Free whitepaper offers tips to nonprofits for cultivating new supporters.
Press Release – Washington, D.C., June 29, 2016 – Care2, the world’s largest community for good, announces the availability of its latest whitepaper, “The Ultimate Nonprofit Welcome Series Toolkit.” This 16-page whitepaper is a guide to introducing new supporters to a nonprofit using a series of welcome emails.
Download the free whitepaper here: http://www.care2services.com/nonprofit-welcome-series-toolkit.
“The first email a nonprofit sends to new supporters is by far the most important. At Care2, we’ve spent nearly two decades analyzing how a well-executed email welcome series cultivates an active email list with more opens, more actions, and fewer unsubscribes,” said Care2’s Vice President of Business Development, Eric Rardin. “Now, we are pleased to share what we’ve learned in the form of this essential whitepaper.”
The toolkit includes a tactical step-by-step guide on how to create your nonprofit email welcome series plus information including 101 phrases that are proven to work to solicit donations and inspire people to take immediate action. Plus, Care2 nonprofit partners such as WWF and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital share welcome email examples.
Emmy Nominated Actress and Award-Winning Artist Elected to Conservation Organization’s Board; Audubon Minnesota and Institutional Giving Branch Get New Leads
Press Release – NEW YORK (June 29, 2016) — The National Audubon Society today announced the appointment of A. Cary Brown and Lili Taylor to its board of directors, Kevin Duffy as vice president of development and Molly Pederson as vice president and executive director of Audubon Minnesota. All appointed are charged to broaden the legacy conservation organization’s efficiency and reach across the Western Hemisphere.
A. Cary Brown is an artist and social entrepreneur, and presides over her family’s foundation, the Fiddlehead Fund. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, she is the granddaughter of environmentalist Sara “Sally” Shallenberger Brown, who taught her to draw birds early on, where today she records species with a paintbrush or a camera. Brown is a fifth-generation shareholder of Brown-Forman, her family’s international spirits and wine company, and serves as director of the company’s DendriFund, the Brown family sustainability foundation. She also serves as a trustee of BOMB Magazine, the Kentucky College of Art + Design, the W.L. Lyons Brown Foundation, The Lighthouse Works, and on the advisory boards of the Fralin Museum of Art and the Arts Council at the University of Virginia, and the Amazon Biodiversity Center.
Lili Taylor is a stage and screen actress who has appeared in such films as Mystic Pizza, I Shot Andy Warhol, and The Conjuring. Most recently she can be seen in ABC’s American Crime. She appeared in HBO’s Six Feet Under and Fox’s The X-Files, both of which garnered her Emmy nominations. She is also developing a TV show called Wild in the City with Richard Crossley, author of the Crossley ID guides. She currently serves on the board of the American Birding Association.
“Cary and Lili are both original talents and have the passion for birds that Audubon represents. They’ll bring creativity and energy to a Board that, more than ever, is attracting high profile leaders from the arts, finance, conservation and education,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold (@david_yarnold).
Molly Pederson will serve as vice president and executive director of Audubon Minnesota, the state program of the National Audubon Society. She comes equipped with 15 years of public policy experience. Most recently she served for Governor Mark Dayton as a senior policy advisor, where she covered environment, energy and agriculture. Prior to her time in the statehouse, Molly spent nine years as the Government Affairs Director for Conservation Minnesota, where she oversaw the organization’s public policy and lobbying efforts. Her efforts contributed to the Clean Water Legacy Act, Great Lakes Compact, stable funding for transportation and transit.
“Molly’s outstanding leadership has advanced water quality and better environmental stewardship throughout the state of Minnesota. Her vision will take on our most pressing conservation challenges throughout the Mississippi Flyway,” said Yarnold.
Kevin Duffy is the new vice president of development, with a focus on institutional giving from foundations, corporations and government grants. Duffy joins Audubon from City Harvest, where he led their fundraising efforts and was responsible for raising more than $23 million a year. During his tenure, Duffy successfully led the organization’s first ever multi-year fundraising initiative, a $30 million campaign, which raised the money needed to fund the organization’s strategic plan. Prior to joining City Harvest, he taught English overseas and served as a case manager for families impacted by 9/11. He also serves on the Board of the Pelham Children’s Center.
