PLATINUM2023

Project Schoolhouse

Building Foundations for Brighter Futures

aka Educational Programs for the International Community   |   Austin, TX   |  www.projectschoolhouse.org

Mission

With an emphasis on community-building and local volunteer participation, Project Schoolhouse partners with recipient communities to build new schools, provide clean water, improve sanitation, and help students continue their educations. The typical partner community is rural, lacks clean water and electricity, and lives far from a traversable road. Our in-country team has the patience and expertise necessary to solve the logistical challenges inherent in working in some of the most remote communities in Nicaragua. Responding strictly to voiced need, we work with communities that have identified both the problems they want to solve and the solutions to fix them. Our purpose is to facilitate projects that have real grassroots support and local buy-in that result in sustainable progress.

Ruling year info

2004

Executive Director

Selina Serna

Main address

PO Box 163701

Austin, TX 78716-3701 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-1705489

NTEE code info

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

Rural (S32)

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In rural Nicaragua where we work, the vast majority of communities have no access to safe water or adequate school buildings. Families drink from surface water that is contaminated and often causes endemic health issues. In addition, functioning latrines are not commonplace, as families typically use uncovered, overflowing holes in the ground or resort to open defecation. This burden disproportionately affects women and children as they are often tasked with collecting water from remote drainage ditches and streams. When Project Schoolhouse responds to a community's request for support, we commit to leaving families empowered with their own in-home improved water source, and sanitary latrine and a functional school building for their children. With these basic facilities secured, women will have more time to pursue occupational ambitions outside of the home, while children are able to attend school consistently and spend a sufficient amount of time preparing for their future.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Constructing Elementary Schools

Project Schoolhouse helps communities build schools. We work in places where a new school could be the first structure ever built from concrete. It serves as the heart of the community and represents a place of learning and community gatherings. A new school can be a source of enormous community pride.

In communities where we work, existing schools are ramshackle affairs. They are small, old, leaky, wet, and dirty. Often 40 or so children will be crammed into a building no larger than an average bedroom in the USA. When it rains, water enters the classroom, turns the dirt floor to mud, and completely disrupts the learning process.

Students and teachers distracted by mud, rain, and overcrowding find it difficult to do their jobs of learning and teaching. Dry, secure, spacious classroom environments greatly benefit developing communities and can mean the difference between learning or not.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Project Schoolhouse helps communities build safe water and sanitation systems. The spring-fed, gravity-flow water systems connect to every home, classroom, and public space in the community. Each of our school and water projects includes providing latrines to the school and each home in the community.

There are enormous economic, educational, and health benefits to a community in having access to safe water in the home. Water-borne illnesses are virtually eliminated and the time given back to girls and women, in particular, is profound.

Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 432,000 diarrheal deaths annually and also contributes to malnutrition, increased risk of sexual assault, and lost educational opportunities. Providing latrines promotes dignity and safety, particularly among women and girls.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of people with improved water access

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of communities provided clean water

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of schools built

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Related Program

Constructing Elementary Schools

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Project Schoolhouse collaborates with families of Nicaraguan rural communities to build improved school, water and sanitation infrastructure. Our financial contributions source local supplies and technical expertise, while communities volunteer all of the labor to bring clean water and latrines to every home, and build an elementary school for each child. With a sustained focus on fundraising and partnership, we aim to increase the number of projects completed each year. Additionally, we are collaborating with community volunteers to implement programs aimed at addressing child learning gaps and encourage school retention through provision of enrichment opportunities in the primary schools.

We have a multi-pronged approach to increasing the provision of clean water, sanitation and educational infrastructure. We are working to increase the level of funding obtained via our own fundraising efforts in various giving channels, expansion of partnerships and sharing of expertise with others interested in learning how to implement gravity-fed water systems. We have also grown our local team to support our school retention initiatives.

Our investment in US fundraising efforts are taking off. We continue to invest in local capacity building to support increased project and program implementation, efficacy and effectiveness. The Project Schoolhouse team is embedded in the communities in which we work, allowing us to quickly scale construction as our funding grows. The community advocacy and building skills that are a direct, positive outcome of each of our prior projects heightens the awareness of our work within the region and adds to the pipeline of future projects.

To date, we have helped 16 communities transform their lives; 2436 people have safe water in their homes and 1900 children study in schools we've helped them build. We are proud of the expansion of our work over the years from single projects in one community annually, to multiple projects in several communities each year. Moving forward, we will stewards and expand partnerships with foundations, organizations and individuals whose funding priorities align with our work, sustaining the growth of these life-changing projects.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection

Financials

Project Schoolhouse
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Project Schoolhouse

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Dennis Passovoy

University of Texas at Austin

Term: 2019 - 2023

Thomas Barker

Selina Serna

JP Kloninger

Gene Bosche

Evan Lambert

Sara Wagner

Kristen Palmer

Alexandra Rodrigues

Abigail Escobar

Angela Salas

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and 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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and 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? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/22/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/22/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.