The majority of our staff and our Leadership team are indigenous Maya from the region, whose passion for and expertise in community development are unparalleled. We are proud to have a staff that is multidisciplinary, multilingual, and multicultural and who center the expertise of our Mayan leadership and community experts.
Erin Mooney – Executive Director
Erin was blessed to grow up in the Latino community and around the Farmworker Justice Movement in the Salinas Valley of California, where she learned Spanish and the power of community-driven development work. She attended Humboldt State University, where she studied Native American/Indigenous Studies and International Development Technology/Community Development.
For her Master’s thesis, Erin studied the political and agricultural history of Guatemala, a study of the intersection between Mayan land-loss, poverty, and malnutrition in the Guatemalan Highlands. Erin and her husband, Jon, lived on Lake Atitlán with their two daughters in 2006 while they completed culminating thesis projects based on their research, Jon building a greywater treatment system in San Marcos, and Erin an organic teaching garden for Mayan scholarship students in San Pedro, in collaboration with the President of the Agricultural Co-op at the time. Their children attended public school in San Pedro and basked in the love of the Gonzalez Navichoc family, who taught them Spanish and Tz’utujil and generally assumed parenting them.
Before returning to Guatemala with her family in January 2019 to lead Mayan Families, Erin was the Executive Director of Cultivando (Colorado, US) for 6 years. She worked with a fully Latina staff to build the leadership and capacity of first-generation Latino immigrants to affect positive changes in their new communities. Erin is passionate about working in solidarity with communities to elevate and center their expertise and self-identified solutions, and has many years of experience working in the issues of equity, food systems, leadership development, training and supporting Promotoras de Salud, preventative healthcare, early childhood education, and systems change.
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