Our Mission

“AIR’s mission is to implement educational programs, reforestation, and regenerative farming methods in Central America in order to protect water sources, build soil health, prevent mudslides and erosion, prevent lung disease and provide more nutritious crops—while protecting the Earth. We choose Hope.”

Our Story

In 1991, Anne Hallum was a political science professor at Stetson University in Florida, going through a difficult personal time of loneliness and loss. When Stetson announced that they needed a professor to take a few students on a trip to Guatemala Anne recklessly volunteered. She had never had a passport to travel anywhere, she didn’t speak Spanish, and she knew little about Guatemala. But she learned quickly—and was haunted by the rural hunger and malnutrition she saw in Escuintla Guatemala, by the barren mountainsides and mudslides everywhere, by the strength of the people and the inspirational words of Padre Andres Girón. As Anne says, “God rescued me in Guatemala, and I found his purpose for my life.”

It was not long after their first trip to Guatemala that a student suggested to Dr. Hallum that they form an organization. “It was just the catalyst that I needed so we came up with the ambitious name, “Alliance for International Reforestation,” with the handy “AIR” acronym.” They had a luncheon with a few people they thought would be interested—including an environmental philanthropist who shared the vision then—and still does. She gave the first substantial gift and Anne returned to Guatemala to hire the staff one by one.

Our Mission

“AIR’s mission is to implement educational programs, reforestation, and regenerative farming methods in Central America in order to protect water sources, build soil health, prevent mudslides and erosion, prevent lung disease and provide more nutritious crops—while protecting the Earth. We choose Hope.”

Our Story

In 1991, Anne Hallum was a political science professor at Stetson University in Florida, going through a difficult personal time of loneliness and loss. When Stetson announced that they needed a professor to take a few students on a trip to Guatemala Anne recklessly volunteered. She had never had a passport to travel anywhere, she didn’t speak Spanish, and she knew little about Guatemala. But she learned quickly—and was haunted by the rural hunger and malnutrition she saw in Escuintla Guatemala, by the barren mountainsides and mudslides everywhere, by the strength of the people and the inspirational words of Padre Andres Girón. As Anne says, “God rescued me in Guatemala, and I found his purpose for my life.”

It was not long after their first trip to Guatemala that a student suggested to Dr. Hallum that they form an organization. “It was just the catalyst that I needed so we came up with the ambitious name, “Alliance for International Reforestation,” with the handy “AIR” acronym.” They had a luncheon with a few people they thought would be interested—including an environmental philanthropist who shared the vision then—and still does. She gave the first substantial gift and Anne returned to Guatemala to hire the staff one by one.

Our Team

All salaried staff members of AIR are Guatemalan professionals. Through our efficiency, experience, and many volunteer hours, we are able to channel an extraordinary 92% of your donations directly to the fieldwork and programs in Guatemala.

  • Anne M. Hallum
    FOUNDER

    Dr. Anne Hallum started AIR after traveling to Guatemala with university students on a research trip and witnessing the rural poverty and deforestation. Twenty-five years later, AIR’s Guatemalan staff have hundreds of successful projects and with volunteers, have planted over 5.5 million trees.

  • Cecilia Ramirez
    EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    Cecilia Ramirez has been the Executive Director since 1996. She has a Degree in Business Administration from the Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala City, and has been an invited member of three Boards of Directors in Guatemala that work in forestry and micro-businesses (INCOFIN, MECOFOR V, ADAM). Sra. Ramirez’s organizational and motivational talent is a key reason for AIR’s accountability and extraordinary efficiency in which productivity increases year after year.

  • Lidia Otzoy
    ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

    Lidia was a scholarship student with AIR, before she became our valuable AA. She is Kaqchikel Maya and bilingual.

You?

AIR's work in dozens of communities would not be possible without your Donations. You may also be involved as a Volunteer for a week in June - contact Anne for information. Read stories here from past trips.

Board Members

Technicians

Our field technicians are specialists trained in agro-forestry and environmental engineering. They are Guatemalan professionals who come from the area where AIR works and are able to communicate in the native language of Kaqchikel and Quiche, as well as Spanish.

Standing, left, Don Miguel Lopez; standing, right is Josue Ajcalon; seated, left to right: Juan Leja Tax; Luis Iquique Socoy; and Pedro Miguel Lopez.

Board Members

  • Anne M. Hallum - Chairperson – Atlanta, GA

    Rachel M. Hallum-Montes - Belmont, CA

    Lorna Jean Hagstrom - Director – Agriculturalist,Community Activist, Philanthropist - DeLand, FL

    Candace Lankford - Director – Philanthropist, Chair of County School Board – DeLand, FL

    Ken McCoy - Director – Professor of Theatre Arts and Latin American Studies - Stetson University – DeLand, FL

    Robert McIntosh - Director – Attorney, Peace Corps Volunteer, Philanthropist – Sanford, FL

    Glenda Gray - Director - Actress, Philanthropist – Alpharetta, GA

  • C. McFerrin Smith– Circuit Court Judge, Philanthropist – DeLand, FL

    Rev. Lawrence Cuthill– Presbyterian Pastor (PCUSA) – Welaka, FL

    Christopher Stubbs – Director – Founding President, Link Staffing Services – Rotary International Liaison - Sanford, FL

    Mark Boggs - Transportation Engineer; Raleigh, NC

    Michael L. Lupsha - Events Manager, Atlanta, GA;

    Cecilia Ramirez - Executive Director, AIR, Inc., Chimaltenango, Guatemala