Empower women. Eliminate poverty.


Friendship Bridge Honored for International Women’s Day 2023

WorldDenver recognizes Friendship Bridge as the 2023 Organizational Honoree

On March 8, 2023, Friendship Bridge was honored by WorldDenver at their International Women’s Day event, held at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, for our work that empowers women in Guatemala. We were introduced in a video message by Denver Congresswoman Diana DeGette. Accepting the award on Friendship Bridge’s behalf was Marta Julia Ixtuc Cuc, Communications and Public Relations Specialist, who traveled from Guatemala for the event, and Board of Directors Vice Chair Susan Zimmermann.

Alongside Friendship Bridge as the 2023 organizational honoree, Lucille Echohawk, an advocate for Denver’s Native community, was chosen as the individual honoree, and introduced by Colorado Governor Jared Polis. The keynote speaker of the event was Jane Marie Chen, co-founder and CEO of Embrace Global, who has saved thousands of babies’ lives through the development a portable, low-cost infant incubator. Chen encouraged the audience to remember that “we are enough, exactly as we are,” and asked the crowd, “what is the legacy that you want to leave?”

Here are two highlights from Friendship Bridge’s acceptance speech:

“Friendship Bridge definitely has changed my life. I started working with Friendship Bridge 16 years ago…as a front desk person, and today I [work in] Communications and Public Relations. Friendship Bridge has empowered me throughout the years. Over these years I’ve been working with literally thousands of women in Guatemala, whose lives have been changed because of Friendship Bridge.”
—Marta Julia Ixtuc Cuc, Communications and Public Relations Specialist 
“Eleanor Roosevelt once said that a woman is a lot like a tea bag. You don’t know how strong she is until you put her in hot water. Let me tell you, our women in Guatemala live in hot water. They have challenges that you could never imagine. When we talk about giving these loans to over 33,000 women, what do you think the repayment rate is from these remarkable women? It is over 98%. JP Morgan, eat your heart out!”
—Susan Zimmermann, Board of Directors Vice Chair

In addition to being honored, centerpieces for the event consisted of Handmade by Friendship Bridge® products made by our artisan clients—baskets, napkins, beaded coin purses, and tote bags—an order which provided additional income to four entrepreneurs in the program.