Community Assistance Program (CAP)


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Community Assistance Program (CAP)

CAP is Hearts of Gold’s primary platform to partner with community-based nonprofit organizations in Ecuador for capacity building.

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The Community Assistance Program (CAP) represents the fundamental services of Hearts of Gold. This program supports grassroots organizations, helps them to survive and ultimately thrive in a tumultuous economic and political landscape.  The CAP’s current objectives are to:

Short Term Objectives:

Empower the staff of partner organizations through intensive skills-building training sessions;
Cultivate a community of nonprofits through Directors Dialogues;
Provide immediate resources needed to assist Partner Organizations and the at-risk populations they serve with a focus on nutrition, education and health care;
Monitor progress of each Partner Organization through Quarterly and Annual Evaluations that track their change in level of membership until exit from the CAP;

Long Term Objectives:

Encourage the sustainability and independence of each Partner or Project within 3-5 years of engagement;
Build an active association of nonprofits entities throughout Ecuador;
Improve and strengthen the quality of life in marginalized communities and for at-risk youth.

Our Approach  

Hearts of Gold offers comprehensive, complementary facilitation services through our Community Assistance Program. These services are specifically designed for the Partnering Organization’s needs. The CAP operates through a two-prong approach: Organizational Services and Knowledge & Skills Transfer.
1. The Organizational Services we provide assists Partners in basic technical tasks of nonprofit operation. We believe that by utilizing our strengths in fundraising, marketing, and legal reporting our Partners can focus on their own Mission and Direct Services. Hearts of Gold’s active engagement in organizational services depends on the specific needs of each Partner, and can include program collaboration, program evaluation, marketing, fundraising, donor management, and fund distribution. Because of our official foundation status in Ecuador, our Partners can operate under our umbrella which enables them to follow federal regulations and requirements.
2. The Knowledge and Skills Transfer portion of the CAP is designed to empower Partners and encourage their independence from Hearts of Gold. We believe that if Partners receive training in critical areas of operation, they have better opportunities to become sustainable independent organizations. With this vision, Hearts of Gold designs and hosts bi-monthly training sessions to suit the specific skill-building needs of our partners. We also host Directors Dialogues every other month to encourage an active network of nonprofits who can share their challenges, knowledge, skills, and solutions.

Our Partners and Projects of 2016

The Hearts of Gold Foundation partners with small nonprofits and grassroots organizations that work in marginalized communities in Ecuador. We believe in empowering communities from within, by strengthening the leaders of the nonprofits. Whether they serve their communities through programs of nutrition, education, public health, housing, or disaster relief, we believe our partners have the capacity to grow and move forward as independent organizations. Current partners in the Community Assistance Program include:
CETAP-Lucy: An organization dedicated to the well-being of 35 children in the rural community of Chilcapamba. It provides pre-school programs, after-school programs, various disability and trauma therapy programs, sexual education courses, and individual and family counseling.
La Fundación El Arenal: A foundation serving 84 children and adolescents from one of the poorest sectors of Cuenca.  It features an after-school program, an educative counseling program, and also a nutritional lunch program. El Arenal is a safe haven for many children whose families work long days in marketing booths in the Feria Libre, the city’s largest “mercado.” Most children and families who rely on services from El Arenal are rural, indigenous migrants who come to the mercado to sell their wares.
NOVA Educational Center: An inclusion school where special needs children and normal children are educated together, fostering acceptance and compassion between children. Special needs students also receive Special Courses to help cultivate their independence and personal growth. In addition they participate in creative therapies, such as horse therapy.
Mikhuna Food Bank: The first official food bank in the Azuay province. The Mikhuna Food Bank opened its doors in 2015. It serves 500 families from the lowest economic sector of Azuay  through programs to improve diets and eliminate malnutrition. Mikhuna also played a leadership role in response to the April 2016 earthquake, generously gathered and delivered Family Emergency Kits to the Manabi and Esmeraldas coastal provinces.
Language Integration Program (LIP): Hearts of Gold Volunteers teach free English classes to young Ecuadorians. In exchange, the Municipality of Cuenca offers complimentary Spanish classes and cultural excursions to expats.  In its Pilot Year (2015-2016), the Language Integration Program took place at 8 Cultural Centers in Cuenca. LIP provides two 1.5 hour classes per week to over 200 children. This program, the first of its kind in Cuenca, pioneers a new way to foster relationships between Ecuadorians and the expanding Expat community.
Proyecto Samán: A collective from Cuenca is working to establish a temporary, sustainable and eco-conscious earthquake relief camp. 200 individuals receive shelter and security for 2 years following the April 2016 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated the Ecuadorian coast. The camp is being built to internationally-recognized “Sphere Standards.” It features sanitation and water treatment technologies, a community kitchen, showers, compost toilets, a central community space, medical attention, and long-term relief tents to house the population. Everything is built to contemporary environmentally sound and sustainable standards. Proyecto Samán is more than housing, it is a means to strengthen communities and rebuild daily livelihoods.
Hogar de Esperanza: This HIV center for support and temporary housing is a welcoming environment where individuals receive dignified support and social services. It is also a temporary shelter where patients and their families can sleep while in treatment at the hospital in Cuenca. Individuals and their families can gather at the center to enjoy time together, receive education about treatment and long-term care, and receive social and emotional support from staff and volunteers.
The Japa Housing Project: A volunteer-driven effort to build a house for the Japa family, whose children attend CETAP-Lucy. The Japa family lived in informal housing without access to water and electricity. This effort provides the family with land rights and secure housing with an environment for the children to develop.
The Ecuador Earthquake Relief Project (Housing for Portoviejo City): The housing project is a collective effort from an architecture firm in Ecuador and organizers in the U.S. to design and build 8 homes for victims of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake of April 2016. The housing project evaluated the families in greatest need in Portoviejo and works with the local government to ensure land rights and needs of the families are met.


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