Educational Institutions

AMERICAN PILGRIMS ON THE CAMINO

  • Olympia, WA
  • www.americanpilgrims.org

Mission Statement

The mission of American Pilgrims on the Camino is to foster the enduring tradition of the Camino de Santiago by supporting its infrastructure, by gathering pilgrims together, and by providing information and encouragement to past and future pilgrims.

Main Programs

  1. Camino de Santiago Credential Program
  2. Camino de Santiago Annual Gathering
  3. Camino de Santiago Hospitalero Training
  4. Camino de Santiago Grant Program
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

American Pilgrims on the Camino supports all European routes traveled by foot, bicycle or horseback that lead to the Santiago de Compostela in Spain. An annual national gathering provides information and encouragement to past and future pilgrims. Local chapters around the United States allow for additional events for pilgrims.

ruling year

2005

Chairman

Self-reported

Cheryl Grasmoen

Keywords

Self-reported

pilgrim, pilgrimage, Camino de Santiago, Spain

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EIN

01-0725409

 Number

5075355664

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (B01)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

The mission of American Pilgrims on the Camino is: to foster the enduring tradition of the Camino by supporting its infrastructure, by gathering pilgrims together, and by providing information and encouragement to past and future pilgrims.

Our Programs have supported the Camino de Santiago infrastructure through our grants program which has benefited infrastructure in Spain, Portugal and France. Our annual gathering, training programs and regional chapter events gather past and future pilgrims together. Our website, newsletter and Facebook group provide information to all pilgrims.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Camino de Santiago Credential Program

American Pilgrims on the Camino is pleased to provide credentials authorized by the Pilgrims Office in Santiago de Compostela. We are able to fill credential requests at no charge to individuals, families and small groups requesting up to 10 credentials total.

While on their journey along the Camino de Santiago, pilgrims carry a credential (credencial), a document with which the pilgrim authenticates his or her progress by obtaining sellos (stamps) along the way. Sellos can be obtained at most hotels and inns, restaurants, bars, churches, museums, city halls, police stations and at all albergues.

Category

Population(s) Served

Adults

None

Budget

10,000

Program 2

Camino de Santiago Annual Gathering

American Pilgrims on the Camino hosts an annual Gathering of Camino de Santiago Pilgrims. These events provide information about the Camino and offer encouragement to pilgrims.

Category

Population(s) Served

Adults

None

Budget

54,000

Program 3

Camino de Santiago Hospitalero Training

American Pilgrims on the Camino offers local and national training programs for individuals who have walked the Camino de Santiago and now desire to provide support to pilgrims by working in albergues on the pilgrimage route.

Category

Population(s) Served

Adults

None

Budget

20,000

Program 4

Camino de Santiago Grant Program

American Pilgrims on the Camino offers grants in two categories:
1. Infrastructure grants are for projects whose aim is to develop and improve the infrastructure of the Camino de Santiago. These are typically made to albergues or to organizations that work to further develop the infrastructure of the Camino in Spain.
2. Gathering, information and encouragement grants are made to groups/organizations in North America that need support to organize and hold regional events that bring together past and future pilgrims with the aim of informing, promoting and encouraging people who would like to experience or have experienced the Camino de Santiago.

Category

Population(s) Served

Adults

None

Budget

40,000

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The mission of American Pilgrims on the Camino is: to foster the enduring tradition of the Camino by supporting its infrastructure, by gathering pilgrims together, and by providing information and encouragement to past and future pilgrims.

    The Camino de Santiago is an ancient pilgrimage route across Europe, culminating at the Cathedral of St. James the Apostle in the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela, where it is believed the bones of the martyred apostle are buried. First traveled by pilgrims in the Middle Ages, the Camino was little used from the time of the Reformation until about 30 years ago, when the old route was revived, and pilgrims began to walk again. A record number of pilgrims (262,500) completed the Camino in 2015, including a record number of Americans (13,700, or 10% of the total). Among modern pilgrims, some make the journey for religious or spiritual reasons, others to experience Camino history and culture, and yet others simply like the physical challenge of a long walk. Slowing your pace to that of foot travelers of centuries past serves many as an antidote to frenetic 21st century lifestyles.

