Changing Lives through Information in Central America

About Us

by riecken_admin | August 12, 2010

William Cartright is the current President and CEO of the Riecken Foundation.  Bill also serves on the Board of Directors.  For four years Bill has also been the Country Director based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras where he oversees that country’s 53 community libraries.

Bill grew up in Rhode Island and Chicago, graduated from Northeastern Illinois University and the DePaul University College of Law, and served in the  Peace Corps in Costa Rica.  As a human rights lawyer Bill has managed many human rights programs in Latin America.  He has also served as a staff attorney at the OAS Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica and was the Deputy Director of De Paul University College of Law’s International Human Rights Law Institute.

During a recent interview Bill said “When I first heard about Riecken and the libraries I thought they sounded very unique.  After one visit to the libraries I was sold. I was very attracted to the idea of the community libraries and how they became central institutions in rural municipalities in Honduras and Guatemala.  Riecken libraries are very alive and offer many options to rural community members that formerly were not available.”

Bill went on to say “The biggest challenge facing the Riecken Foundation at this point is to recover from the worldwide economic crisis.  For seven years the Foundation was part of the vision of its sole Founder and financial supporter, Allen Andersson.  The crisis has forced the Foundation and network of libraries to reexamine its funding base and self-sustainability.  Right now we are grappling with all of these issues.  Unfortunately, during the change from a family foundation to a public organization, Riecken did not have the luxury of a lengthy transition.  The crisis hit the Foundation fast and hard.  But we are working with new board members on restructuring and becoming yet more efficient.  We search for natural outside partners to fill the void of a one donor system.  In the long run this will make the foundation even stronger and more diverse.”

The Country Director for Guatemala is Paul Guggenheim.  Paul’s academic, professional and volunteer activities in community development and environmental health have taken him to ten countries in Latin America.  Paul, who grew up in the Boston area, holds a MA in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University and a BA in Anthropology from Ithaca College.

Prior to joining the Riecken Foundation, at the Field Museum in Chicago, Paul oversaw conservation education initiatives in the 10,000 square mile buffer zone surrounding Amazonian Peru’s Corillera Azul National Park. Paul has also served as a street educator at Casa Alianza in Managua, Nicaragua, as a Peace Corps volunteer building water systems in Honduras, and as a field supervisor and project director for the volunteer organization, Amigos de las Americas in Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua.  He has been an external program reviewer for Children International and  Paul currently serves on the board of directors of ArtCorps, an organization that uses art as a tool for sustainable development in Central America.

Paul came to the Riecken Foundation in Guatemala with a strong commitment to helping marginalized communities help themselves.  The Riecken model enables communities to take actions towards better local organization and future projection based on their own interests and needs.  Part of what attracted Paul to Riecken was the freshness of the mission.  Paul takes pride in knowing that he is a facilitator in providing opportunities for others to generate unique opportunities for themselves and their communities and to be better prepared and competitive in a radically shrinking world.

Luis Quino is the Projects Manager for the Riecken Foundation in Guatemala and has been with the organization since 2004.  In his current role Luis has implemented the global strategy for the network of libraries in Guatemala.  He coordinates training activities and local sustainability strategies to ensure that the quality of programming is consistent in all of the libraries and that the communities actively manage their libraries with commitment and creativity.

Luis studied Fine Arts, Media and Art History as an undergraduate at Guatemala’s San Carlos University and obtained a Masters’ degree in Primary Education at the Instituto Normal para Varones “Antonio Larrazábal”.  In addition to teaching high school arts, Luis has taught Spanish to foreigners and was a Culture and Language facilitator for the US Peace Corps.  He has also worked at the Rafael Landivar University Library in Antigua.  In his spare time Luis, a musician, plays with a rock band in venues around Antigua.

Board of Directors
Allen Andersson is chairman of Paperboy Ventures, which he founded in 2003 to develop new science ventures in biotechnology and clean energy.  As a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1960’s, Allen taught calculus at the Universidad Nacional in Honduras.  For three decades, he has started new software companies to develop new technologies in desktop publishing, medical imagery, computational linguistics and telecommunications.  He founded the Riecken Foundation in 2000 and served as its president until 2008.

Malcolm Butler is senior vice-president of Management Systems International, a development consulting firm assisting nations around the world to provide better lives for their people.  He has served in the Department of State, the Office of Management and Budget and the National Security Council.  As a Career Minister of the U.S. Agency for International Development, he was mission director in Bolivia, Peru, Lebanon and the Philippines; he guided reconstruction aid to Lebanon, famine relief in Ethiopia and U.S. Economic support for the Philippines’ return to democracy.  Malcom also created the Bureau for Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States.  Later he was president of Partners for the Americas, Pax World Services and, in 2008 and 2009, of the Riecken Foundation.

James Wilson is chairman of the Riecken Foundation Board of Directors.  He is also the chairman of two biomedical companies, Concept Therapeutics and NuGEN.  For three decades he has been a chief executive or director of biotechnology companies including Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Amira Medical, Syntex, Neurex and LifeScan.  Today, he also serves on the boards of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and the Stepping Stone Foundation .  James has also served as a director of the Insight Prison Project at San Quentin and of the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation.