Project Hearts DR

Project Hearts DR (known locally as Proyecto Corazones) is a Dominican Republic based NGO. Project Hearts was informally began by Ruben Ottenwalder, Founder and Executive Director, doing what he could for his community in Baitoa, Santiago de los Caballeros. Beginning in 2006, GRACE Cares has worked with this community on several successful projects. These include a water projects, building a high school, constructing community centers, elder care homes and safe stoves. In 2011 their partnership led to the founding of Projects Hearts as an officially recognized NGO in the DR. Since then, Project Hearts has shifted its focus from short-term projects to more sustainable and community driven initiatives focused on Health, Education, and Economic Development. Donations to Hearts DR from the US can be made through GRACE Cares. To assist with, fund, or find out more about a specific project Contact Us


Drs. Zoe Kopp and T Namaya met Ruben and his family in Baitoa. Together they worked to create Project Hearts.

Our Mission is to develop individual and community awareness and leadership through participatory community projects and activities to better the quality of life in Baitoa. Our foundation is supported by the 3 pillars of health, education, and economic growth around which all community projects and activities are centered.

Our People are growing and learning as we grow and learn with them. Project Hearts serves the people of Baitoa and its surrounding areas in the northwest part of the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere and the Baitoa area is particularly lacking in health, educational, and employment opportunities. Although rural and isolated there is so much potential as our people are close-knit and highly participatory. The people look to Project Hearts for much needed help in all aspects of their lives.

Our Projects revolve around two key concepts: empowerment and sustainability. Past projects have included building community wells, water tanks, houses, a community woodshop, a farm, renovation of a high school, funds for life-changing surgeries, and much more. All have incorporated the assistance and support of local and international workers and donors.
Community-Health-Leader-TrainingCommunity Health Leader Program Director training local leaders on promoting healthy habits, education, and personal empowerment in Baitoa’s communities.

Current Projects:

  • Community Health Leader Program that combines leadership training, health education, and advocacy.
  • Clean Water Days that provide communities with low-cost water filtration and rain catchment technologies as well as technical training.
  • Increasing WASH awareness and infrastructure in local schools.
  • Tippy Tap Project for local households.

Our Vision is simple: Empower individuals and groups in Baitoa make possible their dream of a happy, healthy, and sustainable community.


Andres learns to build a fuel-efficient stove with low-cost locally-sourced materials that provide fast and efficient cooking for families, cuts down on deforestation, and provides him a job.


Ruben and community members building a house for their neighbors.

Donate to Support Project Hearts

  • $25 donation provides eight Community Health Leaders with vital health training methods to educate local communities
  • $50 donation provides 10 families with hand-washing stations called Tippy Taps that significantly reduce occurrence of common illnesses and promote hygienic practices in the community
  • $200 provides 5 families with Ceramic Water Filters that remove harmful pathogens from drinking water
  • $400 provides a family with an installation of a Rainwater Catchment System that provides a reliable water supply complete with a storage tank for year-round use, even in the dry season


Project Hearts Team promoting clean water in the community as part of basic human rights.

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