilitate active participation in five committees: Governance, Fundraising, Programs, Academic, and Marketing and Outreach. We have the great fortune to have a full-time fellow working in Guatemala and a steady flow of interns and volunteers who work both in the field and virtually from the US to improve the capacity of Natik and our partners.

DSCF1357On behalf of our board, staff, fellows, volunteers, and partners, we invite you to join us in this exhilarating phase of our work. Take a look inside our catalog, browse our website to see what our partners have been up to, check out the products that we are offering for sale this year, and consider including Natik in your year-end gift-giving and donations. We wish you and your loved ones a joyful and fulfilling new year. Thank you for being a part of our family.