“Audubon is experiencing a catalytic moment, facing the kind of major turnaround that legacy non-profits don’t generally attempt,” said Yarnold. “Kevin understands the investments needed so that we can truly execute our potential.”
With total revenues in 2014 of $92 million (up from $82.3 million in 2009), Audubon is one of the nation’s largest conservation organizations, comprising 23 state offices, 41 nature centers and 23 wildlife sanctuaries and representing 463 local chapters. Audubon – which focuses on the protection of birds and their habitats throughout the Americas – has been “transformed” in recent years, according to Crain’s New York Business, through a sharpened conservation focus and operational overhaul that has increased revenue and decreased overhead expenses.
As written in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, that strategic and operational transformation has attracted new funders and broadened the organization’s reach to younger and more diverse audiences as Audubon expands its international work and achieves conservation victories. For the first time in nearly two decades, Audubon has also earned Charity Navigator’s highest ranking of four stars.
Audubon’s main Facebook page has over 855,000 followers and reaches approximately 2.7 million people each week as the organization’s supporters share and interact with Audubon’s posts. And the organization’s 2014 birds and climate change campaign, which earned more than 2 billion media impressions, recently won a Diamond SABRE award from public relations industry leaders.
To learn more about Audubon and its new strategic direction, please visit here.
The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.
Davidoff Cool Water Engages Consumers in Conservation with a Film Featuring Scott Eastwood
The first fragrance to be inspired by the ocean, DAVIDOFF Cool Water is now leading the way to help protect the ocean. This summer, the brand is releasing a new film featuring its ambassador Scott Eastwood. The message of the film is a call to action to safeguard one of the world’s most precious natural resources — but also one of its most endangered. The film is an extension of DAVIDOFF Cool Water’s long-standing Love the Ocean campaign in support of the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas project, which aims to protect 10% of the world’s ocean by 2020.
THE POWER TO CHANGE
The new film, which will be released on July 1, 2016, and screened across a wide range of digital platforms, steps up the Love the Ocean initiative with an individual call to action. The film’s aim is to convince each and every one of us that we can make a difference. “As individuals, we have more power to change the world than we think,” says Scott Eastwood, who — having been born in California and raised in Hawaii — feels a special connection to the ocean.
Shot near the actor’s home in San Diego, the DAVIDOFF Cool Water film highlights Scott Eastwood’s concern for ocean conservation and his commitment to fighting water pollution issues. It also features a beach clean-up organized in partnership with the National Geographic Society and the Surfrider Foundation. Given that 80 percent of pollution in the marine environment comes from land and that by 2050 current estimates indicate that the ocean will contain more plastic than fish when measured by weight, beach clean-ups are one way — along with simple lifestyle changes — that individuals can take action. According to Shah Selbe, National Geographic Explorer: “Even a single person can make a massive amount of difference when it comes to ocean conservation.”
FROM THE INDIVIDUAL TO THE GLOBAL
By extending its Love the Ocean initiative with an individual call to action, DAVIDOFF Cool Water aims to complement the impressive progress being achieved on a global scale by the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas project. Since 2012, DAVIDOFF Cool Water has supported 14 Pristine Seas expeditions, which informed the establishment of five marine protected areas, totalling 1,713,518 square kilometres or 2.18% of the world’s ocean.
The inspiring message of the film is that we all have a part to play — which is why, throughout summer 2016, DAVIDOFF Cool Water will be promoting beach clean-ups in key countries, encouraging individuals, wherever they may be, to demonstrate their love for the ocean and to contribute to change. As Scott Eastwood says at the end of the film: “It starts with one — one hour of your time, one day, one piece of trash.”
ABOUT THE LOVE THE OCEAN INITIATIVE
DAVIDOFF Cool Water has a long-standing partnership with the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas project — which involves scientific expeditions to explore and document fragile marine environments across the globe. Every year, DAVIDOFF Cool Water mobilizes its millions of loyal users worldwide around the Love the Ocean initiative, with the commitment that each bottle of DAVIDOFF Cool Water sold will help protect 10,000 square metres (more than 100,000 square feet) of ocean.
