Tag Archives: rainforest

Celebrating the giving season – One of our member organizations says thanks

23 Nov

With resources stretched thin and the ever-present need for extra help, those working in the nonprofit world often have many people to thank. The African Rainforest Conservancy is one of Catchafire’s busiest members, having completed six successful projects with our pro bono professionals over the past year. Kate McLetchie, Executive Director of the African Rainforest Conservancy, recently took the time to write a kind and thoughtful blog post to thank their pro bono professionals and commend them on both their hard work and service to their cause. Here’s what Kate had to say about one of their most recently completed projects:

It was a truly wonderful experience working with Jack on our Salesforce Database project. He was able to understand the needs of our small, but growing, organization and identify creative solutions to meet them. He was always mindful of our limited resources and time and enthusiastically rolled up his sleeves and jumped right in to do whatever necessary to launch our database. Our new database has already helped tremendously. Thank you to Jack and Catchafire for helping us get organized!

It costs nothing to say “Thank You” and it feels good. To take the time and write such a thoughtful note, however, shows true appreciation. Thank you, Kate, for taking the time to write this wonderful blog post. We at Catchafire and our pro bono professionals truly appreciate it. We’ve reposted Kate’s blog post below – please take a moment to read it,  as it will get you in the mood to give back yourself!


Giving: The Gift of Time

Tue, 11/15/2011 by Kate McCletchie
Originally posted on Africa Volunteer Corps’ blog

As we approach the season of giving, we want to take a moment to highlight and thank the many people who have generously volunteered their time and talent to ARC in 2011 – a gift that doesn’t come wrapped in pretty paper and a satin ribbon, but which is at the top of our wish list every year. In addition to our stellar Board of Directors, Junior Board, Advisors, Contributing Artists, and student interns, we were fortunate enough this year to connect with Catchafire and get matched up with a suite of amazing professionals who helped us with everything from launching our first social media campaign to grant writing to training us in financial management systems.

To put it simply, Catchafire matches professionals who want to give their skills with nonprofits and social enterprises that need their help. Their project menu provides detailed deliverables and project steps for forty projects (with new ones being added all the time) that are in high demand in the nonprofit sector. Member nonprofits request specific projects from the menu and Catchafire’s staff works diligently to match their database of pro bono professionals to the right projects. It is a win-win situation for all involved.

A recent New York Time’s article on volunteering not only profiled Catchafire and two of the pro bono professionals they connected ARC with (Joe Ladd and Liz Healy), but we were fortunate enough to get a small mention near the end of page two! This article inspired us to reach out to our Catchafire volunteers (many of whom are still actively engaged with ARC even though their projects are completed) and ask them about their volunteer experience.

Here is what our pro bono professionals are saying about their experience with ARC:

“Helping ARC enhance their social media presence and expand their toolkit was an extremely rewarding experience. Not only was it exciting to be a part of ARC’s first venture into Twitter as a new way to engage communities and to collaborate with such amazing and passionate people, but I was also able to learn more about a critical environmental issue that has been relevant for my own professional development.” – Megan Caiola, Edelman Public Relations, CSR/Sustainability (Social Media Campaign project with Catchafire)


Please visit the African Rainforest Conservancy blog to read the rest of the article…


Find Your Cause: Rainforest Foundation US

1 Sep

Meet Rainforest Foundation US

The Rainforest Foundation supports indigenous and traditional people of the world  in their efforts to protect their environment and and fulfill their rights. The Rainforest Foundation was one of the first organizations to focus on the vital link between protection of the rainforest and securing the rights of indigenous peoples. As deforestation pressures have intensified, providing the support needed for indigenous peoples to remain stewards of their ancestral lands has proven to be extremely effective in protecting rainforest. Recent data in Brazil shows that the deforestation rate in the Amazon was 1% in indigenous areas versus 24% outside of those areas.

How the Rainforest Foundation US Does Good

In 1989, Sting and Trudie Styler founded The Rainforest Foundation in response to a direct request for help from a Kayapo Indian leader in Brazil who was seeking to protect his peoples’ land and culture.

The Rainforest Foundation US’ two main initiatives for 2011 are:

Securing land rights for indigenous peoples  is a top priority for indigenous peoples across the world as it gives communities the control and security they need to protect their forests. However, indigenous groups often face significant legal, procedural and technical hurdles to obtaining legal recognition of their land rights, such as accurate marking of boundaries, professional maps and formal title documentation. The Rainforest Foundation is assisting its partners overcome these challenges by providing technical support to map territorial boundaries, document land claims and assist with complex administrative and legal procedures. On regional and national levels, the Rainforest Foundation is supporting indigenous organizations and networks to negotiate with the relevant authorities and gain formal recognition.

