2019 Third and Fourth Quarter Newsletter

Dear Family, Friends, and Supporters:

I hope you all are enjoying the Holiday Season. As always, I am excited to report the Maria Lida Foundation’s progress since my last newsletter, so let’s get to it!

English Courses

In September, the Maria Lida Foundation launched its Third Cohort of students for its English program. This cohort includes several students who work at the Nariz del Diablo train station which is very exciting! It also includes a student who travels hours to attend class. This shows us that there is a sustained demand for our English classes, and we are so grateful to all who have supported this initiative!

Thanks to our supporters, we have provided English classes to approximately 60 students and given over 250 hours of instruction! We look forward to continuing to provide English courses to adults in the community to help them obtain jobs or enhance the tourism industry in Alausí, Ecuador!

Many thanks to our Board of Directors, English professors, and students for helping to make the Maria Lida Foundation’s English program successful. I pray that this program continues to positively impact the community of Alausí, Ecuador!

New Program Director  

In July 2019, our first Program Director, Ryan, completed his six-month commitment to the Foundation and transitioned on to graduate school. Ryan, thank you very much for your hard work and many contributions to the Maria Lida Foundation as its first Program Director! The Foundation has greatly benefited from your efforts including piloting the Program Director position, enhancing the English program, maintaining and developing relationships in Ecuador, conducting market research on how we could empower business owners, collecting data on the tourism industry in Alausí, promoting tourism in Alausí, and creating processes for reporting mechanisms. Your contributions have undoubtedly impacted the Foundation and the community of Alausí!

With Ryan’s transition, we recruited a new Program Director, Jorge, who began work in September. Jorge brings a wealth of knowledge and experience related to international development. He received his bachelor’s degree in International and Latin American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In addition, he received his master’s degree in International Development and Humanitarian Assistance from New York University. Jorge has extensive experience in social entrepreneurship, community development, international sustainable development, humanitarian assistance, and project management. He is a native of Ecuador, a dual citizen of Ecuador and the United States, and bilingual in English and Spanish.

When we asked Jorge why he wanted to work with the Maria Lida Foundation, he said:

having the opportunity to work and serve vulnerable communities in Ecuador to promote socioeconomic development in Alausí is a mission with a special place in my heart. Investing in communities by implementing educational programs is key to catalyze change and promote a newer way of innovating based on the principle of empathy.

Jorge, welcome to the team! We are very excited to have you on board and know that your work will greatly and positively impact the city of Alausí and the country of Ecuador!

Board President and Vice President Visit to Ecuador

Our President, Patrick, and Vice President, Rosemary, traveled to Ecuador the past few months. During their visits, they helped assemble and on board our Ecuadorian team including attorneys, accountant, and new Program Director. In addition, they met with our students, teachers, government officials, and local business owners.

Patrick and Rosemary, thank you very much for visiting Ecuador and your vast contributions to the Maria Lida Foundation!

Upcoming Website Launch 

I’m excited to share that our team is now working hard to launch a new website with the purpose of promoting the wonderful Alausí, Ecuador to international tourists! There currently is little comprehensive information in English online regarding Alausí. If Alausí is promoted more to international tourists, the area’s tourism industry will grow. If Alausí’s tourism industry grows, it will increase the area’s standard of living. We are thrilled to use this platform to display all of the things tourists can enjoy in Alausí such as its rich history, culture, food, and unique experiences. We expect the website to go live soon, so please stay tuned for updates!

Ecuador News 

As you may know, Ecuador recently experienced some political unrest due to the cancellation of fuel subsidies that had been in place for many years. Some citizens protested their cancellation and the Ecuadorian Government eventually reinstated them. While it is unfortunate that some of these events occurred, democracy eventually created a solution to the problem. The protests demonstrate that many people in Ecuador are concerned for their financial well-being, and there is a need for economic development in the area, including Alausí.

Many thanks to our Ecuadorian team for continuing to operate during this time. Their perseverance demonstrates their deep dedication to our mission and the community of Alausí. Please continue to pray for the people of Alausí and Ecuador, our team, and our mission.

We Appreciate Your Support

We greatly appreciate your support and want to highlight a student from our English Program. Her name is Katy, and she works at a tourist shop at the local Nariz del Diablo train station in Alausí. She enrolled in our English classes to enhance communication with international tourists, provide better customer service, and increase her sales.

The Maria Lida Foundation cannot provide its services such as its English Classes in Alausí, Ecuador without the financial support of our partners. If you would like to partner with us and contribute to the Maria Lida Foundation, you may do so online at:

Monthly Pledge: http://bit.ly/2DA5CLJ

One-Time Donation:  http://bit.ly/2OG0MD0

$25 provides tutoring sessions for an English class student 

$50 provides book materials for an English class 

$100 sends a student to an English class 

$500 sends a student through our entire English class program

The Maria Lida Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, donations to which may be deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

Thank You

As always, thank you all very much for your interest and support of the Maria Lida Foundation! I wish you a Happy and Blessed Holiday Season and look forward to sharing our progress in 2020!


Shannon Turner