Visit love-the-ocean.com to learn more.
THE OCEAN: VITAL STATISTICS
THE FIVE MARINE PROTECTED AREAS
About Coty Inc.
Coty is a leading global beauty company with net revenues of $4.6 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. Founded in Paris in 1904, Coty is a pure play beauty company with a portfolio of well-known fragrances, color cosmetics and skin and body care products sold in over 130 countries and territories. Coty’s product offerings include such global brands as adidas, Calvin Klein, Chloé, DAVIDOFF, Marc Jacobs, OPI, philosophy, Playboy, Rimmel and Sally Hansen.
One in three 14-year-olds have been in an abusive relationship.
Press Release – Atlanta, Ga. (June 28, 2016) – With recent findings determining that one in three 14-year-olds has experienced physical, sexual or psychological abuse within a dating relationship, rising to 44 percent by the time American young people graduate from college, teen dating violence (TDV) is a serious and widespread problem that continues to take parents and their children by surprise. In an effort to educate and prevent teen dating violence, the non-profit Jennifer Ann’s Group has been producing video games to stop TDV for the past nine years. Today, the nonprofit organization announces the winners of its ninth annual “Life. Love. Game Design Challenge.”
After Drew Crecente’s 18-year-old daughter was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, he founded Jennifer Ann’s Group to increase awareness about teen dating violence as well as provide educational information to help teens, tweens, and young adults identify and avoid abusive relationships. The non-profit started out by distributing leaflets, bookmarks and other printed materials across the United States, but since 2008, it has been running a game design challenge, and the interactive approach is working.
Research has shown that the most difficult thing for teenagers is seeking or accepting help. To that end, exploring concepts behind relationship abuse through games, at their own pace and often outside the classroom, has proven to be more effective than traditional pen-and-paper learning on the subject in a school environment.
The “Life.Love. Game Design Challenge” has received worldwide attention since its inception by challenging game designers and developers to create video games designed to prevent teen dating violence. Once again, the annual challenge received registrations from around the world, including Argentina, Canada, France, India, Philippines, Malaysia, Tunisia, Turkey, UK, USA, Sweden and Vietnam.
Winners of the 9th Annual Life.Love. Game Design Challenge
The winning games will soon be publicly available to play online through a web browser as well as on smartphones and tablets. Jennifer Ann’s Group current video games are available to play online at JAGga.me in addition to free downloads through several app stores: Amazon, Google Play, BlackBerry, iTunes and Windows Phone store.
U.S. Conference of Mayors Passes Resolutions in Support of Recycling and Sustainable Material Management
Press Release – New York, NY (June 24, 2016) – Closed Loop Fund (CLF), an impact investment fund that makes below-market loans for recycling infrastructure, announced a $3.25 million investment to help bring recycling to Memphis, TN, which is estimated to reduce over 48,000 tons of waste from the landfill and avoid over 17,000 tons of GHG annually.
The Recycling Partnership, a national nonprofit, is providing $135,000 in communications funding, resources and in-kind support to ensure that Memphians participate and recycle right. In 2014, The Recycling Partnership provided support for the initial 40,000 cart pilot in Memphis, making them an informed and savvy partner for this project.
The city of Memphis, like many major municipalities in the South and Midwest has limited access to convenient and expansive curbside recycling. This project and the leadership of the City of Memphis will demonstrate that single stream recycling works in communities historically underserved and that it saves municipalities and taxpayers money. Additional information on the project is available at www.closedloopfund.com/project-portfolio/.
Mayor Jim Strickland of Memphis said: “The City of Memphis’ recycling program is a core service and highlights our commitment to become a leading progressive city in the south. I’m especially grateful to the Closed Loop Fund for its partnership in making this happen. With their help, over 100,000 recycling carts will be delivered throughout Memphis, with expected increases in recycling volumes to exceed 200%.”
