Investing in people and Planet
By investing in people and planet, we are investing for a better world. We invite you to join us.
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Seevali is board chair and a founding director of Community Friends. She developed our micro-enterprise programs to create opportunities and empower teenage girls and women in underserved communities. Seevali provides counseling to assist women with nutrition, general health and family finances. She started our Carbon Game program in Sri Lankan schools. Seevali is also program manager with Educate Lanka Foundation working with underprivileged students in Sri Lanka. She was raised in Sri Lanka and received her Master's from The Central Queensland University in Australia.
Indigo is a sustainability and corporate responsibility professional working on issues from climate change to social labor compliance. She directed the research program for the first global sustainability mutual fund. Today, she leads the Corporate Responsibility program for the Helen of Troy Housewares’ division including Hydro Flask and OXO. Indigo co-designed the Community Friends Carbon Game program which has been offered to thousands of students in four countries. She was raised in Australia and received her Master’s in Sustainability from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.
Jeanne Enders, PhD.
Jeanne is a Social and Organizational Psychologist on the management faculty at Portland State University's School of Business. She teaches organizational management, leadership, teams and business ethics in the MBA and undergraduate programs. Jeanne uses Community Friends as a teaching model for her passion of “business as good.” She and her students co-authored a case study about Community Friends. She received her Master’s and Doctoral degrees at the University of Chicago. Community Friends is grateful for Jeanne’s contribution to our mission.
Time Frame of Our Journey
Tsunami Relief Arrives in Sri lanka
The Southeast Asia tsunami killed an estimated 228,000 people in a matter of minutes. Those who survived were left with complete devastation. Community Friends began in response to tsunami relief efforts. We first assembled a group of volunteers including doctors with medical supplies and we went to work in a small remote village on the east coast of Sri Lanka.
We began working with the school community to develop long-term health and economic programs for families. Because the local school is often the center of village life, we were able to establish programs in collaboration with the people to best meet their needs.
40 Acre Reforestation Project Begins
Our largest micro-enterprise project is a 40-acre tea estate in the Sri Lankan cloud forest. Community Friends partnered with the local university agro-forestry department to design a reforestation program and the planting of 10,000 trees. The tea estate was transitioned to organic and much land restoration was needed to repair the damage from decades of tea as a monocrop.
We partnered with the World Bank to install a micro-hydro generator providing electricity to the village tea workers for the first time. The village also lacked access to health care. We assembled a team of doctors and nurses to start a health clinic on site.
The Carbon Game
Community Friends created the Carbon Game as an engaging way to teach children about carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere and what they can do to mitigate the challenges.
The Carbon Game teaches students about climate change and the important task of measuring and decreasing carbon emissions. We believe that educating the next generation about CO2 concentrations, conservation and mitigation is one of the greatest impacts we can have in our work. More than 2,000 students in four countries have participated in the Carbon Game.
Community Friends assisted our local Sri Lankan partner in purchasing land to develop a sustainable agriculture project and farmer’s market. The land will also be used to build an Eco Community Center.
We are growing organic produce with local farmers who are offering a farmer’s market. Once completed, the vision for the center is to bring visitors from Sri Lanka and other countries together with the local community. Visitors will experience the rich culture and lifestyle of the area including farm to table cooking, yoga, meditation, and the surrounding ancient sites dating back thousands of years
Community Friends is about community investing. Community investing is about providing access to capital for people living in underserved communities. Through grants, direct investments, and loans, we can provide much-needed access to capital; critical for overcoming economic disparities.
Community investing directs the power of money toward empowering people. We have the opportunity to support social and environmental justice, organic agriculture, renewable energy, affordable housing, land restoration and sustainable livelihoods. This is where equity, ecology and economy come together.