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Bravo! A Great Success for EcoLogic’s Not-So-Typical Benefit

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The excellent table facilitators and EcoLogic Executive Director Barbara Vallarino

Dear friends of EcoLogic,

Thank you so much for attending EcoLogic’s third annual Turning the Tables benefit. For those of you who made it, we’re so grateful you could join us to celebrate EcoLogic’s impact and come closer together as a community of allies dedicated to a more sustainable, just world. For those of you who couldn’t make it this year, we hope this event summary inspires you to join us in the future! It was a big success not only for us, but for rural and indigenous people in Central America and Mexico—as well as for our caring community here in Boston.

EcoLogic’s third annual Turning the Tables, which took place on October 20th, was a unique and creative evening full of dialogue between concerned citizens who care about the issues that affect people and planet. EcoLogic hosted both core supporters and new guests at the historic Commander’s Mansion in Watertown. The space was thoughtfully decorated with paintings made by artisans in Guatemala, videos relayed from field staff in Honduras, and auction items donated from Mexico, Belize, and beyond!

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Facilitators Dr. Kamal Bawa and Karen Ansara with long-time supporter Joe Levine

The main purpose of this event is always to spark interesting discussion between our supporters and experts in the fields of conservation, sustainability, development, philanthropy and other fields related to EcoLogic’s work. We are passionate about creating tight-knit networks between people who care and practitioners—in order to foster important dialogue, share information, and encourage actions that will help restore the environment and improve the livelihoods of rural and indigenous people. The theme of this year’s Turning the Tables was Logical Solutions, paying homage to the “logic” part of our name. The guest facilitators led discussions on solutions that they are working on, or that they support, and the logic behind them. We were so glad to have such an energetic and involved group for these critical conversations.

The annual event is also EcoLogic’s main in-person fundraising opportunity—and we’re proud to say that our friends and supporters were able to raise approximately $22,000 for our work in Mesoamerica. On behalf of everyone at EcoLogic and the communities who benefit from your kind support, thank you so much!

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Facilitators Meredith Niles and Froyla Tzalam engaging attendees in dialogue over dinner

We also want to take a moment to thank our expert facilitators, who exceeded our expectations in leading engaging conversations on diverse topics with humor, curiosity, and insight. These discussions over dinner are what truly sets our event apart from others. We would be remiss to not take the time to highlight some of the outstanding facilitators who really made this night special.

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EcoLogic and friends enjoy discussions and drinks

Kofi Taha gave an excellent talk about MIT D-Lab’s model of community engagement and deep-relationship building. This model facilitates innovation, community-ownership, and agency, which enables change. Karen Ansara educated us on the importance of philanthropy and how to inspire others. She reminded us that “eco” means home and prompted us to think about the first time we ever learned of someone’s home being in danger as a way to think about our environment being in danger. Froyla Tzalam gave us a unique, first-person perspective on how to pass indigenous knowledge to future generations and ensure sustainable conservation. While we can’t highlight all of the incredible talks, we would like to show you a video of facilitator Dr. Meredith Miles summarizing her interesting and inspiring discussion on achieving food security in a changing climate:

On the topic of videos, we also wanted to mention that our video activity, which was a new innovation for us at EcoLogic, raised over $3,000 to support the projects that were featured. For a quick recap—in an effort to bring the voices of our field staff directly to our supporters in Boston, we challenged our field technicians to produce short cell phone videos about their most urgent project priorities and explain their own logical solutions that they use daily with communities to restore and protect critical ecosystems in their region. We had no idea  whether people would take the time to watch and listen, but we hoped to provide attendees with an authentic explanation of our work and unique look into the field. It turned out everyone in the room was excited and eager to participate. It was great to see the event rally around the Guatemala project —which triggered a $1,500 match by an anonymous donor. These contributions will support Field Technician Elmer Urizar Reyes’ prioritized need to expand his communities’ agroforestry initiative and bring this logical solution to more rural farming families in Ixcán.

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John Riley and Nik Putnam engaging in the video activity

We’re already looking forward to (and planning for) next year! If you missed this year’s event, we look forward to your continued engagement and support, and we’re excited to continue improving and bringing new, exciting, innovations to the table (literally).

Your participation, support, and confidence in our work mean so much to everyone here at EcoLogic. Because of your generosity, we can provide critical support to vulnerable forests and families in Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and Mexico.

Finally, for updates on the projects that you’ve supported or are particularly interested in, and to stay current with work in the region—please follow EcoLogic on Facebook and Twitter as this is the best way to stay connected with our work through more frequent updates, highlights from the field, partner spotlights, and news from Mesoamerica.

If you’re interested in hosting your own memorable evening, consider organizing a Jeffersonian dinner at your home as a fun way to introduce your friends to EcoLogic. We can provide the table facilitators and help organize an event on a topic of interest to you that connects to our work. Please contact our event organizer, Alexa Piacenza, at apiacenza@ecologic.org or 617-607-5143.

With the utmost appreciation as always,

Alexa Piacenza

Thank you to our generous sponsors: Eastern Bank, Bolton Global Capital, Nick Shufro, Insource Services, The Bay & Paul Foundations, Bill Green, Mark Spranca, and Anderson & Kreiger LLP.

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