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Fall 2014 Cho Quarterly Newsletter


Fall 2014

This edition updates you on our most recent activities and future plans.


Newsletter Editor,

David Lansing

Inna Disya Issue:

Letter from the President

Community Grant Profile: Panferrix Steel Band

Community Grants Update

We have revised our mission statement to reflect our expanded areas in our community grants program (see Brandon's article below right): Full Basket Belize improves the education, health, and environment of Belizean communities and supports youth and community economic development through educational scholarships and community grants.


A Big Tonks to our donors for continuing to make Full Basket Belize's work possible!

Linda Applegate

Senanu Ashibor

Harry Bennett

Chad Bourne

Sherry Boyd

Jeffrey Cleveland

Cynthia Cruz

Henry Cunningham

Sean & Nicole Wuff Dodds

Janet Dove - Kristi Drexler

Kateri Drexler

James J. Drexler

Gale Garza

Michael Gill

Lori Goodman

Michael Graves

Ranjit Hakim

Jill Hepp - Joan Hepp

Patricia Hernandez

Ron Herring

Craig Jacobs

Jay Johnson


Nikki Kelsall

Brandon Kitagawa

Gladys Kitagawa

David Lansing

Mimi Zebrick Lawrence

Kevin M. Laughlin

Carol Lieberman

M. Lindsey & Bobby Overman

Jo & Bob Link

Robin Mardeusz

Kara & Andrew Martinez

Erin McCool

Katie Meehan

Robin Mardeusz

Barbara Moss

Charlotte Nal

Emily Popp

Kim Quinn

Sarah Reynolds

Mindy Rowlands

Todd Schumacher

Hank & Judy Schumacher

Mirella Shannon

John R. Shepherd

Shepherd Family Trust

Catherine Spector

Catherine Varley

Ruchi Verma

Carolee Walters

Shannon White

Lessa Wytock

Lori Zahalka


Board of Directors

Jo Link


Kristi Drexler

Vice President

Jeffrey Cleveland


Katie Meehan


Sarah Reynolds

Contributorship Director

Charlotte Nal

Fundraising Director

David Lansing

Newsletter Editor

Erin McCool

Scholarship Director

Brandon Kitagawa

Ron Herring

Project Grants


Shannon White

Liaison Director


Jill Hepp

General Director

Robin Mardeusz


Leroy Almendarez

Kara Martinez

Chris Minty

Associate Directors

Interested in volunteering with Full Basket Belize?

We are always looking for volunteers to help with a variety of tasks that can be done from home and/or in Belize, including:

serving on one of our committees

contributing photos for our newsletter

assisting with outreach to Belizean secondary schools eligible for scholarships

writing Belize-related articles for the newsletter

conducting media outreach in Belize

If you would like to volunteer your time and energy, please contact:

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Letter from our President

Jo Link, RPCV Belmopan 2000-2002

Hi, everyone, and welcome to our fall issue.  Our organization has been in existence for nine years now, providing over 120 scholarships and 24 community grants for Belizeans.  We think that is pretty impressive for an all-volunteer organization with no ice bucket challenges!

In news from our Board of Directors (BOD), we were saddened by the resignation of Mirella Shannon, treasurer, due to her increased work responsibilities.  Thanks to BOD member Jeffrey Cleveland for stepping up and taking on the very important responsibilities of this position.

Our diligent community grants committee, under the direction of capable co-directors Brandon Kitagawa and Ron Herring, currently is hard at work sifting through project applications.  Decisions will be made soon and winners will be announced in January.

Very soon we will be launching our yearly fundraising campaign.  We need to raise sufficient funds to support our scholarship and grant programs in 2015.

Where Does Your Money Go?

pie chart

The Full Basket Belize Board of Directors is proud of how we manage our money.  We know that our contributors expect us to use our funds wisely.  We are committed to fulfilling that trust.  Our wonderful volunteers handle day-to-day operations, enabling us to keep our operating expenses to a bare minimum.  All of our overhead expenses such as website cost, PO Box rental, bank fees, National Peace Corps Association membership, and donor database expenses that were not absorbed by generous board members were covered by an outside source in 2014.  We awarded US$3,000 for grants, US$14,000 for scholarships, and US$0 for overhead.  Therefore, we can honestly say that fully 100% of every dollar donated this year supported our 2014 programs.

In the chart below you can see how we have increased our distribution of funds for scholarships and community grants over the past five years.  Our goal is to increase our donations so that we can continue to increase the amount of monies we provide to deserving folks in Belize.



Please help us meet our goal of increasing donations this giving season. It’s so easy to donate.  You have several choices.

  1. You can go to our website at www.fullbasketbelize.org and click on the orange DONATE button.  This will take you to our PayPal website and you just follow the easy directions there.
  2. Alternatively, you can mail a check to us at Full Basket Belize, PO Box 29021, Portland OR 97296.
  3. Don’t forget to see if your company or corporation offers matching gifts.  We’ll be glad to fill out any paperwork that might be necessary for you to take advantage of this opportunity to grow your donation.
  4. New this year: Please consider becoming one of our sustaining circle donors by signing up for monthly contributions, either through PayPal or your checking account.  Being a sustaining circle donor makes donating virtually painless because it happens automatically and ensures us a continuing stream of revenue.

