MEET THE BOARD!

Mateo Pomilia

Mateo Pomilia

Founder

Mateo is the Chaco Fund’s treasurer. He served in Peace Corps Bolivia’s agriculture and forestry extension from 2007-8. Mateo’s experience living and working in Iñiguazu, one of the remotest villages in the Bolivian Chaco, has underpinned his life’s trajectory since the Peace Corps. He now works as an exploratory biologist, and has led conservation research and education projects in wild areas of the United States, Africa, and Latin America over the past decade. Mateo is an avid outdoorsman, linguist, and singer-songwriter. He currently resides in Chicago.

Micheal Turner

Micheal Turner

Co-Chair

Michael has over 10 years of experience working on a broad range of renewable energy and sustainability initiatives, domestically and abroad.  His professional work has focused on conducting economic impact assessments, policy analysis, and strategic program deployment on a state and national level.  He holds an MA in Energy Policy from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Colorado College Michael served as an Environmental Education Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia where he conducted GPS deforestation assessments in rural Bolivian and created an environmental commission CLIMA (La Comisión Local Interinstitucional Del Medio Ambiente) to research and address environmental challenges in his community. His service in Bolivia was formative, teaching him the value of partnerships in building successful environmental campaigns and the global effort required to protect our planet. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado. 

Jacqueline Brysacz

Jacqueline Brysacz

Co-Chair

Jacqueline Brysacz is a nurse practitioner and public health specialist currently based out of Pennsylvania. She served as an agriculture volunteer in the Chaco with the US Peace Corps from 2007-08, focusing on community beekeeping initiatives. Her experience in the Chaco led her to a career focused on reducing barriers to health and well-being for low resource populations. She currently works as a family nurse practitioner in a community health center, serving all comers regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. She loves her family, triathalons, and hikes with her dog Frankie.

Cesar Pérez Hurtado

Cesar Pérez Hurtado

Advisor

César is a former Fulbright scholar with a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the State University of New York. He has broad experience in forest and water conservation, and in creating capacity for sustainable natural resource management among local government and grassroots institutions. César is a part-time lecturer in the College of Architecture at Bolivia’s Universidad Católica, and directs Fundación Gaia Pacha, an environmental non-profit which he founded in 2006.
Mark Dries

Mark Dries

Secretary

Mark is currently the secretary for the Chaco Fund.  He served with several of the other officers in Peace Corps Bolivia from 2007-2008, working in support of a local beekeepers association and growing a substantial beard.  Since returning to the US, Mark completed a PhD in Latin American History and currently teaches at Eastern Illinois University. Even when Mark should be working, he is probably spending time with his wife and four children.

Beth Stierman

Beth Stierman

Board Member at Large

Beth Stierman is a public health professional with ten years of experience developing and implementing health programs in Africa and Latin America. Beth began her career in public health as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia (2007-2008), where she worked with local partners on the “Viviendas Saludables” (Healthy Homes) project to improve housing conditions and access to basic sanitation in rural communities. Following Peace Corps, Beth worked as a health educator with a HIV counseling and testing center in northern Uganda. She then spent seven years as a program manager and technical advisor with an international non-profit organization, including assignments in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the organization’s headquarters in Baltimore. She is now working on a PhD in International Health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Maritza Chacay Guayupari

Maritza Chacay Guayupari

Advisor

Maritza Chacay Guayupari is a native Chaqueña of Guaraní origin. Maritza taught Guaraní language to Peace Corps volunteers from 2001-2008. She has since worked for various educational institutions including the Unibol Guaraní y Pueblos de Tierras Bajas from 2011-2017. She continues to work in primary education, a field she believes is key for the revitalization of the Guaraní Nation. She currently resides in Charagua with her parents and three sons. 
Kyle López

Kyle López

Board Member at Large

Kyla a.k.a. “Kilo” McWilliam-Lopez grew up in Santa Rosa, California. He comes from a military family which helped spur his decision to work for AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps in Bolivia. Since his days as a beekeeper in Bolivia, he has worked in a variety of fields including regional economic development, sales, international quality assurance and education. Currently, he works in Disaster Services for the American Red Cross in Massachusetts. Kilo is married with two children.

Phillip Breuder

Phillip Breuder

Board Member at Large

Philip a.k.a. “Felipe” served in the Peace Corps Bolivia’s agriculture and forestry extension from 2007-8.  After the Peace Corps, he attended law school in D.C. before joining the U.S. Navy as a Judge Advocate General. He is presently stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Felipe is one of nine children and enjoys exercising, reading and traveling during his free time.

Articles

Extractivism in Bolivia

Extractivism in Bolivia

While extractive industries like natural gas can spur investment in infrastructure and create jobs, Bolivia’s history provides a stark warning on the fleeting benefits of economic growth based on export commodities.
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Why the Chaco Fund

Why the Chaco Fund

“Why are we  doing this?” As members of the Chaco Fund’s Board of Directors rolled down the main highway in the Chaco on one rainy and humid day this past November, this question led to a pause in conversation.  For a moment we each sat quietly, watching the...

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Life in the Chaco

Life in the Chaco

The Chaco of South America. It owes its name to the Quechua word meaning “hunting grounds”, a testament to the profusion of wildlife including jaguar, peccary, and guanaco, that call the region home. The Chaco is marked by dry forests and scrublands...
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