Community Empowerment

Grassroots Community Development



We support collaborative, data-driven development initiatives led by local community residents

At Puente, we believe that the only people who can truly turn a community around are its own residents. That’s why our strategy is to empower home-grown leaders who can facilitate positive change in their own regions over the course of a lifetime, not a single project. This strategy is exemplified by our core grassroots development initiative: an intensive training program in the Dominican Republic that teaches motivated locals to be advocates for sustainable growth in their home communities.

Our model also provides access to significant community needs data, and partnerships with NGOs who help us collect that data. We leverage these assets to create more meaningful change, connecting partner organizations with Puente volunteers and other local leaders who can work with them to address problems seen in the data. By connecting capable leaders (local and foreign) and sharing data insights, we create community ecosystems that are more conducive to good development.

We empower motivated locals to take charge of the ongoing development of their home communities

Our volunteers are Dominican residents with a passion for community organization and development. We educate them on the principles of good development, then work with them to apply those principles in real-world settings and initiate positive change.

Puente volunteers wear many hats. They survey fellow residents using the Puente app, connect us with community leaders, and provide critical context on what residents really care about. Ultimately, these insights from translate to actionable project plans, and we ask volunteers to actively lead the projects they help design.

Active Puente Volunteers
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Individuals Surveyed by Volunteers
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Individuals Educated by Volunteers

puente projects

We catalyze change by working with our volunteers and NGO partners to develop and implement sustainable initiatives

Puente cares deeply about the real impact of our platform. As a nonprofit, we’re able to step in and take action when urgent needs are identified and lives can be changed or saved. We support select community projects that meet the following criteria:

  • Data-Driven. We gather baseline data to quantify and frame problems, then implement a plan of action. Ultimately, this baseline data holds us accountable by creating a clear "before" picture that can be compared against project results.
  • Locally-Led. Puente volunteers and other community leaders take the lead on our projects, as they're best equipped to organize residents and maintain project results over time. Community recipients also contribute at least 25% of the total project costs (often with labor in-kind) to ensure they're invested in the project's success.
  • Collaborative. NGOs and local leaders can solve bigger problems when they share resources and work together. Our projects provide opportunities for partners to play smaller roles in addressing larger problems, allowing everyone in the ecosystem to do their part without taking on more than they can chew.