What is a pulsera?
"Pulsera" is the Spanish word for bracelet.
What is the Pulsera Project?
The Pulsera Project is a 501 c3 non-profit organization that enriches Central American communities and U.S. students through empowerment and education. We partner with U.S. student volunteers to sell colorful, hand-woven pulseras made by over 200 artisans in Nicaragua & Guatemala.
Pulsera sale proceeds sustain employment for Central American artists in addition to funding educational programs, scholarships, women & youth empowerment, fair trade advocacy, social enterprise, and artisan benefits such as housing & healthcare. Our projects are guided by a philosophy of empowerment. Rather than giving things to people, we empower people with the skills, opportunities, and education that allows them to provide for themselves and their communities.
Is the Pulsera Project "Fair Trade" certified?
Yes, we are an official member of the Fair Trade Federation.
Does the Pulsera Project have any religious or political affiliation?
No, we have no political or religious affiliation.
How much do pulseras cost?
For the first time since the project began in 2009, in 2022 we increased the price of pulseras to $7 and bolsitas to $15. We did this to maintain our commitments to Fair Trade and to reflect the project’s changing reality – inflation has affected living costs around the world and the costs of running The Pulsera Project's educational program in the U.S. We are also now partnering with artisans in other Central American countries with higher costs of living than in Nicaragua.
Keeping our pulseras affordable for as many students as possible is a long-standing goal of the project, so we’re sad to have to raise the price from $5. By making this change, we not only reaffirm our commitment to creating Fair Trade jobs and economic mobility, but also to expand the project’s focus and scope throughout Central America.
Who makes the pulseras?
As of 2022 pulseras are made predominantly by a range of artisan groups in Guatemala, although we do still have some remaining partnerships with artisans in Nicaragua as well.
Please see our "Pulsera Artists" page for more details on the artisans we work with.
How big is the Pulsera Project? How many pulseras have been sold?
In 2009 we started selling pulseras at one Pennsylvania school and sold them out of our backpacks to friends & family. Since then, U.S. student & teacher volunteers in more than 3,600 schools have sold over 1,000,000 pulseras and have raised more than $6,000,000 dollars for the project’s mission.
Despite these numbers, the Pulsera Project has remained small at its core, with only three full-time employees in the U.S. and a small crew in Central America. See the team page for more info on our team!
What do you do with the pulsera sale proceeds?
Funds raised from pulsera sales are reinvested in three main areas:
1.) Continued employment for artisans in Central America
2.) Artisan benefits such as healthcare, housing, scholarships, legal services, and more.
3.) Grants given to social impact organizations in Central America. The list of organizations and
programs that we fund is constantly evolving, but through these grants we fund everything from secondary education, university scholarships, environmental programs, youth & women empowerment, emergency relief services, small social enterprises, and more.
Like all organizations, we also have to buy paper, ink, postage and other necessities. The Pulsera Project has three full-time paid employees in the U.S -- Chris Howell, Colin Crane, and Jillian Bonner. Their duties include coordinating hundreds of pulsera school sales every year, managing pulsera inventory, making educational content and videos, working on social media outreach and web design, speaking to student groups, and handling all other day-to-day operations of the Pulsera Project -- including counting tens of thousands of pulseras every semester!
Please see our programs page for more information on who & what we support!
See our most recent Year-End Review for a snapshot of the types of things that we support in a given year.
How can I get involved?
The primary way that you can get involved with the Pulsera Project is by leading a pulsera sale at your school! Pulsera school sales raise 99% of the money that we use to fund all of our programs in Central America, and are by far the most effective way of being a part of the Pulsera Project.
Getting involved is super easy, super fun, and completely free! Check out our get involved page for more info, and then take some time to read through our comprehensive "Pulsera Sale Guide" for a more in-depth look at what it's like to lead a pulsera sale.
If you have questions at any time, please feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I find independent information about the Pulsera Project?
Guidestar is one of the world’s leading sources of non-profit and charity information. Here is a link to our Guidestar page.
You can also review IRS Publication 78 to confirm that we are a registered non-profit organization. Here’s an IRS link. Our W-9 form and nonprofit registration letter can be downloaded here:
Since tax returns often reflect information that is up to a year old, below is a link to our year-end project update.
I don't live in the U.S., can I still lead a pulsera sale?
We are extremely sad to say that at this time we are unable to set up pulsera sales outside of the United States due to issues with customs, import fees, and other bureaucratic hurdles.