Empower women. Eliminate poverty.

Recent Posts

2022 Achievements

Dear friends,

It is my great pleasure to share with you Friendship Bridge’s outstanding results of 2022. Across our organization, there were many achievements, overachievements, and surprises. I am filled with pride as we review 2022, my final days with Friendship Bridge and my last message to all of you. You should also be very proud of the critical role you played in empowering the 33,895 clients who were served by Friendship Bridge throughout the year.

With the conclusion of 2022, and as Friendship Bridge begins to focus on our work for 2023, we have completed the second year of our strategic plan, Impact2, and we are on target to meet our plan objectives. It’s an exciting plan with much more to accomplish over the next 3 years, to continue creating opportunities that empower Guatemalan women to build a better life.

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Results of Poverty Stoplight 2022

Friendship Bridge partners with Poverty Stoplight to improve clients’ lives

In 2022, Friendship Bridge implemented the Poverty Stoplight, with the poverty elimination methodology of Fundación Paraguaya. It’s designed to help our clients holistically assess their living conditions and quality of life in order for them to identify concrete actions for improvement.

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Businesses That Supported Us in 2022 / link

See Who Featured Handmade by Friendship Bridge® Products This Year

More and more companies, organizations, and blogs are showing that they care about gifts that give back to the community—and are featuring Handmade by Friendship Bridge® products!  Handmade by Friendship Bridge® was featured in the following holiday gift guides, small business directories, and blogs for 2022. Take a look and support/follow them in return.

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Lasting Impact

Friendship Bridge. Lasting Impact. Karen Larson with clients.

A lot has happened in the world since 2009—both in the U.S. and Guatemala—but one thing has remained the same: Friendship Bridge’s mission to create opportunities that empower Guatemalan women to build a better life. With your help, we are changing how women in Guatemala see, respond to, and overcome the issues of poverty for themselves, their families, and their communities.

2009 is also when our CEO, Karen Larson, joined the organization. At a time of transition, Karen focused on three specific areas in her early years to ensure the successes of the past could continue: building a sustainable foundation for our clients and organization, improving operations, and investing in employees. Your support has been an essential part of her journey. Back then, we served 11,000 women with microloans, with 75 employees—now, with your help, we empower over 26,000 women and employ 260 staff members across 15 offices throughout Guatemala.

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Tracie Cordeiro named President and CEO of Friendship Bridge

After a thorough global search, the Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Tracie Cordeiro, CFO, as the new President and CEO of Friendship Bridge. Cordeiro will officially assume the position on January 23, 2023, working closely with the current President and CEO, Karen Larson, until that time to ensure a smooth transition.

Cordeiro joined Friendship Bridge more than four years ago and has become a trusted advisor to Larson and the leadership team ever since. Throughout these years, she has had the opportunity to work in Guatemala and travel around the country visiting staff and clients.

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Friendship Bridge Ranked as the #1 Best Place to Work® for Women 2022 in Central America and the Caribbean

Great Place To Work® Recognizes Friendship Bridge’s Gender Inclusive Culture


Friendship Bridge ranks as the #1 Best Place to Work® for Women 2022 in Central America and the Caribbean, (multinationals category) as identified by Great Place to Work®, by surveying hundreds of employees of multinational companies in the Caribbean and Central America region. The organization asks employees about key factors that they believe create “excellent workplaces,” and analyzes the programs that allow for the development and growth of women. 

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A Trademark for Handmade by Friendship Bridge®

Handmade by Friendship Bridge® Receives Registered Trademark Status

“Having an official trademark is something we’ve been wanting for quite some time now. This is definitely a brand milestone for Handmade by Friendship Bridge® and we’re extremely thankful to everyone who made this possible.”
– Maya Colop-Morales, Manager, Handmade by Friendship Bridge®

You may have noticed the “®” next to our name and logo at Handmade by Friendship Bridge®. Although it may seem like a small change, the “R” inside the circle stands for “registered,” and is, in fact, a very BIG deal for Friendship Bridge and the operations of our social enterprise. The federal trademark registration symbol shows that we now officially own our trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, and has major benefits as we continue to develop the brand of our artisan program and online store.

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Friendship Bridge Ranks #3 MFI in Latin America 

World’s First Microfinance Index Report shows Friendship Bridge Ranks #3 MFI in Latin America

Friendship Bridge is proud to be included in the world’s first microfinance social performance index, based directly on client interviews and customer outcomes. The newly released report, conducted by 60 Decibels, was developed in order to set a benchmark for what good, better, and best performance looks like within microfinance institutions*. Did our clients’ lives actually improve because of their involvement with Friendship Bridge, and in what ways? And, how does our performance compare to other organizations?

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Insights from 60 Decibels

2021 Report from 60 Decibels

Friendship Bridge strives to be a learning organization that responds quickly to the evolving needs of the women we serve in Guatemala. In an effort to constantly improve and diversify our offerings and ensure we provide the most appropriate loan products and services to our clients, we continuously collect social performance data, which informs our strategic decisions. Our partnership with 60 Decibels, a global impact measurement company that quantifies social impact as well as provides benchmarks of impact performance, is an integral part of this process.

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#BreakTheBias on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2022)

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The annual observance of IWD is March 8 each year, and all 31 days of March are dedicated to Women’s History Month. This year’s #IWD2022 theme is “Break the Bias,” a call-to-action to actively call out gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping each time you see it. Our staff and clients are striking the official #IWD2022 pose by crossing their arms to show solidarity. Will you join us? Strike the IWD 2022 pose and share your #BreakTheBias image on social media, tagging Friendship Bridge on each platform and using #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias to encourage further people to commit to helping forge an inclusive world.

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Being of Service: Social Media Influencers Supporting Our Work

The influencers who highlighted Handmade by Friendship Bridge® to their social media communities last year (combined reach of 457k followers) were by no means obligated to do so. They were not going to get paid, nor were they going to receive commissions. They had no ties to Friendship Bridge, nor had they ever heard of the organization prior to receiving the initial email from the Handmade team. Still, they eagerly embraced the opportunity to partner with the program.

As was evident in their responses, they were thrilled, grateful, and enthusiastic about supporting the talented artisan women in any way they could. From Chicago to Los Angeles to Portland, Ginny, Janelle, Zeena, and Carlo each have their own, unique content and style, yet they share a passion for women’s empowerment and a desire to use their platforms to promote causes meaningful to them.

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What It Means to be a Great Place to Work®

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Big news! Great Place to Work® has named Friendship Bridge one of The Best Places to Work™ for Women in Central America and the Caribbean in 2021. The award recognizes organizations whose female employees report that their workplace creates trust and supports their ability to reach their full human potential, no matter who they are or what they do. Friendship Bridge ranked second among 25 other multinational organizations that participated, including Belcorp Centroamérica and Novo Nordisk CLAT (Caribbean & Central America.)

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