Cottonwood Foundation Newsletter
Volume 10, No. 1   Archives

Table Of Contents
Cottonwood awards $23,000 in grants in fall 2003
Board members speak out
What is Cottonwood Foundation?
Give your support to Cottonwood Foundation!
Reports from the field

Cottonwood awards $23,000 in grants in fall 2003

Thanks to your support, Cottonwood Foundation has awarded 23 grants of $1,000 each to grassroots organizations worldwide that are working for a sustainable future. These grant recipients were selected from 228 applications in a very competitive process.

This brings the total grants awarded in 2003 by Cottonwood Foundation to $41,000, a new record! Cottonwood Foundation’s grants committee and board have worked hard to identify and fund those organizations where your contributions will make a significant difference.

Following is a listing of the 23 $1,000 grants awarded this fall: (Please note that organizations followed by “USA/[another country]” are based in the United States, but were funded for a specific project in another country.)

  • African Blackwood Conservation Project, USA/Tanzania – to construct a small building in Tanzania in a nursery for the endangered mpingo tree to be used for storing equipment and to provide shelter for volunteers.
  • Center for Ecosystem Survival, USA/Costa Rica – to purchase critically needed acres to complete the acquisition of the Rincon Rainforest into the Guanacaste Conservation Area in Costa Rica.
  • Center for People’s Agricultural Plan for the 21st Century, Philippines – to construct a children’s learning center in the village of Mercedes, purchase environmental books and educational materials, train four volunteer para-teachers, and for a child feeding program.
  • Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems, India – to assist farmers in Sukkankollai, Tamil Nadu to make, use and sell organic plant-based biopesticides by building a workshop, purchasing vessels for biopesticide preparation, and buying a grinder and gas stove.
  • Cultural Survival - Wangurri Garden Project, USA/Australia – to build a shed for training materials and tools for this Aborigine community garden, and to set up a more efficient method of supplying water to the site using a water pump and hose.
  • Entebbe District Wildlife Association, Uganda – to purchase stones, bricks, pipes, clay, metallic bars and fuel to construct energy saving stoves for 20 schools and 35 households in Entebbe.
  • ETAPAS, Mexico – to help build a needed community water system for the indigenous Tzeltal community of Nueva Tierra Negra located on the outskirts of the Lacondón Rainforest in Chiapas.
  • Friends Service Council, Nepal – to complete a community building, including purchasing cement for ceiling and wall plaster, stone for floor concrete, sand for plaster for the floor and ceiling, installations of doors and windows, electric wiring, and paint.
  • Goriber Asroy, Bangladesh – for a water pipeline to supply critically needed arsenic-free water to the 528 households of Jattrapur village.
  • Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, USA/South Africa – to help mobilize at least 25 volunteer HIV/AIDS outreach workers in South Africa, train them in bicycle operation and maintenance, and supply them with good-quality bicycles.
  • Jeevan Rekha Parishad, India – to provide tribal people with vocational training in banana and papaya cultivation and commercial kitchen gardening, including supplying seeds and saplings, purchasing a diesel pump, and establishing a nursery.
  • Juvenile Education and Awareness Project, USA/Guatemala – to purchase building materials for construction of an elementary school to serve 150 Mayan children in Chajul, Guatemala, including concrete blocks, metal roofing, nails, and wood.
  • Maasai Heritage Preservation Foundation, USA/Kenya – to install two water tanks to provide needed access to clean water for the Maasai Mara people living in Talek, Kenya - one for the daycare center and the other for Talek Clinic.
  • Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Foundation, USA/Mexico – to support the NGO Alternare in Mexico in its work to train campesino families to improve their standard of living while protecting the forest ecosystem of the Monarch Butterfly Reserve.
  • Nabichakha Women Group, Kenya – to set up nutrition gardens for growing vegetables and other crops for subsistence food and to provide income, including purchase of vegetable seeds, watering cans, hoses, tools, and training in nutrition gardening.
  • Palawan Conservation Corps, Philippines – to construct a biogas plant for a youth dormitory which will provide gas for cooking purposes, and to build additional pig pens which will supply manure for biogas, fertilizer and offspring to be distributed to youth.
  • PermaLot, Czech Republic – to help pay for this grassroots organization’s community water system including a water-well powered by a solar pump.
  • Planet Drum Foundation, USA/Ecuador – for a revegetation project on the eroded hillsides of Bahia de Caraquez, including expanding a greenhouse, purchasing hoes and a wind-up reel for watering, wages for tree-planters, and purchase of fencing materials.
  • Porters’ Progress, USA/Nepal – to run daily English language classes and weekly Empowerment Meetings for porters in Lukla, Nepal, pay for one staff working 1/3rd time, and to contribute towards rent and general office operating expenses.
  • Project Mercy, USA/Mexico – to construct basic homes built of used garage doors for those in immediate and emergency need of housing in the outlying neighborhoods of Tijuana.
  • Rainforest Information Centre, Australia/Philippines – for a rainforest protection project in the Philippines, including raising and distributing seedlings to help surround and protect virgin forest and training Higaonon tribal members in permaculture and building.
  • Red Cliff Land Recovery Project, USA – to support land acquisition by a Native American tribal organization on the Red Cliff Reservation in northern Wisconsin.
  • Sanchuan Development Association, China – for general operational expenditures for a Chinese nonprofit organization working to promote equitable and sustainable development.

