At the Heart of Travel, we have a true commitment to cultivating positive relationships with local communities and upholding high ethical standards on all of our tours. Our trips include at least one visit to one of our sister communities where visitors have the opportunity to learn about a school, organization, small business or project of some sort that is doing incredible work and deserves recognition, support and the opportunity to share their story. We firmly believe in the power of education combined with access to capital and resources, such as technology, in order for individuals and communities to overcome political, socioeconomic and environmental barriers that hinder them from leading the healthy, stable and dignified lives all human beings deserve.
Apart from working to build long term relationships and creating travel experiences that provide local communities with sustainable ways to boost their economy while sharing their cultural and communities with visitors, Heart of Travel is happy to participate in a variety of fundraising efforts when we know the organizations well and believe that fundraising is an appropriate form of support.
In our commitment towards transparency you can see below a list of the fundraising efforts we’ve been involved with since 2017
On December, 2nd, 2018 Heart of Travel celebrated their Two Year Anniversary with a blowout bash at Pachamama Coffee Roasters in Sacramento, CA. All of the proceeds from ticket sales, raffle and direct donations allowed us to raise funds for two non-profits, Fundación Fénix in Guatemala and Changing the Streets, based out of Sacramento, CA. In total the party was able to raise a total $2,110 USD and subsequently wrote a check for $1,055 USD. Read more about each organization below and check out their sites to learn about their projects.
Fundación Fénix works with women and children who were victims of the June 3rd volcano eruption tragedy in a holistic program that tends to physical, mental and emotional well-being, ongoing education opportunities and finally the path towards self-sufficiency via business administration courses and a micro-financing program. We firmly believe in teaching a woman to fish as opposed to just giving her one. The women that we work with don’t need, or want, handouts, rather they need access to the resources we so often take for granted – education, and access to startup funding.
Changing the Streets directs its efforts in the spirit of One Health. The One Health Initiative defines One Health as the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment. By working collaboratively across multiple disciplines we can create a much greater impact leading to more effective and longer lasting outcomes. When communities flourish everyone benefits.
VOLCANO RELIEF EFFORTS JUNE 2018
On June 3rd of 2018, the Fuego Volcano erupted just outside of Antigua, Guatemala less than 15 miles away from where friends Joaquín Avich, Ana Castillo and Chelsea Glass all reside. The three friends, alongside many other members of the community, voluntarily began to crowdfund and get involved in the relief efforts. Their days and weeks were spent purchasing and delivering supplies to shelters, hospitals, clinics and the homes of individuals in order to provide as much help as possible in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. The initial months with a bit a blur as we did our best to purchase and deliver supplies and medicine, answer calls and emails, attend meetings, raise funds, visit shelters and more. We did our best to keep people, especially donors, informed of our progress and to track our expenses in our effort to be transparent so people knew exactly where each cent was going, which can be seen here.
After receiving over $28,000 USD in donations in less than one month, we slowly began to consider options for using the money in the most ethical and sustainable way possible to offer quality, long-term assistance to those affected by the eruption. In November, with approximately half of the initial funds remaining, Ileana Avich then stepped in to devise a strategic plan in order to turn what began as immediate relief efforts into viable organization and so was born Fundación Fénix.
FUNDS & SUPPLIES FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN ECUADOR: ONGOING
On our trip to Ecuador in September, 2017 we visited a local elementary school in the Cotopaxi region of the country. In an effort to make a measurable and lasting impact, we donated a projector to their technology department so students can learn more through videos, articles, online encyclopedias, etc. to deepen their understanding of the global world we live in! With the left over funds we put together school supplies packets for the 30 students. In March of 2018, we returned with two new printers for the school’s office along with paper and ink cartridges. We also donated art supplies to the school and assisted them in cleaning out their office area and teacher’s room in order to help them improve their organization and make life just a little easier for teachers who are working so hard!
EARTHQUAKE RELIEF IN MEXICO CITY SEPT 2017
Mexico City and surrounding areas, and many parts of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, were both devastated by multiple earthquakes in September of 2017. We donated $400 USD from trip profits from our Dec 2017 México City trip to grassroots organizations working on relief and rebuild efforts. Our girl Dominique, La Mariposa Vagabunda, has put together an incredible project and you can read all about it and how you can get involved here.
CASA FLOR SCHOLARSHIP FUND AUGUST 2017
In August of 2017 we had a fundraising event in Sacramento, CA to raise money for Casa Flor Ixcaco’s efforts to get all of their youth to college! We are so happy to have raised over $1100 and will be taking it down to the community in mid-September! A huge thanks to all the sponsors, donors and attendees!
FLOOD RELIEF IN LIMA, PERÚ MARCH 2017
In March of 2017 the city of Lima, Perú was hit hard by some intense rains which resulted in flooding and destruction, especially on the outskirts of the city where the homes aren’t built to withstand such natural disasters. Our partner down in Lima, Jhony, was doing a fundraiser and we decided to get involved and were able to send down over $400 dollars to the cause. Thanks to our amazing donors!
HURRICANE HARVEY RELIEF SEPT 2017
Our hearts were heavy for all of those affected by Hurricane Harvey, especially in Houston, TX. We ran a promotional period where we donated $25 per trip registration to the nonprofit organization, Yellow Boots, which provides disaster relief around the U.S. and were able to send them $175.