    American Pilgrims on the Camino (American Pilgrims) programs serve the community of pilgrims, which includes people who travel the Camino, those who aspire to travel the Camino, and those who help them along the way. Our intent is to foster a community that informs and supports past, current, and future pilgrims and that creates ambassadors and stewards for the route. It is our intent that by supplying opportunities for pilgrims to come together – whether in the spirit of learning about the Camino, volunteering, or visiting one of our hosted forums – American Pilgrims will be associated with quality information and service to the Camino. We are the primary U.S. organization from which prospective pilgrims gather information for their pilgrimage.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    American Pilgrims supports several avenues to facilitate communication between those who have completed the pilgrimage and those who wish to. Each spring we hold a large Gathering where attendees come to share and learn about different aspects of the Camino and Camino life, including historical information, practical route information, and training advice. American Pilgrims supports official regional chapters in communities across the United States, where pilgrims exchange information and train together. At the end of 2015, 35 chapters were active throughout the country.

    The association's quarterly newsletter, La Concha, features articles, photographs, and other information submitted by members and organizational updates. Member submissions are a way that returning pilgrims process their experiences and engage other pilgrims. The American Pilgrims-sponsored Facebook group provides information to the wider community of people interested in the Camino and is an active platform for discussions related to the route, such as local economy, history, language, food, etc. At the end of 2015, the group has about 12,000 members.

    The Camino Credential, the document all pilgrims must carry to identify themselves as pilgrims, is given to pilgrims by American Pilgrims free of charge – the only organization worldwide not to charge a fee for this document. In 2015, we provided about 6,500 credentials.

    American Pilgrims pursues relationships with international organizations that promote and preserve the Camino. Joining with Camino support organizations from other countries American Pilgrims support the people who walk the Camino and the infrastructure of the Camino itself. Providing grant funding to local organizations, primarily albergues (hostels) supports the infrastructure and helps build greater Camino community, which increases our impact and benefit to the Camino.

    American Pilgrims actively supports programs and opportunities for members to participate in, whether at home or on the Camino. These include the chapters and volunteer opportunities at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago and other opportunities to volunteer along the Camino, as well as training for people to serve as hospitaleros (hosts) at the albergues. Many members come back from their experience looking for ways to give something back to an ideal, a place, and an adventure that has affected them significantly.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    American Pilgrims has been in existence since 2003. Our greatest asset is our members, including both a core of dedicated members who have been with the organization from the beginning and many new, enthusiastic members who have joined us in recent years. An 10-member Board of Directors gives hands-on direction to the organization; ours is a working Board in addition to one that sets policy. In the past two years our membership has more than doubled, including international members. Participation in our Facebook page has increased almost tenfold. Our regional chapters connect with local pilgrim through meet-up groups, hosted talks, hikes, and other events that members and nonmembers may attend.

    American Pilgrims' connections to and support of other organizations has contributed greatly to our mission of providing information and encouragement. Both a Camino documentary film and a university pilgrimage studies program received grant awards from American Pilgrims and have been strong and vocal supporters of our mission and our organization. Increased membership and donations to the organization have enabled us to award more infrastructure grants to worthy projects. These projects are tangible evidence of the difference American Pilgrims makes to the Camino, local economies, and facilities along the way, and member feedback about these projects has been positive.

    Through American Pilgrims, Americans have more presence on the Camino, and in 2015 ranked among the top four nationalities of those completing the Camino, including Spaniards. While still smaller in number than Italy and Germany, Americans are demonstrating that the experience of the Camino is important, and American Pilgrims has actively sought local partnerships in Spain and cultivated meaningful relationships with secular and non-secular groups to increase American participation.

    Our organization has sought out and developed a range of volunteer opportunities for members. A well-established and highly developed training course prepares those wishing to serve as hospitaleros at local albergues along Camino routes. This training allows American seeking these opportunities to know what to expect and how to comport themselves in these positions. American pilgrims trainees are often praised for their abilities as hospitaleros.

    One of our board positions deals exclusively with external relations and works with counterparts and regional organizations in other countries to identify and support projects that are beneficial to the Camino and that may provide volunteer opportunities for our members.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    American Pilgrims on the Camino is governed by its by-laws, written policies, and a strategic plan that is updated regularly to address changing realities. The Board of Directors annually reviews progress made toward measurements contained in our strategic plan. An annual report to the membership is presented by the Board each year at the National Gathering.

