Gud Foundation Anniversary December 20th: First Year in Review

Gud Foundation Anniversary December 20th: First Year in Review

i Dec 18th No Comments by

by Laura Gudmundson-Tillson, Gud Foundation Executive Director

Our first anniversary for the Gud Foundation is December 20th


Already? YES! And we are simply amazed at how much has been accomplished in this year that has gone by us so quickly. To catch you up, here is our very first year in review.


The Gud Foundation began to raise funds for girls education through the resale of found objects at a store in Escondido, CA. The money raised went to meet some immediate needs for the young girls at Casa de Jesus in Morelia, Mexico. Read the post “Resale Items Fund Amenities for Girls Education” for the story of our early fundraising efforts.

A space for girls to learn


Shortly after the start of 2014, our new blog and Facebook page went online. The Gud Foundation’s board members began diligent work towards what would be our biggest hope for 2014: a new library and learning center for the student residents of Casa de Jesus.


In February we raised over $3,000.00 at our first annual fundraising salon event held in our home. I was so pleased and honored by the support of local small businesses and friends who understand that educating girls leads to empowered nations.
We obtained the architectural designs for the library and in March 2014 the board approved  the construction of the library. Finally, the hope of a place where these young students could read and learn and study was becoming real.


I travelled to Mexico in April 2014 to visit Casa de Jesus in  Morelia and Pachuca, Mexico which is the location of a second Gud Foundation girls education project.  From those travels I brought back photos and videos that told the story of many girls who live there (past and present).
We also met a self-employed single mother who told me her story and how grateful she is for programs like ours that send girls to school.


Shoes lead to cash, and a building!


In July, we began making a list of items that would furnish the library and learning center we were working to build. A computer was a key necessity! So the Gud Foundation partnered with Shoes With Heart to collect gently used shoes that we could donate for cash. The fundraiser ran from August to September and we collected 1430 pounds of shoes!


At the same time, construction of the new library began in August and by mid September it was completed. It was so exciting to post photos of the library’s building progress, including all the excited faces of the girls who would enjoy and benefit from the space!
The library is beautiful and fully functional.  It is used as a learning center where the girls study or take classes.


Our year is at an end, their learning is just beginning


Earlier this month I made my way back to Morelia to make an official finish of the library project with the purchase of the computer and some furniture. A plaque was posted in the space: “Gud Foundation Biblioteca”. We can all be honored knowing that students will use the space to its fullest potential. Here is a video I took of the Blessing Ceremony for the library. I love how the priest blessed the students AND the space! I think he has the right idea.

This is a completion of our dream of helping educate girls at Casa de Jesus by enhancing their learning experience.
This was an outstanding first year! I am grateful to our supporters and organizers who enabled us to execute our plans with great success. The Gud Foundation exists for girls who live in countries where basic education is rare and often an opportunity they will not likely have.We are looking forward to extending our network in 2015 in an effort to make education accessible for girls in all countries throughout the world. Educate Girls, Empower Nations. Will you join us? Please help us educate girls by making a donation to the Gud Foundation today.Thank you for your support and we will talk again soon!


click to learn more about the purpose and vision of the Gud Foundation

Library Construction Update in Pictures: Casa de Jesus Learning Center

i Aug 28th No Comments by

Executive Director Laura Gudmundson-Tillson was onsite at Casa de Jesus in Morelia last week. She reports that builders are making great progress and brought back a photo update.

First, here is a video of the space before construction began:

If library construction keeps up this progress, the Learning Center could be complete in September 2014

A student looks on as the ceiling to the Learning Center are being painted prior to installing overhead lighting. Do you think she's ready to get in there and do some homework?

A student looks on as the ceiling to the Learning Center are being painted prior to installing overhead lighting. Do you think she’s ready to get in there and do some homework?

What a difference from when work was begun:

After walls, floors, lighting and and shelves…What’s next?

Next will come desks, furniture, books….and SHOES?  What the Gud Foundation is working so hard now to provide for Morelia’s school girls is computers. To raise money for Learning Center computers, The Gud Foundation’s Shoe Drive is going on now until September 15! We are working with Shoes with Heart to recycle shoes and will be paid by the pound.  We are at 20% of our goal.

Bag up all of your unwanted gently used shoes! Tennis shoes, casual shoes, dress shoes, boots, cleats, soccer shoes and any other type of shoes that are in wearable condition.

Click here to get a recap of the Gud Foundation shoe drive and details on how you can help out!

Resale Items Fund Amenities for Girls Education

i May 2nd No Comments by

by Laura Gudmundson-Tillson, Gud Foundation Executive Director

in the beginning, garage sale finds translated to a patched roof and dry clothes for schoolgirls

Before we had the capability to accept donations from this blog and Facebook page, much of the funds raised to help educate girls through the Gud Foundation came from a little booth in a San Diego gift shop. I started by purchasing items at garage sales to resell. In the first year we earned enough money to purchase a clothes dryer for the Casa de Jesus girls residence in Morelia, Mexico.

casa de jesus dryer

The second year we used some of the money from the sales to purchase tables and chairs for the home. We were also able to buy underwear and socks for the little girls to wear with their school uniforms. Even our family dentist donated a box of toothpaste samples!  Then our earnings at the resale booth helped with waterproofing the worn-out rooftop at Casa de Jesus  last summer.  It was just in time too! Part of the roof at Casa de Jesus was falling in and there was a huge leak that looked like a waterfall.  The locals who came into our storefront in California purchased home decor and gift items and helped pay for some of the construction materials to fix that leak.

There are are no federal funds to help maintain the girls residence

The nuns at Casa de Jesus in Morelia and other “casas” throughout Mexico receive a stipend from the church. With only 800 Mexican pesos per month (less than $65 US Dollars), the nuns must find a way to keep the house functioning. They meet the needs of the girls through their own efforts, donations and parent contributions.  casa de jesus courtyard

This system has worked for nearly 100 years! The nuns have a vow of poverty and a mission to keep the girls safe, well cared-for and educated. More than the basics, these nuns provide to them dignity, self respect and knowledge that they are special.

casa de jesus Nuns

If you are in the Escondido, CA area, visit Laurel Glen and help us build a library

The money to remodel a room at Casa de Jesus into a library and study hall for girls will be funded directly from online donations and sales of the booth. Look for items sold by “Vendor #22.” Proceeds from your purchases go directly to the Gud Foundation’s mission to educate girls. This week our booth has been busy adding many new items.  I have bought new jewelry from Bali for the Gud Foundation’s booth as well as a new line of vintage cups and napkins. All are great options for Mothers Day gifts.

There is a “Cruising Grand event every Friday until October. Grand Avenue where our storefront is located will be closed to traffic except vintage cars.. During this event the Avenue is filled with people and so is the store!  Some of us vendors are there to meet and greet, and I share as much as I can about The Gud Foundation and its work to support and educate girls. It is very busy!  Last week during the event I sold several small items that will be added to the Casa de Jesus Library Fund.

Nowhere near our gift store? Donate online and help The Gud Foundation support institutions that educate girls.

You can make a monthly or one-time donation of any amount. Donations can also be designated specifically for the new library for the little girls in Morelia, Mexico. Keep up with our latest activities, make donations, and interact with us on our Gud Foundation Facebook page. In the future, my hope is to bring the items our store booth for sale online. Until then, you’ll just have to stop by and see us in person :)