Honduran children playing marbles.

2016 : A look back

At TWP our mission is to help communities protect, conserve, and manage their natural resources. In 2016, we improved the lives of even more families with your support.

Dear Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to greet you as Trees, Water & People’s (TWP) new Executive Director — the second in the history of this great organization, but certainly not the last!

My 12 years with TWP’s International Program have given me a unique perspective on the complexity of our work, and also the simple ingredients that have made us successful. The primary ingredient is trust. Without your trust, or the affinity and rapport we’ve built with our partners, we couldn’t accomplish even a fraction of the programs we carry out.

As you read through our 2016 Annual Report, remember that beyond the numbers and pie charts that quantify TWP’s work, there are deep stories of empathy, solidarity, sacrifice, and hustle that characterize our approach to creating a more just and sustainable global community.

One story we’ve chosen to share is of the process TWP undertook to build a model earthen home for the family of Paul and Emily Shields. It was a collaborative effort to find a dignified, sustainable, and affordable housing solution for families of the Lakota Nation in South Dakota.

Another story is of Honduran community leader, Doña Norma Araceli Joyas , who has volunteered her time with TWP and our local partner, CEASO, to strengthen local farmers’ resilience in the face of climate change. Despite a family tragedy, she continues to “plant hope” for her family, community, and future generations.

We are now in our 20th year of operations. On behalf of TWP’s staff, partners and beneficiaries, please enjoy our annual report, and accept my sincere thanks for believing in the importance of our work, and for sharing our message with your friends, family, and colleagues.


Sebastian Africano signature

Sebastian Africano
Executive Director

Planting Hope in Honduras

Norma Araceli Joyas is a fighter, a leader, and a visionary. Since Trees, Water & People began its relationship with our local Honduran partner, CEASO, Norma´s effort in the community of La Tigra has been a crucial part of TWP’s projects in the Montecillos corridor. She volunteers her time as the head nursery manager distributing tree seedlings to local farmers. She knows that this work will help keep their local environment healthy and more resilient in the face of climate change.

Despite her success in the community, Norma has faced challenges: she and her family were on the cusp of achieving their dream of a owning a home of their own when that dream literally went up in flames. Tragically, a fire burned her home to the ground.

Norma and her family are now living in her sister’s house, working towards rebuilding their dream home. In the meantime, TWP Tours volunteers helped install a clean cookstove in her sister’s house. This stove has reduced the amount of fuelwood needed to cook their meals. Having this cookstove means Norma now spends less time collecting firewood, which has allowed her to spend more time with her family and more time leading her community as the president of the town council.

Even though Norma has faced struggles and challenges, she remains dedicated and motivated to lead her community, empowered by work with CEASO and TWP towards a dynamic, diverse, and robust future in agroforestry and sustainable agriculture. Norma has received training through the TWP-CEASO collaboration on how to graft fruit trees. This has been an important step in strengthening the food security of her town and to diversify local farmers’ crops to better withstand a changing climate.

The trees in Norma´s community nursery are always the strongest, tallest, and most robust of all the nurseries that CEASO supports. This is a testament to Norma´s strength and sheer will to improve the lives of her family and her fellow community members.

2016 Financial Report


Public Support* $675,047
Corporate Support $62,025
Foundation Support $237,507
Fees for Services $14,000
Interest Income $6,196
Bequest Income $11,147
Unrealized Gain/Loss on Assets $8,714
Total Cash Revenues $1,014,636
Donated/Volunteer Services $131,841
Total $1,146,477
*includes individual giving, ecotours, and miscellaneous income


International Program $520,139
El Salvador $45,907
Guatemala $84,746
Haiti $10,930
Honduras $105,921
Nicaragua $272,635
National Program $237,686
Support Services $149,093
Fundraising $49,897
Total Cash Expenses $956,815
Donated/Volunteer Services $131,841
Total $1,088,656
Net Assets at End of Year $967,371

2016 Revenue

2016 Expenses

We strive to be responsible with every gift we receive, putting your dollars to work where they are needed most. We encourage our donors to explore our profiles on these independent, third-party review sites

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Planting trees on Pine Ridge.

Making a House a Home on Pine Ridge

In June of 2016, Trees, Water & People, Henry Red Cloud of Lakota Solar Enterprises, the Shields/ Peltier Family and friends, completed a Compressed Earth Block (CEB) home for the Shields/Peltiers on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

We the Shields/Peltier Family, would like to say a big thank you to all the helping hands who built such a wonderful, blessed house for our children. We are all so very thankful and blessed to call this a home of our own. Before moving into our CEB home, we didn’t have a working shower in the trailer we were renting. The children would sometimes go a few days without showering. Since there was no running water, we had to use a garden hose and fix it up to the kitchen sink and use it to flush the toilet bowl. I sometimes had to hand-wash our clothing because we didn’t have a washer or dryer.

In the trailer, the walls were full of holes and the floor was caving in. It had a lot of rodents, bedbugs, and mice throughout the house. All the windows were covered with plastic due to them being broken out. We had problems with the outlets, only a few of them were working. We would have to unplug some things to be able to plug in heaters to warm the trailer. We all slept in one room just to keep warm, which was the living room.

Now our children have a room of their own and can take showers when they want. The children now have clean clothes and can get a good night’s sleep; they don’t have to worry about bedbugs and getting bitten up throughout the night, or worry about mice getting into our food. We don’t have to put up with all that anymore! We are all very thankful to Trees, Water & People, Henry Red Cloud and all those who helped with this home we can call ours, here on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

With blessings and a big thank you,

The Shields/Peltier Family

The family faced tragedy in January of 2017 when Paul Shields passed away suddenly. Still, Emily and their three girls are grateful to be living in a home of their own

Paul Shields and his family

2016 Accomplishments

A special heartfelt thank you to all of our donors, supporters, partners, and volunteers that have provided their generous financial support, hard work, wisdom and advice that makes all of our projects possible!

All that we have accomplished is because of you!



tree seedlings of twenty varieties planted



tree nurseries stated in Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador

pine tree


Ponderosa Pine seedlings planted on Lakota Tribal Lands in South Dakota



clean cookstoves installed in three indigenous communities of Guatemala

house with leave coming out of chimney


compressed earth block home built for a Lakota Family



solar air furnaces and a mobile solar power station delivered to the communities impacted by the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, ND

man with shovel

Launched partnerships for farmer education programs in Honduras, Cuba, and Nicaragua