“Walmart works hard to minimize and reduce waste to landfills in our own operations and believes that customers should have easy access to recycling infrastructure from their homes as well,” Laura Phillips, SVP of Sustainability for Walmart, representing the corporate partners of Closed Loop Fund. “In support of that belief, the Walmart Foundation invested in the Closed Loop Fund to make recycling easier and more accessible to customers in communities across the country. We are excited for the Closed Loop Fund’s newest investment and hope it will prove to be a role model for other cities and towns to replicate.”
Additionally, Rob Kaplan, cofounder and Manager Director of CLF, presented at the US Conference of Mayors Environment Committee on Saturday: “Today, Closed Loop Fund and our partners are helping 100,000 households gain access to recycling because it saves taxpayer dollars and improves consumer product supply chains. We hope sharing these investments at the U.S. Conference of Mayors will inspire mayors and municipalities across the U.S. to invest in recycling as a way to improve their communities and the environment.”
Co-Sponsored by Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix, AZ, Chair of the Environment Committee, the mayors signaled their commitment to recycling by passing resolutions in support of recycling and reducing food waste. “Innovative public-private solutions like the Closed Loop Fund help communities create a more circular economy,” said Mayor Stanton. “We want to encourage communities to protect the environment by continuing to build recycling infrastructure, investing in resident education and expanding recycling programs.
About Closed Loop Fund
Founded in 2014, Closed Loop Fund is a social impact investment fund that provides cities access to the capital required to build comprehensive recycling programs. Closed Loop Fund aims to invest $100 million by 2020 with the goal to create economic value for cities by increasing recycling rates in communities across America. Closed Loop Fund brings together the world’s largest consumer product, retail, and financial companies committed to finding a national solution to divert waste from landfills into the recycling stream in order to be used in the manufacturing supply chain. Key supporters include 3M, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, Keurig Green Mountain, PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. For more information, visit www.closedloopfund.com
Celebrities from music, television, movies, and sports come together to help raise funds and awareness for the Red Cross recovery effort
A “Rebuild West Virginia” telethon for flood relief originating from West Virginia will air nationally on television stations across the USA and stream online this Friday, July 1st from 7pm-9pm. Proceeds will go directly to Red Cross relief efforts across all affected areas of West Virginia. The telethon will also air statewide in West Virginia, including all areas directly affected by the flooding, with the assistance of the West Virginia Broadcasters Association.
Viewers will be encouraged to make donations directly to the Red Cross West Virginia flood relief efforts at www.rebuildwestvirginia.com; to text the word “WVFLOODS” to 909999 to make a $10.00 donation; or to call 1-800-273-0511 during the telethon to assist with the effort.
Entertainers, athletes, and others with strong ties to West Virginia who have agreed to appear on the Rebuild West Virginia telethon Friday, originating from the WVVA television studios in Bluefield WV, and/or the live concert event Sunday in Charleston, include America’s Got Talent winner and Logan WV resident Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., who is also donating all profits in the month of July from his new song Come Home To West Virginia to flood relief; Billy Ray Cyrus, country superstar and star of the new CMT series “Still The King;” actor and Princeton WV native Kevin Sizemore (Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462, NCIS, Resurrection, Under The Dome, Rizzoli & Isles); Leonard Coleman and Blunt, the former lead singers of legendary groups the Temptations, Platters, and Drifters; Beckley WV resident Cody Wickline from Season Eight of “The Voice;” Mike Estes, formerly of Lynyrd Skynyrd; “Rocket Boys” New York Times #1 best selling author and Coalwood WV native Homer Hickam; Princeton resident Dreama “Mrs. Gilligan” Denver; Charleston WV’s The Carpenter Ants; actor Chad Lindberg (Fast and the Furious, October Sky); Lewisburg WV resident and former NBA star Bimbo Coles; major league pitching sensation and Charleston WV native John Kruk; Kenova native and Contemporary Christian superstar Michael W. Smith; and John Fogerty pianist/solo artist Bob Malone who has composed an original song for flood relief called “The River Gives.” MORE are expected to be added soon.
West Virginia was devastated by historic flooding June 23rd and 24th, causing the deaths of 23 residents, forcing thousands of residents to flee from their homes and businesses, and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage. National Guard and FEMA are on site, along with tens of thousands of volunteers. Clean up efforts are expected to take many months.
