Empower women. Eliminate poverty.

Who We Are

We are a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization creating opportunities that empower women in Guatemala to build a better life. Microfinance, education, and healthcare are the tools we use.

Studies have shown that when women are successful, they invest beyond themselves, in their children, and in their communities. This is exactly what we’ve seen with our clients.

Friendship Bridge works primarily with indigenous women in Guatemalan in rural areas where the rate of poverty in Guatemala is the highest. While illiteracy and poverty rates are staggering in these regions, the women we work with are determined to create a change.

Why Guatemala?

  • Fifty-nine percent of the population lives in poverty1
  • Fifty percent of Guatemalan children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition (highest rate in Latin America, sixth highest in the world, double that of Haiti)2
  • More than 60% of indigenous Guatemalan women are illiterate3
  • Guatemala is still recovering from a devastating 36-year civil war that ended in 19964

Why Women?

Investing in women is smart from both an economic and a social perspective. Globally speaking:

  • Women invest up to 90% of their income in their families and communities5
  • Women make up 70% of the worlds poor6
  • Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, but only make 10% of the world’s income7

What We Do

We believe that microcredit must be combined with education and preventive health services to help clients build resilience and pursue opportunities. We call this Microcredit Plus.

Our Mission and Our History

Whether in Vietnam or Guatemala, we have been empowering impoverished women for over 25 years.

Board of Directors

We have an outstanding Board guiding our decisions. Meet them here.

Leadership Team

Guided by Karen Larson since 2009, our leadership team is committed to improving upon our mission while ensuring that we are innovative and client-centric, emphasizing efficiency, and effectiveness in our operations.


Friendship Bridge believes in the importance and the power of collaboration and cooperation. See the organizations and groups with whom we are proud to partner.

Financial Performance

As part of Friendship Bridge’s commitment to financial transparency, we are independently audited every year and an IRS form 990 is issued annually. Take a look here.

Social Performance Management

Friendship Bridge continuously monitors and evaluates the achievement of our social objectives.


Friendship Bridge is a 501(c)(3) organization with a tax ID number 84-1141078.



  2. Government of Guatemala: National Security Information Systems
  3. Shapiro, J. 2005. “Guatemala.” In G. Hall and H. Patrinos, eds., Indigenous Peoples, Poverty and Human Development in Latin America 1994–2004. Washington, D.C.: World Bank
  4. CIA: World Factbook: People and Society: Demographic Profile + Economy: Economic Overview
  5. Women Deliver + Clinton Global Initiative
  6. Human Development Report, 1995
  7. Women at Work, International Labour Office, 1977