Board members speak out

Cottonwood Foundation’s board is made up of 11 committed volunteers who firmly believe in Cottonwood Foundation’s goals. Each board member brings unique skills and experiences. Read below to learn why Cottonwood is important to each board member.

Pictured, left to right: Suzanne Wisniewski, Jan Lucke, Sarah Hannigan, Craig Miller, Jeff Washburne, Paul Schmiechen, Laura Van Tassel, Paul Moss, Lucinda Pepper, Karen Grabau. Not pictured: Karissa Huntington.

My interest in the Cottonwood Foundation was a direct result of my volunteerism experiences in other countries. I initially felt that I would be able to stay connected to those incredibly valuable experiences though serving on the Cottonwood Foundation and learning about new initiatives worldwide. Since beginning my service on the board in 1998, that interest has never wavered. In addition to the ability to continually learn about initiatives that are making the world a better place to live, I have been able to serve with great group of dedicated and knowledgeable board members.
Jeff Washburne

Making a difference in my community is important to me. I firmly believe that positive change that begins at home can eventually affect a great many people. In the process of discovering how my actions can contribute to the greater good, I became involved with the Cottonwood Foundation. Cottonwood has provided me with a vehicle for making a difference. Working collaboratively with the inspiring group of volunteers that make up the Foundation, I am able to support positive change in our global community.
Lucinda Pepper

The Cottonwood Foundation is a constant reminder that a little time and a little money really can go a long way to making a difference in the lives of people across the world. I’ve enjoyed working with the Cottonwood Foundation for the past several years because I’m surrounded by a fantastic group of people devoted to ensuring that Cottonwood grants make this world a better place through its simple goals of giving to organizations who protect the environment, volunteer their time, promote cultural diversity and become empowered by what we have to offer.
Suzanne Wisniewski

I am thrilled to be a new member of the Cottonwood Foundation’s Board of Directors. I am especially pleased to be a part of an organization that contributes to the success of projects that are rooted in the intersection of community involvement, environmental protection, promotion of cultural diversity, and personal empowerment. I believe that where these things come together, important and sustaining change is possible. I look forward to working with the Cottonwood Foundation to help thoughtful, committed citizens make great change in their communities.
Sarah Hannigan

My work with the Cottonwood Foundation has been a wonderful reminder that the world CAN be a friendly place. It is so encouraging to see organizations around the globe who are striving for goals like those of Cottonwood, to hear how they hope to make them happen, and to see how Cottonwood is able to make a significant difference. It has been a wonderful opportunity to learn about what is going on in the world around me and to support the work that Cottonwood has been doing for years.
Laura Van Tassel

Being involved with the Cottonwood Foundation has provided me with the opportunity to feel like I am making a difference in ways that helps to empower others. It has been a rewarding experience to be involved with the organization and to work with a great group of people.
Karen Grabau

I feel privileged to work with Cottonwood Foundation as it provides a way that I can respond to some of the many problems in the world and help to make a concrete difference. I really respect our board members and their ability to make good decisions about how grants are awarded, and their commitment to the organization. It’s an important part of my life to help to support Cottonwood in its mission.
Paul Moss

Working with Cottonwood Foundation gives me the opportunity to assist sustainability efforts around the world. And what could be more rewarding than providing resources to help communities build water systems, prevent forest lands from being overharvested, buy sewing equipment so that women can earn better wages and build community centers to bring people together? I find this work fulfilling on many different levels. Knowing that I am directly helping people is personally rewarding, working with a dedicated group of board members makes me part of an effective team, and spreading the word about our work builds networks of interested and caring people.
Paul Schmiechen

There are many challenges in today’s world and seemingly endless calls for volunteer support. I think it is important for everyone to find a way to use his or her talents in a volunteer capacity to make the world a better place. The compound effect of this is how great social changes take place. For six years, Cottonwood Foundation has been my way of making the world a better place by helping grassroots organizations achieve their visions of a sustainable community – where people can meet their basic needs, protect the environment, cherish cultural diversity and promote volunteerism. I have found nothing more rewarding than this.
Jan Lucke