The Friday evening telethon is airing from the studios of WVVA TV Bluefield WV from 7pm-9pm ET, will air across the USA and online, and is available for free for broadcasters to carry courtesy of the West Virginia Broadcasters Association. The Sunday evening July 3rd live concert event headlined by Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will include a huge fireworks display and will be held at The Levee in downtown Charleston starting at 8pm. It will be a free event, with monetary and cleaning supply donations for the Red Cross being accepted on site.
Elvis Dumervil, Baltimore Ravens’ All-Pro DE/OLB, has returned from a weekend in Bercy, Haiti checking in on the construction progress of a 58 home community he has funded through New Story, a nonprofit that transforms slums into sustainable communities. His big vision: create an entire NFL community in Haiti.
He pledged to build 58 homes in honor of his Baltimore Ravens #58 jersey number and went to Haiti before training camp to watch the first 24 of the 58 families move into their brand new homes. For $6,500 per home, New Story and Elvis Dumervil are uniting to rebuild parts of Haiti home by home.
What Elvis has to say after the trip?
“It was a special experience to give back and visit where my family is from. I was blown away by the quality of the homes for only $6,500 and how grateful the receiving families were. Watching families move in after being homeless for 6+ years was incredible. We have land for about 200 more homes in this community.”
This is the start of a bigger vision for a 250 home NFL community. With 50+ current Haitian NFL players, Dumervil plans to build an entire NFL (player / corporate sponsored) community in Haiti with the help of fellow NFL stars and fans.
Next steps: New Story and Elvis will be reaching out to NFL players to pledge their jersey numbers or “pledging a home for every touchdown, interception, etc.” This growing community then becomes a centralized location for players to visit, off-season camps, and fans to experience.
New Story has identified and secured land in Bercy with the help of their local partner on the ground, Mission of Hope. The community will be built by locals making fair wages using local materials. A school is already built for students on the same part of land.
Quote from New Story CEO, Brett Hagler:
“Safe homes are the foundation that give kids the opportunity for better education, health, and athletic dreams. Elvis and I hit it off because we both had the same vision of a thriving community – not just one-off housing. We’re now on a mission to fund and build an extraordinary 250 home NFL Community.”
New Story‘s founders started the organization upon visiting Haiti in 2014 when close to 80,000 people were homeless. 6 years after the earthquake there is still an estimated 65,000 people displaced.
They have created a simple concrete solution for $6,500 giving these families the stability of dignified housing they deserve and a foundation to build from with access to education, healthcare, and basic necessities like clean water and sanitation.
New Story was joined by two videographers from the Ravens to capture content for a special documentary piece. You can find the video content here as b-roll.
New Story’s 1st community: In 2015, New Story successfully built a 151 home community in less than 1 year in Leveque, Haiti.
Already Backed by Nation’s Leading Domestic Violence Partner, #MoveToEndDV Encourages and Inspires Businesses Globally to Donate Products and Services to Domestic Violence Victims, Survivors and Shelters
Press Release – SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – June 27, 2016 – Meathead Movers, the leading California-based student athlete moving company, is proud to announce that #MoveToEndDV is officially launching as a nonprofit organization aimed to help shelters and individuals around the world facing domestic violence situations. What began as a community service provided by Meathead Movers to move victims of domestic violence for free quickly became an international movement to encourage and inspire businesses around the globe to step up and provide free products and services to shelters, victims and survivors of domestic violence. To best serve the needs of businesses, shelters, victims and survivors, Meathead Movers took its movement a giant step forward and has now established a nonprofit, known as #MoveToEndDV. Its mission: encourage at least 10,000 businesses across the globe to pledge free products and/or services for domestic violence shelters, victims and survivors to help put an end to domestic abuse once and for all.
“On the heels of the international attention we received for our free moving program, and in light of the growing cases of domestic violence and requests from businesses to get involved, we knew our efforts were so much more than what our company is doing,” said Aaron Steed, CEO of Meathead Movers and co-founder of #MoveToEndDV. “With our official nonprofit, we’re able to support businesses all over the world in their desire to give back, and connect our volunteer Ambassadors to shelters and businesses that need them.”