    Measuring our progress against the goals in the strategic plan is a key measure of our success. Our current strategic plan set forth three key goals. The first is to hire administrative assistance to relieve Board members of the tasks associated with increased and rapidly growing membership. Starting in 2014, OrgSupport of Olympia, Washington has been handling many of the administrative tasks that keep our organization going, such as fulfillment of credential requests. Another goal was to organize additional volunteer opportunities for members. We helped provide American volunteers at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago through the Amigos Program, which operated for several years, and we continue to inform our members of volunteer opportunities in the successor program. A third priority was to upgrade our website. The update was rolled out in 2015.

    Additionally, American Pilgrims measures its effectiveness through the number of memberships in the organization. The organization has grown from 483 members in 2012 to almost 2400 at the end of 2015. From one regional chapter in 2010, we have grown to 35 and seen dynamic growth in regions where chapters are present. Another measure of success is the number of individuals being trained and placed as hospitaleros, as well as the number of people who volunteer at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago

    A future indicator of our success will be how closely the number of Americans arriving in Santiago aligns with the number of credentials we distribute each year. We are, and will continue to be, active in our social media outlets, letting non-members know of the services we provide and joining with them to promote and research the Camino and its history.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    We continue to fulfill our mission, but also recognize and list below other areas in which we must continue to expand.

    Gathering pilgrims together is a key part of our mission. Attendance at our annual Gathering has increased to the point that we need to examine the current model and see what future accommodations to make so that it continues to be a meaningful experience. Chapter participation is a way for pilgrims to gather locally, and we will explore other options as well.

    Supporting the Camino infrastructure is one of the pillars of our mission, and grant awards have grown over the past five years. Funding levels in year five of the Grants Program were triple what they were in year one. Expanding the reach of publicity about the American Pilgrims Grant Program will increase the level of participation in the program, as well as the quality of grant applications.

    Seeking more ways for member involvement is an ongoing goal and underscores how American Pilgrims provides information and encouragement to pilgrims. Hospitalero training continues as an integral program. Holding this training more often and in more locations will allow more people to participate. Increasing our pool of trainers will allow us to involve more people. The quarterly newsletter, La Concha, engages members to submit information and experience a variety of shared stories, travel tips, recipes, art, and photos. Continuing to develop relationships with international Camino support organizations like ours is part of a long-term strategy to find joint projects and programs. Working with Camino organizations and government agencies in the countries through which the Camino passes increases our knowledge of other Camino routes that our members might travel.

    Increased visibility for the Camino and the organization will allow us to better fulfill our mission and recruit and retain members. Two recent films have increased awareness of the Camino and made our organization much more visible. The organization needs to continue to seek other ways to diversify our exposure.

    Diversifying our membership, especially in age and ethnicity, is another long-range goal. We are seeking ways to attract younger people to the Camino and the organization, and we hope to attract a more diverse membership in future. National Gatherings, regional events, and participation in academic presentations can help in this regard. Active use of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube reaches out to many segments of the population.

    One of our major long-term goals has been to transition away from having all of the programs and functions of the organization handled exclusively by Board members. The decision to hire a firm to handle administrative tasks improves efficiency, allows the Board to focus more on policy and long-term decision-making, and makes Board service more attractive.
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

American Pilgrims on the Camino supports all European routes traveled by foot, bicycle or horseback that lead to the Santiago de Compostela in Spain. An annual national gathering provides information and encouragement to past and future pilgrims. Local chapters around the United States allow for additional events for pilgrims.

Social Media

Funding Needs

Our priority needs are: 1) to fund a successful Gathering of American Pilgrims and provided hospitalero training as sought by members so they can volunteer at albergues on the Camino 2) to provide grants to improve the Camino 3)to provide credential at no cost to pilgrims

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

AMERICAN PILGRIMS ON THE CAMINO
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

AMERICAN PILGRIMS ON THE CAMINO

Leadership

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Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Chairman

Cheryl Grasmoen

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Cheryl Grasmoen

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

Gender
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Volunteers.
Race & Ethnicity
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members.
Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members.

Disability

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members.

Diversity Strategies
No
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
No
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
No
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
No
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
No
We have a diversity committee in place
No
We have a diversity manager in place
No
We have a diversity plan
No
We use other methods to support diversity