Serving on the Cottonwood board allows me to feel connected to the movers and shakers of the world. The grant applications are filled with so much hope and passion for the progress a small grant could help them make, and I love that Cottonwood can often fuel their fire by helping turn dreams into reality. I feel directly connected to many of the recipients, feeling hinged to their work and depending on their success for positive change. I believe that the small grant from Cottonwood helps produce this positive change, and that their change is making the world a better place.
Karissa Huntington

Cottonwood Foundation represents my ability to share with and honor all other living beings on the earth. I have been lucky and blessed to be part of such a unique and meaningful organization. It is heart-warming to have such a positive influence on the future.
Craig R. Miller

What is Cottonwood Foundation?

Cottonwood Foundation is a tax-exempt charitable organization, run entirely by volunteers and with no paid staff, that provides small grants to grassroots organizations worldwide that are working for a sustainable future. Since it was started in 1992, it has awarded 267 grants totaling over $234,000. Eleven members currently serve on Cottonwood Foundation’s board of directors.

Giving Criteria
Cottonwood awards grants to organizations that combine all of the following: protecting the environment, promoting cultural diversity, empowering people to meet their basic needs, and relying on volunteers. Support of such groups makes it possible to really make a difference in creating a better world.

Cottonwood Foundation is proud that more than 90 percent of its expenditures go directly for grants. Less than 10 percent of all expenses are used to cover administration (such as postage, printing, supplies and postal box rental). The Foundation relies on donations of space, graphic design, computers, telephone, fax, and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor to operate!

Board of Directors
Karen Grabau, Secretary
Lucinda Pepper
Sarah Hannigan
Paul Schmiechen
Karissa Huntington
Laura Van Tassel
Jan Lucke
Jeff Washburne, Chair
Craig R. Miller, Vice Chair
Paul Moss, Executive Director
Suzanne Wisniewski,Treasurer

Give your support to Cottonwood Foundation!

Your much appreciated contribution can be allocated to one or more funds:

General Fund: Supports all aspects of the Foundation’s charitable activities and administration

Endowment Fund: A permanent fund providing the Foundation with investment income

Land Fund: Supports grants to indigenous peoples’ organizations for repurchasing their land base in order to preserve their culture and environment

Please send contributions made out to "Cottonwood Foundation" to Cottonwood Foundation, Box 10803, White Bear Lake, MN 55110 Phone: (651) 426-8797, Fax: (651) 426-0320


Thank you! Your contribution is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

In their own words

The following are some representative excerpts of some of the grant reports recently received by Cottonwood Foundation. These help to demonstrate how your contributions to Cottonwood Foundation are making a difference!

“During the past year, Benton Furniture Share distributed an average of 120 items per month to low-income households, or to non-profit agencies. The furniture was valued at well over $100,000 per year. We accomplished this on a budget of about $40,000. Cottonwood Foundation’s contribution assured the delivery of nearly 40 items of furniture to the most needy in the county and provided an important piece of our ongoing funding picture. Our thanks to the Foundation for its support.”
Benton Furniture Share, Oregon, USA

"First I, on behalf of HEARDS & Narigapalli village people, convey my sincere thanks and gratitude to you for your heartiest cooperation and help in our Community Drinking Water Programme. With the implementation of Community Drinking Water Programme in Narigapalli village the people are able to fetch water from pipes which is free from all kinds of pollution and becomes safe for consuming. Water drawn from pipes are expected to be clean which frees them from contagious diseases and saves the time and energy of vulnerable in walking a mile to get good water. The people of the target villages are very happy to utilize the water. The beneficiaries had been trying, since 25 years to get a water source and to build a water tank. After drilling the bore well and construction of the ground level water tank the beneficiaries dream has been fulfilled. We are glad to work together with you in a spirit of partnership and we are hopeful to have continuous support with your agency in future also. Thanking all of you at Cottonwood Foundation once again.”
Health Education Adoption Rehabilitation Development Society (HEARDS), India

“Greetings of Peace from the province of Kalinga, Philippines! First, I would like to thank you so much for your generous donation of $1000 U.S. which is being use to help our Indigenous peoples in their educational and health needs. Although, we initially requested for educational purposes but we had to use some amount for health needs to save lives of affected children by cholera and dysentery epidemic plus so many skin infections. There is still amount left that we can use to buy chalks and blackboards for one elementary school, remotely located 8-12 hours hike from the road. The community members requested for such. Thank you for partnering with us in our small effort to make this world safer and better place for our Indigenous indigent youth and other children.”
International Association for Transformation, Canada/Philippines

Cottonwood Foundation Contributors Update
Laurie Gustafson, Editor

Paul Moss, Executive Director

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