Thank you for considering Full Basket Belize.  Please encourage your friends and family to donate as well.




Community Grant Profile:  Panerrifix Steel Band

Charlotte Nal, FBB Board Member

In 2010, I was invited to an event in Denver, Colorado, where I enjoyed watching a group of young individuals from Belize perform in a steel band.  All of the players were in their second year as band members, and I was impressed with their performance.  The band performed at various schools in the area, and I invited them to perform in my living room for a few of my Belizean-American and other American friends.  As a proud Belizean I was so proud to see these youth perform and carry themselves so professionally as ambassadors of their country.

steel drum

The Panerrifix Steel Band is the result of the Our Lady of Guadalupe School music program in Belmopan, Belize.  The band was formed in 2002 when the school acquired music specialist Julietta Burrows-Lewis.  Now director of the school’s music program, Ms. Burrows-Lewis is a trained musician and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education.  The music program is designed so that children can enroll in music classes such as choir, recorders, strings, marching band, and steel band, all as extracurricular activities.  The Panerrifix Steel Band is self-sustaining and supports itself through annual fundraising events.  Full Basket Belize has supported this organization in the past by providing funds to acquire cabinets to store their instruments.

The band began with ten members and doubled its membership by the third year.  The band has three groups: the senior band that plays for hire and two junior bands.  Recently, a parents’ band was formed as well.

The Panerrifix Steel Band travelled to Washington, DC, in 2011 at the invitation of the Belize Ambassador to perform at the embassy’s Independence Celebrations.  That same year the band was invited by the Mexican Embassy to participate in El Festival del Caribe where they performed in Playa del Carmen and Bacalar.  In 2012 the band returned to Mexico to perform for the Independence Celebrations hosted by the Belize Consulate in Mexico City.

steel band

Our Lady of Guadalupe School’s steel band was one of Full Basket Belize’s grant recipients in 2011.  The funds were used to have shelves and racks installed in their music storeroom so that the instruments could be better managed and cared for.  The total cost of the instruments in stock is US$15,000, most of which has been donated to the school.  The talented and hardworking students are the immediate beneficiaries of the music program, and some students have continued to belong even after graduation.  This program has gone above and beyond to continue its mission and to show that investment made in its music program continues to benefit the youth and their community.  You, as a Full Basket Belize donor, played a part in the success of the Panerrifix Steel Band.

Twenty-four and Counting:

Thanks for Supporting FBB’s Community Grants!

Brandon Kitagawa, RPCV Hol Chan Marine Reserve 1999-2001

On behalf of the board of directors and our twenty-four great recipients since 2006, I want to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to all those who have contributed to FBB’s Community Grant Program over the years.  Whether you volunteered your time to help review proposals or donated to the more than US$18,000 that has supported community-based projects all across Belize, we want to thank you for making our Community Grant Program such a success.

Full Basket Belize has supported projects that have impacted communities in all six districts and the cayes.  While the grants we have awarded have been modest, thanks to the dedicated work of our grantees, the results have been outstanding!  In 2014 alone FBB grants supported:

  • The establishment of Las Sartenejeñas Cooperative – a cooperative to support alternative income-generating opportunities for women in Sarteneja Village, Corozal District
  • Belize Community Conservation and Caribbean SEA’s effort to involve youth and other community members in improving sanitation and access to clean water in San Mateo, Ambergris Caye
  • A two-day conference on empowering women hosted by the Port Loyola Women’s Organization that provided over 50 young women with information, training, and resources to help them face many of the challenges commonly confronting women in Belize City.

It is the commitment from our donors that allows us to continue to support amazing community-based projects.  In response to changing priorities of our Belizean partners over the past eight years, we will be expanding the focus of our Community Grant Program in 2015.  In addition to funding projects focused on education, health, and the environment, FBB will now also support programs targeting youth leadership development and community economic development.  We just closed the application process for 2015 grants and received 19 great proposals in response to our expanded priority areas.

Again, thank you for your ongoing support of FBB and our Community Grant Program.  And keep your eyes open for the announcement of our 2015 awardees!

Full Basket Belize is a non-profit organization whose volunteer directors dedicate their time to make sure our modest budget is spent as effectively as possible. With low overhead costs, the work of volunteers, and generous donations from supporters, Full Basket Belize has made a small but significant difference in the communities of Belize.

In providing scholarship funds to secondary school children, as well as grants for community projects, Full Basket Belize has been able to continue service to the communities of Belize and remain connected to a country we love so much.

Full Basket Belize does not discriminate against any employee, volunteer, or grant applicant because of race, creed, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, disability, age, or covered veteran status. It is also Full Basket Belize’s policy to comply with all applicable national and local laws pertaining to nondiscrimination and equal opportunity.

Full Basket Belize is a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization (501c3). All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.


P.O. BOX 29021
Portland OR 97296

Full Basket Belize improves the education, health and environment of Belizean
communities through educational scholarships and community grants.

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Mission Statement

Full Basket Belize improves the education, health, and environment of Belizean communities and supports youth and community economic development through educational scholarships and community grants.

NPCA logo

Proud affiliate of the NPCA