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Our Mission


To create opportunities for education in partnership with the Indigenous people in northwest Guatemala.

Core Values

Respect and dignity for the Maya people, their culture, and languages. 

Integrity. Our strong organizational culture is based on ethical integrity, which has been instrumental in attracting talented volunteers and building strong donor relations.


Innovation. As leaders for change, we advance initiatives that create immediate, as well as long-term improvements to our educational programs.

Our Founder

Founder Frances Dixon

Frances grew up in a small and isolated gold mining town in the western foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Canada, where the community lived snow-bound for much of the year. At the age of 16, she founded her first charity, which joined the needs of marginalized teens with those of poor families. Fascinated with off-the-beaten-path travel and different cultures, she worked her way around much of the world in a variety of careers, including work in Africa with the Canadian Consulate. She also founded two successful businesses, one in magazine publishing.


Her travels eventually brought her to Guatemala. Her unwavering commitment to social justice and her profound interest in aiding the Maya rebuild their lives after the ravages of a decades-long civil war, prompted her to launch Adopt-a-Village in the Northwestern highlands of Guatemala.


For over 30 years her vision has led this small, but highly spirited organization of dedicated volunteers to provide education and assistance to hundreds of Indigenous people living on the edge of survival in an isolated region of Guatemala. Frances has served as president of both the Adopt-a-Village Board of Directors in Oregon and Fundación Para el Desarrollo Comunal de Huehuetenango in Guatemala. In 2020, Frances received the prestigious Rotary International "Service Above Self" award. Her vision of empowering Indigenous Maya through education continues to guide the education and literacy programs of the organization.

Board of Directors


The Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala Board of Directors are stewards for fiscal management and are responsible for fundraising. All of our officers, founder, directors, and Advisory Council members are 100% volunteers who receive no financial compensation. Each volunteer dedicates their time, expertise and financial support to our mission of education. Click on the photos to learn more about each director. 

Board of Directors

Advisory Council


Members of the Adopt-a-Village of Guatemala Advisory Council are volunteers who bring a diverse range of talents and expertise that aid our organization in bringing positive long-term changes to Indigenous communities in Guatemala. Click on the photos to learn more about each member.

Mayan Center for Development and Education

Our Guatemalan Associate Organization

The Fundación Para el Desarrollo Comunal de Huehuetenango, (FPDCH) a legally recognized Guatemalan nonprofit organization, executes and administers the educational and nutritional food growing programs funded by Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala.  In cooperation with Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala and Maya village leadership councils, the FPDCH’s staff of teachers, agricultural technicians, and administrative staff manage the organization’s private schools, its educational farm, and village projects.  Adopt-a-Village volunteers from the United States and other countries visiting the projects are invited to provide support, expertise, and guidance during their visits.  

Maya Jaguar Private Technical Institute Faculty and Staff                 


osman castenada_edited.jpg

Osman Adriel Castañeda López

Executive Administrator - Principal - Teacher

Osman has been with Maya Jaguar since 2010. He received his education in computer science, communications, and administration at the Universidad Panamericana.

(Read more)

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