SANTA CRUZ al SALVADOR is a non-profit organization (EIN 52-2289975) that was formed in 2001. It is made up of “member” churches; St. Stephen’s Lutheran and Trinity Presbyterian in Santa Cruz, Christ Lutheran and St. Andrew Presbyterian in Aptos, Advent Lutheran in Morgan Hill and Lutheran Community in Watsonville are the member churches. There is participation by people from Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Salinas.

The board of directors meets monthly in the gazebo at Christ Lutheran Church. As a non-profit organization our entire budget is dependent upon the fund raising events we hold each year, contributions from sponsorships for prayer children and donations. The majority of funds raised go directly to El Salvador in support of scholarships, school supplies and the medical clinic. We are now supporting the community of El Pilar beginning with a water project just as we did in Guillermo Ungo 22 years ago. We also contribute to the Salvadoran Lutheran Pastoral Support Endowment Fund and Presbyterian Joining Hands Network. All of our work is done with volunteer help. We urge you to go to the above web site to learn more about the history and activities of the organization.

In July, 2015 three board members (Ruth Cruddas, Pr. Karla Norton and Jill Adachi) traveled to El Salvador for research on increased government support for schools and reports of increased violence in the country. In November, 2015 three people from Advent Lutheran Church (Tom and Judith Dunham and Catherine Holmes) traveled to El Salvador to attend graduation for the class of 2015 in Guillermo Ungo.

The January, 2016 delegation consisted of 11 people from St. Stephen’s Lutheran, Lutheran Community, St. Andrew Presbyterian, Advent Lutheran and unaffiliated congregations. Lucas Grams from Lutheran Community and Pr. Karla Norton from St. Andrew Presbyterian co-led the delegation. There were 5 first time members on this delegation: Dr. Lorena Russo and Marian Langdon from St. Andrew Presbyterian, Greg Katterhagen from Advent Lutheran and Mara Rutherford and Sue Hertless from unaffiliated congregations. St. Stephen’s members included Jean Calvert and Kent Madsen. Lori Katterhagen from Advent Lutheran and Joey Amrhein (Woodland) completed the roster. In Guillermo Ungo, there was a craft project and the Scholarship Awards Ceremony where we met about 90 of our scholarship recipients, presented them with their sponsor gift bags and took their picture. We visited the community of El Pilar, a developing community southwest of San Salvador. The conditions in El Pilar remind us of what Guillermo Ungo was like 20 years ago. We held a craft project under the trees and then met with the leaders of the community to discuss ongoing projects. We met under a simple shade structure built next to one of the wells we have facilitated for the community. The land around the well was purchased this year with funds from Santa Cruz al Salvador. We also visited a Permaculture project sponsored by the Joining Hands Network, enjoyed a presentation by members of the indigenous Pipil people, visited a pottery factory and hiked to a beautiful waterfall near Sonsonate in western El Salvador.

We currently provide scholarships for 120 primary and secondary school children, as well as 15 Post Secondary students. The current government is instituting new support for students, families and healthcare. The clinic is in the process of being transferred to the Ministry of Health which means the clinic staff and supplies will now be provided by the Ministry. However, there are many programs for men, women, and children that will still need support. One of the greatest needs is scholarships for Post Secondary students who currently receive partial scholarships and are eligible for housing if they so choose. Several of the university students helped with the scholarship award ceremony as part of their community service requirement. These young people face many challenges in pursuing their educational goals; first, they have to learn how to organize their time and their money, second moving from the community into the big city of San Salvador is a major change and third, monthly meetings with the scholarship committee. These young men and women are amazing and are very deserving of the scholarships provided to them. As a result of all these changes, Santa Cruz al Salvador continues to reevaluate our support of these communities and determine how our funds can be best utilized.

We again want to express our appreciation for the wonderful support all of you have provided this past year and in previous years. We could not do this without your help.

Our donations and grants were as follows:

2015 Donations and Fundraising
2015 Donations $20,431
2015 Walk 4 Water Fundraiser 10,664
2015 Christine Madsen Memorial 2,230
Total of Donations and Fundraising $33,325
2015 Grants
2016 School Scholarships $ 4,500
2016 University Scholarships 9,500
2016 University Housing 2,855
Health Clinic 9,000
ES School Supplies 1,000
El Pilar 3,000
Sierra Pacific Synod – ES Pastor Salary Endowment 600
Presbyterian Joining Hands Network 600
Total 2015 Grants $31,055

Prepared by Kent Madsen and Ruth Cruddas.