With the launch of the nonprofit comes the introduction of the volunteer Ambassador program. The program aims to send #MoveToEndDV-vetted Ambassadors into their communities to obtain a list of needs from the shelters, and fulfill those needs by connecting shelters with pledging businesses.
An early supporter of the #MoveToEndDV organization is the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). Through its partnership, NCADV provides training and resources to #MoveToEndDV staff, Ambassadors and pledging businesses to ensure the needs of shelters, victims and survivors of domestic violence are met. Both organizations will work together through speaking engagements, awareness events, advocacy, and policy changes to further the support of victims and survivors of domestic violence.
For more information about the #MoveToEndDV campaign and to learn how to get involved as a pledging business, Ambassador volunteer, or donor, visit www.movetoenddv.org.
Founded by Meathead Movers, a for-profit student athlete moving company that provides free moving services to victims of domestic violence, #MoveToEndDV’s mission is to encourage 10,000 businesses all over the world to donate free products or services to shelters, victims and survivors of domestic violence. By connecting shelters and businesses all over the world, #MoveToEndDV aims to change the way communities respond to domestic violence situations, help victims and survivors to start a new life through comprehensive community support, and help put an end to abuse once and for all.
Press Release – CHICAGO – June 28, 2016 – Today, Common Threads, a national non-profit, announced it has been awarded a grant from Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) for $350,000 as part of Target’s ongoing youth wellness efforts.
“At Target, we are committed to helping make wellness a way of life for our team members, customers and communities,” said Laysha Ward, chief corporate social responsibility officer, Target. “That’s why we are excited to partner with Common Threads who is already doing such important work to make an impact in the wellness space. Together, we will help remove barriers to wellness in our communities, working to increase the consumption of nutrient-dense food and physical activity for kids and families across the country.”
Common Threads’ hands-on cooking and nutrition education provide a preventative health program solution for fostering a school wide culture of health. By working systemically in the schools and the community, the organization works to inspire children, families and teachers in underserved communities to make healthy behavior changes and increase their confidence in the kitchen. With Target’s support, the organization will expand programming in Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City in the 2016-2017 school year.
“We’re thrilled to see Target elevating the conversation around health and well-being and are grateful for the opportunity to partner with them to be able to deepen our impact. Districts, schools and community centers rely on joyful and affirmative programming like ours to make wellness goals a reality,” said Linda Novick O’Keefe, chief executive officer, Common Threads. “The ROI is real and it is meaningful. We are not only educating students about the importance of taking care of their bodies, but we’re also creating lifelong habits for stronger communities and a healthier society.”
The grant is part of Target’s ongoing efforts to help make wellness more affordable and accessible while inspiring families to choose healthier lifestyles. Target is partnering closely with local leaders, youth wellness experts and organizations in communities around the country to close the wellness gap for children. These efforts are part of Target’s long history of giving five percent of its profit to communities, which today equals more than $4 million every week.
About Common Threads
Founded by Celebrity Chef Art Smith, artist Jesus Salgueiro and Linda Novick O’Keefe in 2003, Common Threads educates children on the importance of nutrition and physical well-being, empowering them to be change agents in their families, schools and communities across the country. By providing children with a toolkit of knowledge and skills, Common Threads’ programs help prevent childhood obesity and reverse the trend of generations of non-cookers, getting America’s kids cooking for life! To learn more, visit commonthreads.org.
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) serves guests at 1,792 stores and at Target.com. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit to communities, which today equals more than $4 million a week. For more information, visit Target.com/Pressroom. For a behind-the-scenes look at Target, visit Target.com/abullseyeview or follow @TargetNews on Twitter.
U.S. Ex-Im Bank Has Been Linked To Toxic Coal Projects In Bangladesh, Threatens UNESCO World Heritage Site
Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. environmental groups, U.S-based South Asian community groups, and others joined together to deliver more than 150,000 petitions to the U.S. Export-Import Bank to call on the bank to reject the proposals for toxic overseas coal projects in Bangladesh. The bank, which receives its funding from U.S. taxpayer dollars, has been rumored to be considering financing a destructive and unnecessary coal-fired power plant near the Sundarbans, the world’s largest continuous mangrove forest. The Sundarbans spans the border of India and Bangladesh, is home to endangered species like the Bengal tiger and Irrawaddy dolphin, provides a home and livelihood for upwards of six million people, and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
Among the groups delivering the signatures are the Sierra Club, Friends of Earth, Rainforest Action Network, Center for Biological Diversity, Bangladesh Environmental Network, EcoSikh, Brown and Green: South Asian Americans for Climate Justice, and Environmental Movement Atlanta.
