Trees, Water & People receives another 4-star rating from Charity Navigator!

Sebastian Africano, Executive Director and Gemara Gifford, International Director pose with Doña Norma in front of a community-operated tree nursery in the community of La Tigra in Honduras.

For the third consecutive year we earned a coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, which demonstrates our strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency. 

The devastating events of the past year and the economic hardship the world is facing have hit the non-profit sector hard, forcing our organization to adapt, re-think, strategize and get creative. Through it all, our donors have stuck with us, as we recognize that the communities we serve need us the most at this moment.

We have spent the last 23 years working and advocating for some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, and have come to a crucial moment in which we need to step up in a big way. As we continue to work towards our goals during these trying times, being able to present our loyal donors with tangible and quantifiable results is crucial.  

In a letter to Trees, Water & People, Charity Navigator President Michael Thatcher wrote: “This is our highest possible rating and indicates that your organization adheres to sector best practices and executes its mission in a financially efficient way.” 

We are honored by this acknowledgement that we couldn’t achieve without our supporters, and thank you profusely for your trust in TWP. 

Check out our profile to learn more!

Charity Navigator has evaluated more than 160K U.S. based charities to highlight the work of efficient and transparent organizations and “show charitable givers / social investors how efficiently  a charity will use their support today, how well it has sustained its programs and services over time, and their level of commitment to good governance, best practices, and openness with information”.

Donors Speak: Bonnie Power

Bonnie Power


by Bonnie Power, TWP Donor and Evergreeen Circle Member

Several years ago, I read a news article indicating that South Dakota had some of the poorest counties in the entire United States. I decided I wanted to do something that would make a difference there. Previously, I had contributed to the support of children through Save the Children in Nepal and Greece, and my husband had contributed through a similar program to support a child on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. When I found out that there was no longer any such program helping children in South Dakota, I did an internet search and found Trees, Water & People (TWP).

As a member of the Evergreen Circle, I make a monthly donation to Trees, Water & People. Because of their high charity rating, I have encouraged friends and family to give, as well. When I have occasions where we want to do something in lieu of gifts (holidays and the like), I suggest contributions to TWP.

I like the personal reach of supporting Trees, Water & People – that my monthly check is translated directly into solar heaters, cookstoves, and tree nurseries that make an immediate difference on a small scale in real people’s lives. This has been my general pattern of charity much of my life: Trying to make a difference at a close distance.

Donors Speak: Side by Side in Guatemala

By Dale Dow and Vern Delk, Trees, Water & People Donors

Why do donors give to our projects? This testimonial from long-time supporters Dale Dow and Vern Delk answers this question beautifully:

We first met Stuart Conway, Trees, Water & People cofounder and his wife, Jenny, in Miami in 1984, as we were preparing for our Peace Corps service in Guatemala. Naturally, we were in contact with them over the next two years. This was especially true with Vern and Jenny, as they were in the same program
as 4-H Promoters. Stuart was in the forestry program and got a first-hand view of the deforestation and general lack of reforestation in Central America, especially Guatemala. Dale was with public health, working as a nurse in a dispensary in our village. One of the primary programs in Guatemala was providing more efficient stoves, both for better cooking conditions and to prevent continued overuse of firewood leading to more deforestation.

We returned to the states in 1986, resuming a life quite altered by the experience. Guatemala will always be our second country. We have stayed in contact with Stuart and Jenny ever since, as much as the distance allows. One of these days, we hope to go on an EcoTour as a good excuse to revisit Guatemala.

When Stuart and Jenny started Trees, Water & People (TWP) in 1998 based on their work in Central America, emphasizing reforestation and fuel-efficient stoves, we jumped on board with financial support. Over the years, our contributions have fluctuated somewhat ranging from $200 to $1,000. This year, we have started a monthly pledge of $50 so that TWP will receive a steady amount (also it makes it easier for us). This of course doesn’t preclude special emergency appeals such as Hurricane Mitch in 1998 or the more recent earthquake in Haiti.

Our Peace Corps experience showed us the need for reforestation and fuel-efficient stoves in Central America. Working side by side with Stuart and Jenny in Guatemala insured us of the integrity and ability of the founders. The many awards that Trees, Water & People has received reinforce our belief that the credibility and efficiency of the program is topnotch.

Are you interested in becoming a monthly donor to Trees, Water & People? Click here to learn how.