During 2016, the 107IST embarked on a fundraising project in conjunction with Tanager coffee to help build a soccer field in El Salvador so the families of workers in local coffee fields would have a place to play the beautiful game. As always, our members and supporters were generous, purchasing special-edition scarves and coffee, and raising $20,000 for the project.
Since that time, we have been working with coffee farmer partners in El Salvador to get the project underway, but it has been slow going. In late 2018/early 2019, we received initial drawings and estimates for the project. We communicated with our contacts in El Salvador regularly to see where we stood with breaking ground, but unfortunately made little progress.
In early 2020, the board decided that we couldn’t wait any longer, especially given the pressing needs in our own community at home. We again communicated with our project contacts in El Salvador, explaining that we needed to see some kind of communication or plan by June 1, or we would need to move the funds to other endeavors. The coffee-farm owner we spoke with was understanding and promised to get back to the board promptly. After many weeks, we still had no update, despite repeated attempts.
Therefore, the board voted to move $10,000 of the funds initially allocated for this project to other outreach efforts — particularly those focused on Black Lives Matter and local organizations (particularly those serving the BIPOC community and LGBTQIA+ members) who have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We remain firmly committed to supporting soccer in and around Portland and beyond, from the grassroots to the highest professional level, and we truly appreciate the support from the community for the project. In the interest of transparency, we wanted to share the current status of the project and of the board’s redirection of a portion of the funds raised to meet local community needs.