There’s a groundswell of action happening to save the Sundarbans on the ground in Bangladesh as well as around the world, with opposition to coal projects threatening the Sundarbans taking place across Bangladesh and increasingly at the international level. Similar to what’s happening in the U.S., a coalition of civil society groups worldwide as well as hundreds of thousands of individuals are calling on the Ex-Im Bank of India to abandon its financing plans for another coal plant located close to the Sundarbans.
“For the U.S. Export-Import Bank to even consider using U.S. tax dollars to finance any overseas coal project is reckless and unnecessary, but to consider financing projects that will irreparably damage one of the world’s most ecologically sensitive and valuable ecosystems is downright unconscionable,” said John Coequyt, the Sierra Club’s Global Climate Policy Director. “We’ve already seen how clean energy is bringing electricity to the people of Bangladesh like never before, and to invest even one cent of U.S. money into the fossil fuels that have consistently failed to reach the needs of billions of people, would be a disservice and an insult to the people of Bangladesh.”
“Public opposition to financing fossil fuel projects like the coal plants in Bangladesh that the U.S. Export-Import Bank is reportedly considering financing is occurring all over the world. Over 150,000 American taxpayers have spoken, and they don’t want their money used to destroy our planet and people’s livelihoods,” said Jenny Bock, economic justice campaigner at Friends of the Earth U.S. “Fossil fuel projects like those threatening the Sundarbans and Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka will not address the country’s energy access needs and will yield no long-term economic benefits. Instead, the U.S. Ex-Im Bank should finance distributed renewable energy projects in Bangladesh to improve access to electricity and help the country develop sustainably.”
“It is nothing less than hypocritical and outrageous that the United States Export-Import Bank wants to use American taxpayer dollars to finance two horrible coal-burning power plants in a developing country that needs clean energy not premature disease,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Global warming, public health and Bengal tiger populations will all be much worse off if this boondoggle moves forward.”
“As a South Asian American group, we are outraged that the U.S. government is considering using our tax dollars to finance harmful coal projects in Bangladesh,” said Barnali Ghosh of Brown and Green: South Asian Americans for Climate Justice. “These projects would further endanger the Sundarbans, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, cause serious harm to the health and livelihood of the millions of people in Bangladesh and India that live near the proposed coal projects and disproportionately impact a region that is already vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. We call on U.S. Export-Import Bank to immediately reject financing all fossil fuel projects in Bangladesh, including the Orion coal projects, and to instead finance renewable energy. Anything else is an investment that Bangladesh and the world simply cannot afford.”
“As a low-lying nation, Bangladesh is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, subject to rising seas and ever stronger storms. The US Export-Import Bank’s support for these projects would further imperil the country and betray the Paris Climate Agreement by funneling taxpayer dollars into dirty coal plants that threaten the habitats of endangered species, a precious ecosystem, and the wellbeing of millions of people,” said Alison Kirsch of Rainforest Action Network.
“We do not want any party to support coal based power plants in Bangladesh till the government approves a pro-people and pro-environment national coal policy,” said Advocate Sultana Kamal, Convenor of National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans. “Given the previous incidences of protests against coal plants costing lives, the investors will do good to refrain from supporting coal plants in Bangladesh till a fully independent and internationally accepted EIA has been conducted by credible institutions having no conflict of interest and the government details out and finalizes public consultation processes by binding rules. Sundarbans is just too precious to bet on- if we lose it, we can’t have a second Sundarbans, and we need it not for Bangladesh only but for the entire global community.”
With the Senate expected to vote in an Ex-Im board member soon, U.S. Ex-Im Bank could make a decision to finance the Orion projects as early as this July. Once financing kicks in, construction for the projects could start a mere few days later.