Upward Ventures is a diverse group of core staff and volunteers of all ages and professions. We all hold in common the strongest conviction that poverty is unjust, dehumanizing and intolerable. We believe every person is precious and unique, loved by God and deserving of the opportunity to thrive in life, to pursue their calling and reach their full potential.

We believe poverty must be eradicated for it is unjust and immoral. It attacks the fundamental rights of a person and the prosperity of us all. We believe no person, independent of her birthplace, race, belief, gender or culture should be left abandoned to a state of deprivation that robs her of the basic capabilities to flourish.

No one should be condemned to a life of poverty & despair.
Not now, not anywhere.

We envision a world free of the injustice of poverty – of communities thriving and in prosperous communion with themselves, with others, the environment and their Creator. We strive to walk in Jesus’ steps – in His passion for the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized and the invisible; the special attention He pays to children and women, especially those that suffer. Our programs strive to be channels of dignity and empowerment for the poor and a hub for all people to join in the construction of a thriving, loving society. 

Team

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Kevin Moforte
Founder

Kevin is Chilean-American and has worked over a decade in impoverished communities in Latin America. He holds a B.S. in Engineering and a Masters in Public Policy.

kevin@upward-ventures.org

LinkedIn

Lois Grandmaison
Operations

Lois has over 15 years of leadership experience working in faith communities. A natural problem-solver, she ensures everything runs smoothly at Upward Ventures.   

info@upward-ventures.org

LinkedIn

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Pedro Soto
Development

Pedro is a Dominican-American with a Masters in Regional Planning. He works in community development and leads Mercyhouse's trips to the Caribbean.

Pedro@upward-ventures.org

LinkedIn

 

Marketing & Design
Mark Gray (Team Lead)
Zeena Hutchinson
Isabelle Kopack
  Leigh Cappabianca

Web & Media
Shannon Sarkisian
Bill Wanamaker
Tommy Moore

Writers
Casey Chon
Jana Abaskalova

Santo Domingo Team
Laura  Hernandez
Heriberto Trinidad

Science
Brian Cromer

Hope against all odds

Las Malvinas is a community of 450+ families in the capital of the Dominican Republic. Despite most families being extremely poor, with high levels of illiteracy and underemployment, we see the human potential. It’s a tight knit community; organized, and always welcoming. Their poverty comes from lack of opportunity: what people in Las Malvinas need urgently are good jobs that will provide a steady income and the chance to invest in their kids. 

Las Malvinas II is a community in Villa Mella, the northern District of the Capital of the Dom. Rep.

Las Malvinas II is a community in Villa Mella, the northern District of the Capital of the Dom. Rep.

The community, started in 2001,  is tucked between a river, a park and an industrial zone.

The community, started in 2001,  is tucked between a river, a park and an industrial zone.

Most families rely on sporadic, underpaid work to get by.

Most families rely on sporadic, underpaid work to get by.

Kids fill the streets in the evenings to play baseball with broomsticks and bottle caps.

Kids fill the streets in the evenings to play baseball with broomsticks and bottle caps.


Our story: Las Malvinas & Upward Ventures

Kevin's first visits in 2008

Kevin's first visits in 2008

In 2008 our founder, Kevin Moforte, came in contact with the community of Las Malvinas while working for TECHO, a nonprofit that works in extremely poor settlements. Through TECHO, his team started transitional housing and urban gardening programs for families struggling with dire living conditions. Other projects included basic infrastructure: the local school was improved & a clandestine dump was converted into a park that now is enjoyed by all in the community and visitors.

The first trip of our founding group in 2013

The first trip of our founding group in 2013

A few years later living in the US, Kevin attended MercyHouse, a local church, and visited Las Malvinas with a team looking for ways to support the community. This trip turned into several more, where college students and church members worked with the community building a water cistern, planting trees and giving training.

After 2 years and in an effort to make a stronger, lasting impact, the founding group sought a permanent presence in the Dominican Republic and launched Upward Ventures.

Interested in volunteering or interning with us? Check out our offers below or offer your unique skills! To inquire, please send your resume to info@upward-ventures.org. We will contact you promptly.

 

Download a description of internship & volunteering opportunities here