Loyola University Chicago

Ignatian Heritage Month

2021 Recipient

Gracia receives 2021 Martyrs Award

Loyola University Chicago has selected Gracia as the 2021 recipient of the Martyrs Award. 

Each year the Martyrs Award commemorates a faith-based individual or organization that champions social justice issues and serves marginalized communities. It was created in 2015 to continue the legacy of the eight Salvadoran martyrs who were killed in 1989 for speaking out against the government and advocating for the poor. The award includes a $25,000 grant and is presented annually in November in conjunction with Ignatian Heritage Month.

Gracia‚Äôs mission is to economically empower young women in Guatemala. Economic empowerment is more than a paycheck: it means young women can earn income and possess both the confidence and independence needed to make financial decisions.

We Provide Opportunity.

In Guatemala, 55% of the population live below the poverty line. Many have little to no income. They live in unsafe environments and most suffer from hunger and malnourishment. Young women are without a voice in society, they lack access to education and are subject to discrimination. Gracia provides the curriculum and leadership training to develop self-confidence, inspiring young women to change their course.

We Inspire Change.

The Gracia Entrepreneur Training Program (G.E.T.) and its social enterprise, Milagros, provide opportunities and resources needed to actualize economic empowerment: G.E.T. provides curriculum and leadership training to develop self-confidence, and Milagros is the product arm where the girls earn income through jewelry sales.

We Listen

Many girls pursue degrees in teaching or in basic business administration, but these positions are virtually non-existent in rural Guatemala. Knowing this, Gracia listened to their needs, focused on their aspirations, and created its G.E.T. program to give young women the tools needed to create their own success.

We Train

Gracia trains a group of 20 young women to make quality, handcrafted jewelry and accessories. They learn to manage the logistics, inventory, marketing and sale of Milagros products. These are transferrable skills, enabling them to earn income throughout their lifetimes.

We Create Opportunities

Gracia is not a charity; we provide opportunities for young women to create change for themselves. Each job provides the potential for economic advancement that will impact the girls, their families and their communities.