Our grant program provides direct funding and technical support to Indigenous communities worldwide to ensure that their ancestral wisdom can continue to flourish for generations to come.
Our awarenes initatives provide opportunities for people to experience ancestral wisdom directly from Indigenous Elders, either through in-person gatherings or digital media, with practical advice for integrating this wisdom into your life.
Our Wisdom Treasure Award honors the work of Elders who have demonstrated lifelong achievement in bringing wisdom, leadership and learning to their people and their community.
Sacred Fire Foundation Staff & Board Members
Before his spiritual calling, David worked as a management consultant in Atlanta, Georgia where he developed team performance models for clients and later became an international trade consultant within the U.S., Canada and México. In the mid 1990’s he underwent a series of life changing experiences that guided him to elders in both Nahua and Huichol work in México. These Peoples and their ceremonial leaders recognized an ancestral connection in David to their traditions and brought him into years of apprenticeship. He is now a Tsaurirrikame (fully initiated elder shaman) in the Huichol tradition and a Temachtian (elder granicero or “weather worker”) in the Nahua tradition. His primary responsibilities are as a counselor, traditional healer and ceremonial leader to his local, Tepoztlán, México, and international community (Sacred Fire Community) where he sits on a variety of councils and governing bodies.
President of the Board
Keiko lives in Marina del Rey, CA where she has a healing practice as an acupuncturist, herbalist and a mará akáme (initiated medicine woman) in the Huichol tradition. She earned a BA in Psychology from UCLA and a Master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches Institute. Her leadership and administrative background includes past work as the Academic Dean of Yo San University and Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine. She served as a volunteer Co-Executive Officer with the Blue Deer Center for 7 years, and as the volunteer Executive Director of the Sacred Fire Foundation for 3 years.
Alan currently dedicates his life to serving his community in Santa Monica, CA as an initiated firekeeper and mará akáme (healer) in the Huichol tradition. In his former career, he founded and led a successful intermodal transportation company, serving Southern California for 28 years. He volunteered his time, leadership, and financial skills on the Board, Steering Committee, and Financial Advisory Team of the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center of Southern California, a not-for-profit organization. He received his education at the University of California at Los Angeles, majoring in finance and accounting.
Artemia Fabre Zarandona
Board of Trustees, Grant Review Committee
Artemia is native to México and holds a PhD in Social Anthropology. Since 1988 her main work has been in research and in teaching in different Universities in México specializing in the anthropology of religion and judicial anthropology. Artemia regularly conducts seminars and postgraduate courses about Indigenous rights, cultural diversity and the intercultural dialogue for legal representatives of Indigenous people, lawyers, judges, human rights advocates and public employees. She is an advisor to anthropologists and lawyers in judicial process where Indigenous individuals or groups require expertise in their culture, judicial system and values.
Board of Trustees, Grant Review Committee
From Brookfield, MA, Gwen majored in Psychology and later became a doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Gwen is an initiated mará akáme (healer) in the Huichol tradition and plays an important community role as a fire keeper for her hamlet. She has had a successful patient care practice for 20 years that now includes deep shamanic healing as well. Gwen was a strong volunteer on a committee that produced city master plans over a two-year period.
Kim joins us with 20 years of experience working in the social sector as an Executive Director, Event Producer and Strategic Development Consultant. Her ED experience includes Terra Conservation Initiative, and two non-profits which she founded: Indigenous Land Rights Fund and Journey to the Heart. Prior to her work in the world of social change, Kim enjoyed nearly 20 years in the music business as a promotion executive, working with five major labels. No matter where her journey has taken her and for as long as she can remember, she has been drawn to Indigenous cultures. Kim believes very strongly that now more than ever we have much to learn from our Indigenous brothers and sisters. Kim lives with her partner and a variety of wild creatures who frequent their home in the hills above Santa Fe, NM.
Director of Grantmaking, Grant Review Committee
Mercedes is a philanthropy and non-for-profit specialist for international programs. Her areas of expertise include grant making program design and coordination, board governance, and cross-sector and U.S.-Mexico binational partnerships for social development. Her fields of focus include human rights – particularly migrants and indigenous people’s rights – disaster philanthropy, and strengthening civil society. She received her master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy in New York, and a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Universidad Iberoamericana inMexico City. She strongly believes in the value of protecting and promoting cultural diversity and the importance of recognizing Indigenous wisdom as a heritage for humanity. She loves music and dancing and has a beautiful son named Michael.
Social Media, Digital Branding, Communications & Marketing Manager
Alison Gottschalk currently manages social media, digital branding, communications and marketing campaigns at Sacred Fire Foundation. She has ten years of experience as an independent freelancer handling corporate branding, product positioning, website creation, social marketing, SEO & CRM strategies, for small to large businesses, and passionately supports non-profits bringing wisdom to this world. She was raised in the suburbs of Washington D.C. learning about cultures & languages, organizational development, branding, design and marketing strategies along with multi-platform coding. Eager to seek out more independent causes, she made her way to México, built her own business, became a proud mother of two energetic girls, and has now joined Sacred Fire Foundation with the singular goal of making sure the activities, grant programs, and messages of wisdom from our organization reach the largest possible audience online today.
Sherry was the founding President of Sacred Fire Foundation in 2005 and served on the Board through 2010. She has remained a loyal volunteer ever since in various capacities, currently in a capacity to support donor relations. Sherry spent many years in business and then as a teacher in a holistic health capacity. Currently, she is Owner of the website Love Is Round. Her passion is to show people experientially how connected and related they/we are with spirit, and to help them receive personal spiritual guidance for their lives. Sherry teaches the Sacred Fire Community’s Lifeways program “Exploring the Phenomenon of Prayer”, and is initiated as a Granicera (Weather Worker) in the Nahua ancestral tradition. She lives in Victoria, Canada.
A water sprite by nature, Wendy has nevertheless spent the majority of her adult life nestled amongst the saguaro of the American Southwest. She has held a wide variety of jobs over the years, ranging from fire lookout to teacher, public health nurse to massage therapist. What stirs her heart most is sitting in stillness feeling the bounty of the natural world flow through. She deeply honors the mission of the Sacred Fire Foundation, and in her own words, “is thrilled to shower our precious donors with gratitude.”