The Quixote Center is a multi-issue social justice organization founded in 1977. We work alongside partner organizations to bring about lasting systemic change. We stand in solidarity and friendship with those who seek to improve the lives of the very poor, and provide guidance, technical assistance, and funding to support their work and allow their movements and programs to mature and take hold. To accomplish this, we rely on the support of likeminded people who recognize the need for structural changes in an increasingly unequal global society. As we look to the future, we remain committed to developing sustainable programs and social enterprises that address the needs of the very poor. Our current focus is on our development work with our international partners in Haiti and Nicaragua.
Nicaragua – The Quest for Peace
We have been working in Nicaragua for more than three decades, with the focus of our work there being developing a sustainable solution to the housing shortage. Nicaragua has more than three quarters of its population living in substandard housing.
The devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 brought the housing crisis to the front. The Center worked with the Institute to step up its home construction efforts and provide secure homes to hundreds of families in communities across the country. During this time, local communities also began forming collectives that came under the umbrella of FediCamp (the Federation of Campesinos). The Center and the Institute provided technical assistance to these groups as they registered as independent groups and assist in providing training to individual smallholder farmers in sustainable agriculture techniques.
The housing program has now grown to a large innovative and replicable model of socially responsible investing and community development. In partnership with Banpro, the largest bank in Nicaragua, the Institute and the Center are raising funds to establish a trust fund that will allow hundreds of families each year to qualify for a mortgage and purchase their own home (built by the Institute). This model is having a real impact on the country which has the highest rate of homelessness and sub-standard housing.
Haiti – Haiti Reborn
In Haiti, the Center is partnering with the Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center and the Peasant Movement of Gros-Morne. Here our work is focused on reforestation efforts and practical training for local small holder farmers. Haiti’s once verdant landscape has been decimated by deforestation. More than 95 percent of the country’s tree canopy has been lost. This has had devastating effects on the land and its people, resulting in massive soil erosion, mudslides, and depletion of natural resources. This issue is what animates the Center’s work with Haitian organizations, together planting more than 1 million trees. The tree nursery at the JMV Center has populated the model forest on Tet Mon, which has grown from a few barren acres on a hillside to a 44 acre forest of mature trees.
Catholics Speak Out
The Quixote Center was initially founded by Catholics seeking to create a shift within the church, and that mission led to other social justice efforts. Over the last forty years, the Center has continued to advocate for change within the Catholic Church. Our current advocacy efforts include lobbying for women’s ordination and inclusion of the LGBT community within the church particularly to acknowledge diverse families.