Ensuring Indigenous Peoples’ participation in climate change initiatives. The international community has increasingly come to understand that protection of rainforests is a key to mitigating climate change. Indigenous lands in the tropics, by and large, retain relatively intact forest ecosystems despite outside pressure, thanks to traditional management of resources. These areas are therefore prime candidates for programs aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). REDD can represent a great opportunity for indigenous peoples. Depending on how these initiatives are carried out, however, they also risk establishing perverse incentives and top-down models for forest protection, leading to land conflicts and unfair distribution of benefits. Consultations with indigenous peoples have largely been inadequate so far, and communities have demanded further information, and that their rights be respected. In response, the Rainforest Foundation is working with indigenous organizations in Guyana and Panama – two countries where REDD initiatives are growing quickly – to provide information on REDD and indigenous peoples rights and to push for indigenous involvement in decision-making around these projects.

Rainforest Foundation US’ Impact

The organization’s initial project led to a role coordinating the first ever privately funded demarcation of Indian land in the region. Since then the Rainforest Foundation has grown into a small network of four independent organizations in the US, the UK and Norway, working collectively in 20 rainforest countries around the globe. Collectively they have helped protect 28 million acres of forest.

Catchafire’s Prob Bono Impact with the Rainforest Foundation US

The Rainforest Foundation US has worked with three Catchafire pro bono professionals to date. The projects included Brand Identity, a Public Relations Plan and Copywriting. All three of these initiatives have helped broaden awareness and support for their cause.

Get Involved

If you want to get involved, please favorite the  Rainforest Foundation US  on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.) We’ll alert you as new opportunities to get involved become available. If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email community@catchafire.org.

Find Your Cause: African Rainforest Conservancy

19 Jul

Meet African Rainforest Conservancy

African Rainforest Conservancy restores and conserves African rainforests – among the oldest and most biodiverse in the world – through grassroots conservation and community development. ARC believes that by providing new economic and educational opportunities, local people are empowered to preserve their natural heritage for future generations.Founded in 1991, ARC is the only US nonprofit that is exclusively dedicated to preserving Tanzania’s Eastern Arc rainforest, which supplies 45 percent of Tanzania’s water and is identified as one of the top “ten most threatened forest hotspots by Conservation International.

How African Rainforest Conservancy Does Good

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Founded in 1991, ARC works alongside its field partner the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) to support a network of villages supporting vast expanses of rainforest. TCFG is a team of professional foresters, biologists and communicators determined to improve the way Tanzania’s forests are managed and to support the livelihoods of those living close to the forests. Over the past 20 years, their team has found that the most effective way to achieve their mission is through capacity building, advocacy, research, community development and protected area management, in ways that are sustainable and foster participation, co-operation and partnership. Focusing on advocacy, Participatory Forest Management (PFM), environmental education, community development, and biological research, TFCG is a leader in implementing high-impact solutions to address the challenges facing Tanzania’s forests and the millions of people who depend on them.

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ARC supports tree planting and fuel efficiency projects, which are aimed at providing firewood and timber for local populations, so that they do not disturb the old growth forests. Through ARC’s efforts, over 10 million trees have been planted, with the goal of planting an additional three million by 2012. Approximately 2,000 households have switched to high efficiency stoves through the ARC-TFCG partnership, thus making these trees go a longer way to support local needs. Since education is also an important component in the long-term sustainability of the Eastern Arc, ARC and TFCG provide environmental education as part of the core curriculum to over 200 primary and secondary schools. Many of these schools also run tree nurseries onsite, providing educational opportunities for students and income for rural schools. Finally, to discourage dependence of livelihood practices that threaten the future of the forests – such as illegal logging, charcoal production, and converting the forest into agricultural land – ARC supports alternative enterprises like fishponds, bee keeping, and butterfly farming to enable local people to support themselves and their families through sustainable income activities that leverage renewable natural resources.

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African Rainforest Conservancy’s Impact

Working with the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group, ARC currently supports a network of 146 villages in eight mountain and coastal regions throughout Tanzania that protect 250,000 acres of forest–an area over 300 times the size of New York’s Central Park.

Catchafire’s Pro Bono Impact with African Rainforest Conservancy

African Rainforest Conservancy has worked with 5 Catchafire professsionals, who have helped streamline the fundraising and budgetary activities of the organization, as well as work on external communications.

One professional worked with ARC to help diversify the organization’s fundraising efforts by providing advice on grant proposals. As these fundraising efforts begin to pay off, ARC will be in a better position to handle its budget, thanks to the help of two accounting professionals, who have created an organizational budget and accounting system that will be easier for the Executive Director to manage throughout the year.In addition to this work, two Catchafire professionals have helped to make sure that ARC is communicating a strong, clear message to external parties. After beginning work on a communications plan earlier this year, ARC realized it needed to re-evaluate its brand and positioning. A Catchafire professional is currently working with the Executive Director to build a brand identity that conveys the organization’s evolving role in mitigating global climate change and defines the organization’s niche among other environmental organizations. Earlier this year, to kick off their 20th anniversary, another professional developed a plan for building brand awareness with young professionals through social media, to help the organization connect with a broader audience.

Get Involved

To be the first to know when they need your help, favorite the African Rainforest Conservancy Page on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.) We’ll alert you as new opportunities to get involved become available. If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email community@catchafire.org.

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