Thank you to all of our supporters in the December Open Challenge!
With your support, we were able to fully fund our project and surpass our original project goal of $17,000 with a grand total of $35,600. Here is a quick look at how we raised more than double our goal:
1) Through the incredible generosity of our donors and our Facebook fans, we finished in second place in the December Open Challenge and earned a $2,300 bonus, which helped us secure a total of $35,600, more than double our goal!
2) With these extra funds we will be able to supply room and board for five, not just one sustainability leader! Given the fact that close to 80 percent of young leaders are from families with very limited or no resources, this support will go a long way to ensure that their needs at met EARTH.
3) All gifts received to our GlobalGiving project will be combined to provide assistance to EARTH students and educational programs. The $35,600 total goal was funded through the following areas of support:
Given the economic conditions and all the needs that currently exist in all communities, we are incredibly grateful for your belief in our mission and your support of this project. We would like to leave you with a story of one of our alumni, who is making a difference in the life of her family, her community and her country. Your support will enable us to support many more Mónica's in the future.
Mónica Lozano Luque, Class of 1999, Colombia
Before graduating from high school, Mónica knew that she wanted to study agronomy and after hearing a presentation about EARTH she “fell in love with its educational system and its commitment to people and the environment.”
Mónica’s time at EARTH enriched her life in many ways. “EARTH gave me the tools I needed to be able to achieve my goals,” she says, while adding that the opportunity also reaffirmed the values she learned from her family, such as respect and honesty. “I am thankful for having learned that in order to be successful in life, you need to develop yourself holistically and that the further you get, the humbler you should be.”
Mónica believes that the leadership education she received has been her key to success both professionally and personally. “During my four years at EARTH, they gave us hooks to fish, and thanks to this, I have been able to easily adapt to the different work situations and still meet objectives.”
Upon graduation, Mónica returned to her family farm where she convinced her father of the benefits of organic agriculture. Shortly after transitioning the farm, Mónica received an opportunity to work for the private company Valle del Cauca, leading a new project creating organic compost produced from the company’s fruit residuals. With the organic waste produced by the company, the team she led produced 1,000 tons of compost per month, which was then returned to the fields as organic compost. With this project, she was able to demonstrate that using organic waste is not only possible, but also good business, and when she finished the project, the company recognized her as a pioneer in clean agriculture.
Following this experience, Mónica worked for the Colombian government in the Agricultural Ministry, where she helped develop the supply chain norms and procedures for organic agriculture, as well as the agricultural best practices that form part of Colombia’s National Program for Clean Agriculture.
In 2005, Mónica decided to return to her family business, Lozano Lugue Investments, which grows, transforms and commercializes organically-certified agricultural products under the brand name Lo-Sano. There, she is responsible for technical aspects of the farm’s crop and livestock production, applying what she learned at EARTH every day in the areas of planting, nutrition and sanitary management, harvest and post-harvest management and product transformation. The company employs eight people year-round and contracts an additional 20 for during harvest season. They are the only organic soursop farm in the country and have secured an important niche in the local market, selling their products in the country’s major supermarkets. They recently began producing and marketing fresh gherkins under the Lo-Sano brand and Monica hopes to be able to secure credit in the near future in order to further diversify their organic production.
Mónica feels that she is contributing to her country because at Valle del Cauca, with the Ministry and now in her family business, she is recognized as a leader in clean farming in Colombia. “I have been able to help many people believe in organic agriculture and farm in a healthier way,” she concludes.
It has been 24 days since we launched our Educate Sustainability Leaders at EARTH University project through the GlobalGiving December Open Challenge and thanks to your support we not only secured a permanent spot in the GlobalGiving community, but have exceed the project funding by raising a total of $30,197.00 and finishing in second place in a field crowded with169 other projects. Our fundraising performance and all the Facebook shares, helped us earn another $2300.00 in bonus money from Global Giving. Additionally, all funds raised qualify for the Cummins Challenge Grant, a generous $6Mil grant from Cummins, Inc., which will stretch your donations even more.
On December 10, 2010, EARTH University graduated another 79 young agents of change filled with a commitment to returning to their communities to make a difference. With alumni from 26 countries around the world, 87 percent are working in their country of origin and 93 percent are in Latin America, creating lasting change in these countries.
With the funds raised during the challenge EARTH will be able to provide opportunities to young people who want to make a difference in the world but lack the resources for a higher education. Young people like Cean Reginald from Haiti, a third year student at EARTH on full scholarship.
Reginald will soon go back to his community in Haiti, where he has big dreams for the future. Having already started a profitable eco-tourism company on the campus of EARTH University, Reginald is now planning to help Haitian farmers use sustainable agricultural practices on their land.
Reginald is also excited by the prospect of restoring Haiti’s forests – only 2% of which remain intact – with a clone wood species he learned about in his agro forestry classes at EARTH.
This budding environmental steward appreciates the opportunity he has been given to change his country for the better:
“Thanks to all of you who make EARTH a reality through your donations. Your contributions have helped make me who I am today. For all my life, I will be grateful towards every EARTH donor!”
In these first three days, 27 of you have helped us get very close to meeting the Global Giving December Open Challenge threshold of $4,000 and 50 unique donors by December 22nd. We are more than halfway to meeting our goal of becoming a permanent member of the GlobalGiving community and we want to thank you! Additionally, today, with your support, we received a $300 bonus for the Facebook shares.
Your contributions so far have helped fund the following items:
1) One-half year of room and board for a deserving student from an underserved rural community.
2) Supported a farmer education student project to help a community improve their nutrition and their income potential.
3) Helped fund student entrepreneurial projects to ensure students acquire business skills that will help them become successful entrepreneurs post graduation. Job creators instead of job seekers is what you are helping build!
4) Assisted in funding a community project so our students can bring resources to a poor rural community.
Thank you on behalf of our students, our faculty and all of us at EARTH University and EARTH University Foundation. Keep spreading the word.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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