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Introduction From The Directors

Dear Partners,


We are extremely grateful for the support Americas for Conservation + the Arts (AFC+A) has received throughout recent years, helping us grow into the organization that we are today: one of only a handful of Latina founded and led organizations of its mission and size in the state of Colorado — and the country — fighting systemic racism in the outdoor and creative workspaces and filling the vital needs of brown led DEI advocacy. 

Our main programs (Mandel Vilar Press, Americas Latino Eco Festival, Promotores Verdes, Puerto Rico Resilience Project, Journey for Climate Justice) advance healthy communities through environmental and cultural stewardship that can best bridge the outdoor and creative inclusion gaps and serve the most underserved. AFC+A’s mission-unlike that of most environmental non profits- address BOTH of these breakdowns in equity and inclusion:


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  • Brown citizens make up 40% of the US population but only 8% of environmental organizations.

  • Less than 1% of what the average US citizen reads is from a book in translation vis a vis most of the social democracies of Europe (Norway, Germany, France, etc) which are reading above 35% in translation. Only 4% of what is being published in the United States is from a minority voice/writer

A Healthy Democracy Cannot Thrive When Inequity of this Magnitude Prevails

In 2018-2020, with little funding, great adversity, and through much social capital including dozens of innovative partnerships and collaborations in Colorado, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, AFC+A achieved,


  • 12 published books though our publishing arm, Mandel Vilar Press (for a total of 30 since the Press' launch in 2015) 

    • Eight book awards and six finalists 

    • The acquisition of the prestigious Moment Books, now an imprint of MVP and publication of its 4 first titles

      • ELIE WIESEL: An Extraordinary Life and Legacy –Writings, Reflections, Photographs, edited by Nadine Epstein 

      • THE CITY OF LIGHT  by Theodore Bikel with Aimee Ginsburg Bikel, illustrated by Noah Phillips

      • HAVE I GOT A CARTOON FOR YOU! The Moment Magazine Book of Jewish Cartoons ( compiled by Bob Mankoff, Cartoon and Humor Editor for Esquire and former New Yorker Cartoon Editor)

      • Can Robots Be Jewish? Edited by Amy E. Schwartz (Foreword by Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg Afterword by Rabbi Shira Stutman)

  • 4 ALEF editions (1 Colorado, 1 Puerto Rico, 2 Mexico) reaching an audience of over 20,000 including the largest bioblitz conducted in Puerto Rico-and during our festivals' signature bioblitzes- with 32 schools and 8,000 students

  • 103 community events advancing environmental and cultural literacy

  • 5 environmental leadership summer camps

    • 132 Promotores Verdes-UCAN youth graduates (Estes Park, Colorado

    • Jamestown, CO

    • Jayuya, Puerto Rico

    • Orocovis, Puerto Rico

    • Taxco, Mexico

  • 24 Puerto Rico teachers certified as Promotores Verdes through six week training with accreditation from the University of Puerto Rico Department of Continuing Education

  • 68 + Families trained and engaged as Promotores Verdes

  • 2 concept designs (an adventure eco park & a resilience and food hub center) for municipalities in Puerto Rico in partnership with the School of Architecture and Planning of the University of Denver

  • 119 OutdoorRx events

  • 28 Presentations and Trainings

  • 20,441 People Reached

It is clear we are indeed moving on to the Resilience Era fully in the know of how deep and far our social capital goes. As we enter the New Year, still facing COVID 19 and the systemic barriers undermining inclusion that the Black Lives Matter movement has unveiled, we feel prepared and inspired to continue to safeguard this threatened and most fragile ecosystem of a diverse and equitable non-profit sector. 


But we need your partnership. Your investment will go to safeguard our baseline programming beyond COVID and protect our employees and volunteers, while we launch our campaign this Spring 21’ and restructure to build a sustainable future to further our impact. Your partnership will allow us to use this moment in history to pivot to more inclusive, and more powerful times.  It will also advance the effectiveness of our large network of community nature health workers in the face of this coming year, when the intensity of the consequences of inequity is likely to increase. These are the main programs your support would help thrive:

  1. Our community nature health workers Promotores Verdes (growing outdoor recreation based environmental literacy by elevating the economic, conservation, and health benefits of human-nature connections and an outdoor recreation economy)

  2. The annual Americas Latino Eco-Festival ALEF -now in its 10th edition- (leveraging the arts and Latino American leadership for conservation gains)

  3. Our indie publishing arm, Mandel Vilar Press MVP  (advancing diversity and conservation in publishing)

  4. Our youth leadership training camp, United Cultures for Arts + Nature U-CAN (building a more diverse generation of environmental stewards), and

  5. Journey for Climate Justice (raising climate change awareness and advocacy through outdoor adventure). 

Our capacity building hope for 2021 is to summon the support of NONPROFIT CORPORATE CHAMPIONS committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion that can see the value of supporting BIPOC nonprofits fighting inequity, bridging gaps, and lifting up our democracy. No matter the adversities, AFC+A will continue to elevate in particular the voices of Latino conservation and cultural leaders, fostering collaboration to better tackle environmental problems from many angles, and using “arte y cultura” as a communication channel for environmental awareness and shared values.


Supporting organizations like AFC+A is a direct action to bridge the outdoor and creative inclusion gaps and assure those sitting at the decision-making table regarding the stewardship of our natural resources and cultural assets needed for advancing healthy communities reflect equity and inclusion.


We at AFC+A wholeheartedly believe that advancing diversity is the most important conservation strategy.

Irene Vilar

AFC+A Founder & ED

Green Leadership Trust Chair, Steering Committee

Fernando Pineda

CREA Results CEO

AFC+A Co Director

Zuza Bohley

AFC+A Education & Deputy Director

United Nations Association, Advocacy Chair, Sustainability Committee

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