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Our Mission

Is to empower and equip leaders to transform their communities through capacity-building programs.

We believe that solutions to poverty, injustice, and inequality must be led by community insiders.

Therefore, Cultivate exists to empower & equip community insiders and their allies through capacity-building programs to transform their communities through community-led development.

We work with people domestically and internationally to help them launch and lead nonprofit organizations (or NGOs, INGOs, or charitable organizations) that address their community's struggles against poverty, oppression, racism, injustice & marginalization, so that they can be community changemakers.

Core Values

We champion the inherent value and potential in all people.

We believe that empowerment through education is the key to social transformation.

We believe in equity, justice, and liberty for all people.

We prioritize accountability, transparency, humility, service to others, truthfulness, forgiveness, and second chances.

We seek to serve the greater good in communities and our world.

We believe passion to serve can fuel potential to change.

We lead with faith for a better world.

We believe in the importance of physical, spiritual, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

We will not do anything for someone that they can do for themselves.

Our Team

Elaine Tymchak
Founder & Executive Director

Elaine is a Brazilian native with a Masters in International Development, and has over 17 years of philanthropic and community development experience. Through teaching, advocacy, and challenging the status quo, she has dedicated her life to changing how the world does charity. An avid lover of people, knowledge, and the world’s diversity of culture, she is using her talents, experiences, and networks to build a global movement through Cultivate.

Rebecca Morse
Programs & Organizational Manager

Rebecca graduated with a bachelor’s degree in World Politics. She has volunteered with international students and refugee organizations for 15 years, and worked in the non-profit sector for 5 of those years. Her travels have led her to serve communities in the Dominican Republic, Bosnia, Tanzania, and Thailand. Her true passion is to serve and help others. She is excited to be a part of helping others find their true potential in leading their communities!

Vanessa Edwards
Operations Specialist

Vanessa brings over 26 years of nonprofit experience to her role with Cultivate, along with a Masters in Community Ministry Leadership.

Ryan Hertel
Board President

Channel Sales Manager

Erik Minter
Board Treasurer

Senior Manager, Enterprise Partnerships at Target

Jennifer Freeman
Founding Board Member

Professor of Arts & Theology at United Theological Seminary

Busisiwe Hands
Board Member
Programs Committee Chair

Principal Consultant at
Akhani Consulting

Alexa Peters Posner
Board Member
Fundraising Committee Chair

M-HRIR Candidate, Carlson School of Management

Anthony Boaten
Programs Committee Advisory Member

Operations Manager

Join our board! Learn more here.

Need to chat with someone on our board?
We ask you reach out to our board members only with questions or concerns about Cultivate's governance, financial matters, or other board-level questions. Contact us at cultivateboard@gmail.com.

Our History

Though Cultivate was started in early 2016, the idea for it came to me in 2010 while I was sitting on a patio in Nairobi, Kenya. I had just finished my Masters of International Development, and was in deep thought about the difficulties that I was seeing in Kenya, all around me. An idea came to me, and it looked like this...

For several years, I was seeing that all the communities that I would visit and work in, there were always a few things in common.

  • The "charity" that was being given was almost always at the hands of privileged outsiders, not community insiders.
  • There were always leaders within these communities that were compelled to do more, but often felt stuck or ill-equipped.

I questioned these things. Why did communities that struggled with poverty and injustices have to wait for an outsider to come in with what they needed? How was this connected to a community's unfortunate history with oppression and colonialism? What prevented a community from taking the reins of its own growth and future? And if there were leaders that were ready and willing to do something, why did they see themselves as stuck or ill-equipped?

As time passed, the idea for Cultivate began to take form. I learned that for anyone to do something successfully, three things must be in place:

  • This person needs to have the necessary skills or understanding to do whatever he or she wishes to do.
  • This person must have the necessary resources to accomplish his or her goal.
  • This person must surround him or herself with people who can help. Very little in life is accomplished truly with no help from others. Community is a must.

I began to see the potential that each community and each person has. Potential, that if fueled by passion, could accomplish more than anyone could imagine.

And this is how the idea for Cultivate was born - that if a passionate person could access skills, resources, and people, this person could accomplish so much. He or she could be the change-maker that their community needs.

Fast forward to 2015, and I now knew that Cultivate needed to become a reality. This was my passion that I could not contain. I started to build the skills and understanding that I needed, and surrounded myself with people who would help me access the resources and support that I knew were crucial. Within months, Cultivate International was a reality.

Since the very beginning, I have been able to take credit for very little of what Cultivate is becoming and the impact that we are having. People have given generously to Cultivate - of their resources, of their talents, of their networks, and of their encouragement. Almost always, our needs are filled unexpectedly in surprising and miraculous ways. There is a momentum to our mission that others are catching on, and it fills me with so much joy. I know that there is so much in store for our future, and I cannot wait to see what's around the corner!

Now the question is - how will you join this movement?

Elaine Tymchak
Founder & Executive Director