This year again we faced a decision point which was whether to continue to exclusively support the Behrhorst Foundation-Guatemala or expand to also fund other Guatemalan programs engaged in primary health care and community development. We chose the latter.
Happily, the indicators of revitalization from Chimaltenango were positive. At our joint board meeting in Chimaltenango, Lic. Marcelino Vasquez, the administrator, proudly presented a financial report showing that the program was operating in the black, with plans for increased cash flow and resources. The atmosphere was celebratory, similar to a graduation, and within that joint meeting, the nearly-spontaneous decision was made to acknowledge BFG as a self-sustaining institution.
The implications of this “graduation,” vis-a-vis our relationship, specifically our funding, was less clear. For some among our board, this now signaled a time in which we could pursue other activities; for others of us, it signaled an end to an interdependent relationship with much potential for growth and expansion.
One of the first actions that our board took was one we had been considering, but now found necessary: to change our name from The Behrhorst Clinic Foundation, Inc. (BCF) to Behrhorst Partners for Development (BPD). With our new name, we wanted to show our graduation, too, from exclusive support for Behrhorst work in Chimaltenango to wider work in Guatemala.
We began by resolving to transform ourselves into a foundation which received grant requests, distributed funds, and provided project supervision. Gloria Zamora did an outstanding job as our on-the-ground coordinator. We funded projects up to $15,000 per grant for undertakings consistent with the Behrhorst approach to health and community development.
Our board’s role as a funding organization was successful from many points of view. Of course, our funds gave a boost to other organizations and also connected us to other projects underway in the highlands of Guatemala. Gloria organized annual project fairs where each of the programs that received BPD funds showcased their projects; these fairs became a means for lively and relevant exchanges of ideas and approaches.
Click the image or text below for a deeper look.
Gloria Zamora’s story in The Behrhorst Ripples, p 46.