Opportunity Tree helps children and youth in Central America improve their lives through education.
How We Work
- We think it’s important to respond to needs expressed by the communities themselves. They are the agents of their own change, and we simply lend a helping hand.
- We don’t believe in reinventing the wheel. We want to work with experienced nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) so that we can accomplish more with our resources.
- Opportunity Tree was run entirely by volunteers for its first decade. We recently decided to hire a program and fundraising consultant, Mikaela Tennis, who served in the Peace Corps in Mexico. We remain a very low-overhead 501(c)3 organization.
Although we didn’t realize it at the time, the seeds for Opportunity Tree were planted in 2008, when the founders went on a trip to Nicaragua to observe a variety of NGOs working there. While we were in Nicaragua, we asked people we met what they most wanted to help their country. We thought they might say clean water or better access to health care, but they had a different idea: education. They believe that their future will be vastly improved by educational opportunity. They know from their own experience that a child who is forced to leave school is almost always destined to a life of subsistence farming, illiteracy, and poverty. An educated child has a ripple effect on many others – and the benefit branches out and will bear fruit for generations to come.
We were moved by the Nicaraguans’ commitment to education and inspired by the realization that a small amount of money can make a significant difference in the lives of young people and their communities. After several years of research and communication with other NGOs, we formed Opportunity Tree in 2011 to lend a hand for positive change by facilitating education opportunities for youth in impoverished areas.