First and Second Quarters | 2022
First and Second Quarters 2022 Newsletter
Dear Supporters:

Greetings from our teams in Ecuador and the United States! I hope that you and your families are staying well during this time. This newsletter will highlight some of our wins and challenges as an organization so far this year.

One of our accomplishments includes hosting a group trip from the West Point Military Academy to Ecuador in May (pictured above). The trip had a positive impact on the economy of Alausí, and we are grateful for the group's participation and willingness for adventure! Another accomplishment is the growth of our English classes. Demand remains strong for this program, which indicates that we are providing a quality service that is much needed in the community.

Our accomplishments have not gone without challenges. For example, Ecuador recently experienced countrywide turmoil and protests by indigenous groups and advocates. Many of the protests began in the Sierra (mountain region) of the country, including Alausí, then spread nationwide. The protests reflected dissatisfaction with several factors, including high fuel prices, quality and availability of healthcare, and use of indigenous lands for oil and mining. Thankfully, a resolution has been reached and there is peace in the country again. However, this did disrupt the country's already struggling economy and tourism industry, and also forced us to cancel our first summer internship in Ecuador.

If I'm honest, at times, the setbacks feel overwhelming. The world has experienced a lot of grief and human suffering the past few years, and it sometimes seems like Ecuador can't catch a break. Lately I have been reflecting upon my entrepreneurship classes and speakers in business school that kindly shared their own struggles of creating and operating a venture. I've found on this journey that there truly are wonderful highs and incredible lows. As hard as you, your team, and the community work, progress is not always linear. It can feel like you take one step forward, then three steps backward. As someone who has perfectionist tendencies, I'm continuing to try to embrace that in difficult times I can only do what is within my control to best mitigate the situation, and leave the rest up to God.

What does bring me great joy and motivation is seeing our work bear fruit in underserved communities. I still believe Alausí and Ecuador have bright futures ahead, and sincerely appreciate your partnership. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for supporting the work we do in Alausí and the country of Ecuador, especially while you too have experienced difficult seasons. I am truly honored that you have donated your time, talent, and treasure to support the Maria Lida Foundation.

God Bless,

Shannon Turner
Founder and CEO

Ecuador Homecoming

It has long been our vision to host trips to Ecuador and Alausí to promote economic development and infuse funds directly into the local economy. In addition, these trips could allow us to earn revenue to help fund our charitable activities and become more self-sustaining as an organization. Unfortunately, due to COVID19 and world events, we had to redirect our activities the past few years including postponing trips with large groups of travelers to Ecuador.

However, we are thrilled to share that in May we hosted a small group of West Point Military graduates in Ecuador! During the trip, travelers enjoyed sightseeing in Quito, Mindo, Alausí, and Cuenca. They also witnessed first hand our work in Alausí. This adventure had a positive impact on the Alausí community, as evidenced by:

  • 13 businesses supported

  • Approximately $3,100 injected directly into Alausi's economy (approximately 7.3 months worth of standard earnings)

  • Approximately 52 people impacted

Here is what some of the travelers had to say about the trip:

"Ecuador is a clean and friendly country, with endlessly beautiful scenery—volcanoes, green hills & valleys, and charming towns."

"A great trip for a great cause!"

Many thanks to our Board President, Patrick O'Neill, for hosting the trip, the West Point travelers for visiting and supporting our work in Ecuador, and our team and partners on the ground in Ecuador for offering a great product to our travelers!

If you are interested in hosting a group trip to or visiting Ecuador, please contact us at
Ryan's ASK Program
(Alausí Scholarships for Kids)
Due to community need, we are continuing our Ryan's Alausí Scholarships for Kids (ASK) initiative. Through this program, we provide tuition scholarships for students to attend the local San Francisco de Sales school. Ryan's ASK is an extension of our ongoing COVID19 relief initiatives in the area, as many parents are unable to afford tuition due to Alausi's struggling economy. It also supports our pillar of using education as a vehicle of economic development in the area.

We are currently fundraising for tuition scholarships for the 2022-2023 school year. If you would like to sponsor a student, please click on the link below:

Photos used with permission.
English Program
As mentioned above, we are happy to share that our English program is growing! To meet increasing demand, we are currently hosting two English cohorts simultaneously. Our current English classes are being held virtually. However, we plan to launch our next cohort in person and are very excited to return to in class learning!

We continue to work hard to provide a quality product to the community by intentionally hosting smaller classes to achieve a lower student to teacher ratio. Each cohort includes four levels of instruction and lasts approximately six months. Our curriculum includes reading, writing, speaking, and listening exercises. Thus, we put much time and effort into these cohorts and investing in our students.

Many thanks to all who have supported this flagship program. We are grateful to God and each of you for the ability to invest in the future of Alausí!

If you would like to learn more about our English program for adults in the Alausí, Ecuador community or how to support this initiative, please visit the link below:

Faces of Alausí
To support our mission, we believe it is important to help promote the local businesses and entrepreneurs in Alausí. Please enjoy this section of our newsletter, Faces of Alausí, to learn more about Alausí's community members.

Sandra, Cocoa Services By Marsan

Meet Sandra, owner of Cocoa Services By Marsan, one of the area's restaurants.

"The motivation to start my business began with the visits of tourists who from the beginning allowed me to provide sustainable, healthy food and enjoy our rustic space within the city of Alausí."

Cocoa Services By Marsan is located in the beautiful 13 de Noviembre park.
It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offers Ecuadorian and American cuisines, and has a wide variety of specialty drinks. We highly recommend this business if you are looking for fantastic meals in Alausí, Ecuador!

2022 Virtual Fundraiser Event
We are pleased to invite you to our third Virtual Fundraiser event!

Date: Saturday, October 22, 2022

Time: 10:00 AM ET

We will send out an official invite shortly so be on the lookout!
Maria Lida Foundation Team Highlight

"One reason I enjoy working at the Maria Lida Foundation is because I am happy to work with people from Alausí. They are sincere, friendly, hard-working, and magical like this town. Another reason I enjoy this job is Alausí is a tourist town. Many people from different countries visit Alausí, and speaking English is essential to communicate with and help tourists."

-Magaly, Assistant English Professor

Contribute to our cause by clicking on the "DONATE NOW" button below.
Your contributions will support:

  • our Adult English program
  • tourist trips to Alausí and Ecuador
  • tuition scholarships for children
  • expansion of our business consulting and entrepreneur support services

The Maria Lida Foundation is a
501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in which contributions may be tax-deductible.
Stay up to date on our work in Ecuador by visiting our website and social media pages!