In A Rocky Economy, Holiday Shoppers Can Combine Gift Buying with Charity to Make Every Dollar Count, Suggests Nonprofit

During one of the hardest economic times in recent memory, it’s easy to forget what the fast approaching holiday season is all about. Is there a way to honor loved ones and the spirit of giving this holiday while on a budget? Roots & Wings International (RWI), a nonprofit that promotes elementary through university education in impoverished coffee-growing communities of rural Guatemala, offers busy holiday shoppers the opportunity to put their gift-purchasing dollars to work.

Shoppers can gift delicious, organic coffee and popular items from while helping the youth of rural Guatemala receive an education and become a catalyst for change in their impoverished, indigenous communities. So far, thanks to donations as little as $1, RWI has provided educational resources and more than 30 university scholarships to youth in need from indigenous Guatemalan families that earn less than $2 per day.

“The poverty rate in Guatemala is one of the highest in Latin America, and our goal is to provide educational opportunities to children in its remote rural communities that comprise 71% of the country’s poor population. We believe that economic development begins with the community and want to empower the local youth in need to meet the unique needs of their indigenous communities,” notes Erik Swanson, President and Founder of RWI. “Each year we receive 50-100 applications for our scholarship program, but are only able to support a handful of students because of limited funding. Our goal is to provide scholarships for degrees in engineering, medicine, computer science, accounting, law and the sciences to grow the skill sets key to local development. Anyone can help, and a little bit goes a long way to help create new doctors, engineers or other highly skilled professionals from the impoverished areas of rural Guatemala. These students will in turn provide services to the communities they live in and bring them closer to the global community.”

RWI has several donation programs including contributing monthly, making a one-time donation, naming a scholarship, corporate gift matching, buying coffee, shopping at Amazon for the cause, volunteering with skills and time and starting a fundraiser. To help the cause, visit  

 About Roots & Wings International (RWI)

RWI was created in 2004 by Erik Swanson, a business attorney at Bullivant Houser Bailey PC, then the director of a high school in rural Guatemala. Thanks to the support of individuals and corporate sponsors, RWI has been able to develop three different programs – University Scholarships, Computer Literacy and After-School Tutoring – to help the students from rural Guatemala work towards the development of their native communities. To help the cause or to learn more, visit, become a Facebook fan, or sign up for RWI’s newsletter

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