The Forest Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes sustainable livelihoods around the world… and around the block.
We provide both environmental education and “green” business development through a number of ongoing programs and projects, many of which are described in our press releases. We have a lot of really creative and innovative ideas and need your support.
A short profile of the organization, plus our mission, board members, and contact information are detailed on our about us page.
The Forest Foundation (TFF) is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, started in 2001 by Forests of the World, LLC. TFF, through its partners, has generated over $1.5 million from the sale of crafts, coffee, chocolate and other products. This revenue has supported dozens of artisans and producer groups; promoted the principles of fair trade, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development; helped empower women; and initiated projects in over a dozen mega-diverse countries.
We are a hybrid organization, with characteristics of both non-profit and more commercial organizations. In short, we not only make grants and give talks, we also sell things.
TFF is supported through grants, donations, contracts and sales of fair trade crafts, ecotours and educational products and services. This support allows it to continue to provide innovative entrepreneurial and educational strategies.
TFF, through its sister organization Forests of the World, is a member of:
- Fair Trade Federation (FTF);
- North American Association of Environmental Educators (NAAEE);
- Environmental Educators of North Carolina
The Forest Foundation was founded by graduates of Duke University’s School of the Environment. Other founding board members work in international conservation and development.
The mission of The Forest Foundation is to assist artisans, producer groups and other entrepreneurs living in and around areas of high biodiversity. These areas are critical to our needs, both now and for future generations. They are also necessary because of their intrinsic value and beauty.
Our goal is to develop model programs in sustainable business and rural development. We want to use market-based initiatives to create not only incentives for sustainability, but also products that internalize the costs and benefits of protecting, conserving, and restoring these natural areas. We want to enable everyone to make conscientious choices that create opportunity, protect these “last great places,” and build a better world.
Rapid loss of biodiversity, globalization and overpopulation are rapidly affecting communities tied to these important resources. It is imperative that we understand how we are connected to these areas, through our consumptive behavior, and to consume more sustainably, properly valuing both human and natural capital. Support must be given in education, resource and business management to promote sustainable livelihoods. It is each of our livelihoods, how we make a living, that unites us in community and responsibility. We hope to grow out from these diverse watersheds, tops of mountains, wetlands and coral reefs, from these natural areas new models of sustainable development from which we can all learn, share and benefit.
Mary Katherine Williams, Executive Director, has a degree from Elon University, NC, and has worked in various for and non-profit settings as supervisors and managers. She has exhibited strong community service through experience with non-profit organizations working as victim advocate, program coordinator and board president with three groups which provide services to survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence. Since 1997, Ms. Williams has served as Office Manager with Forests of the World, and has worked part-time as The Forest Foundation’s Executive Director. She currently serves as a member on both the Steering and Wisdom of Women Committees for the Center for Eco-zoic Studies (Chapel Hill, NC). MK also serves as a Steering Committee member for Tourism for Peace (Atlanta, GA).
Jennifer Albright (MA) — Jennifer Albright grew up in suburban New York and is an advocate for better public transit. She practices what she preaches by traveling from her home in Durham to Chapel Hill on the TTA. With a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Washington in Seattle and a Nursing Assistant degree from the Durham Community College, she has spent the last 13 years managing public health research. Jennifer works with a variety of community based organizations to improve the quality of life in her neighborhood in Durham.
J. Marc Dreyfors (MEM) — Environmental Management; Co-Founder and currently working as a Manager of Forests of the World (Durham, NC); Board member of Environmental Educators of North Carolina; Steering & Education Committees Member for the Center for Eco-zoic Studies (Chapel Hill, NC).
Nina Aly Elsheikh (Ph.D., LMBT) — Biochemist; Licensed Massage Therapist; currently working as an Alternative Health Practitioner (Chapel Hill, NC); Entrepreneur.
Jamey Gerlaugh (BES, MEM) — Engineering; Environmental Management; Co-Founder of Forests of the World (Durham, NC); Founder Roanoke River Partners (Windsor, NC); currently working as an engineer with Verdant Power (Tacoma Park, MD).
Gail Y. Lash (Ph.D.) — Specialist in Eco-tourism; Founder of Ursa International (Atlanta, GA); Founder and CEO – Tourism For Peace (Atlanta, GA); Spiritual Guide and Teacher.
Abigail Rome (MS) — Botany; Author (Silver Spring, MD); active member of The Eco-tourism Society; currently working as a consultant with Conservation International.