Sacred Fire Foundation

Who We Are

Sacred Fire Foundation

Who We Are
The mission of Sacred Fire Foundation is two-fold: to ensure the continuance of ancestral wisdom; and to expand awareness about why the Indigenous worldview is crucial for all of us now, as well as for the future generations. We envision a global society that prioritizes balance, community, and connection, and helps to sustain all life on earth.

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.

Support Our Work

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Board of Trustees

David Wiley

Chairman

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.

 

Keiko Cronin

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 Kerner

Board Member

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 Member, Grant Review Committee Member

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 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.

 

Gwen Broz

Board Member, Grant Review Committee Member

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 a city master plan over a two-year period.

 

 

Grant Review Committee

Mercedes Caso

Director of Grantmaking, Grant Review Committee Member

Mercedes Caso is a non-profit professional with grant making, program design and management experience in the U.S. and México. In her career in the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, Mercedes has worked on multiple issues on behalf of low-income children and families, Indigenous communities, migrants, Mexican culture and people with disabilities. She served as Program Officer at the U.S.- México Foundation, where she played a key role in launching the organization. She received her master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from The New School’s Milano School for Management and Urban Policy in New York, and a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Universidad Iberoamericana in México City. Mercedes was a founding board member of Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture without Borders in New York. 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 baby boy named Michael.

 

Artemia Fabre Zarandona

Board Member, Grant Review Committee Member

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 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.

 

Gwen Broz

Board Member, Grant Review Committee Member

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 a city master plan over a two-year period.

 

 

Staff

Executive Director, Kim Langbecker

Kim Langbecker

Executive Director

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.

 

Mercedes Caso

Director of Grantmaking, Grant Review Committee Member

Mercedes Caso is a non-profit professional with grant making, program design and management experience in the U.S. and México. In her career in the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, Mercedes has worked on multiple issues on behalf of low-income children and families, Indigenous communities, migrants, Mexican culture and people with disabilities. She served as Program Officer at the U.S.- México Foundation, where she played a key role in launching the organization. She received her master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from The New School’s Milano School for Management and Urban Policy in New York, and a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Universidad Iberoamericana in México City. Mercedes was a founding board member of Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture without Borders in New York. 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 baby boy named Michael.

 

Alison Gottschalk

Social Media Manager

Alison Gottschalk is currently managing the social media and marketing campaigns at Sacred Fire Foundation. She has ten years of experience as an independent freelancer handling corporate branding, product positioning, website creation, SEO & CRM strategies, for small to large businesses, and passionately supports non-profits bringing wisdom to the world. She was raised in the suburbs of Washington D.C. learning about organizational development, team leadership strategies, and web coding. Eager to seek out more independent causes, she made her way to México, built her business, became a mother, 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.

 

Kathy German

Database Manager

Kathy lives in Austin, TX, close to her family, and she has dedicated her life to teaching, learning, and helping others through Plant Spirit Medicine, Massage Therapy, and birthing services. Kathy earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A & M University in 1991. In 2001, she had a profound healing treatment that lead her down the path of Holistic Bodywork and Healing.  She served as the Executive Center Director for the Blue Dear Center, supporting the work of bring authentic wisdom teachings to the world, and has volunteered for the Sacred Fire Community Organization for years as the Database Manager.  She is currently the Massage Therapy Program Director at Avenue Five Institute, where she loves teaching students about massage and healing.  She also maintains a private practice and teaches Massage Continuing Education around the country. Kathy loves how a database can be more than information; it can be a living connection of people around the world serving a common purpose.

 

Sherry Morgan

Donor Relations Officer

Sherry obtained tax-exempt status for Sacred Fire Foundation in 2005 and became its founding President. She continued as a volunteer member of the Board and Executive Committee until 2010. Involved since the Foundation’s inception, Sherry happily continues her support in her role as Donor Relations Officer.Sherry leads the Sacred Fire Community’s Lifeways program “Exploring the Core Basis of Prayer”. In 1998 she was initiated as a Quiatizques (Woman Bringer of the Rain) in the Nahuatl tradition of Mexico and she continues to maintain these protocols. Sherry greets the weather in beautiful Victoria, BC, Canada.

 

Wendy Brittain

Donor Gratitude

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.”

 

 

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