The garden at the Tloma Primary School, Tanzania. Narrated by Sandra Vaughan, GCF East Africa Project Manager

Where despite disparities
We all care to protect this world,
This riddled blue marble, this little true marvel
To muster the verve and the nerve
To see how we can serve
Our planet. You don’t need to be a politician
To make it your mission to conserve, to protect,
To preserve that one and only home
That is ours.
To use your unique power
To give next generations the planet they deserve.
~Amanda Gorman

Dear friend,

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, which to me seems like yesterday, while also seeming like a lifetime ago. At the time, there were few legal or regulatory environmental mechanisms in place, and Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin had the idea for a national teach-in to force the issue onto the national agenda.

As a grandmother, I worry about what the planet will be like for future generations and I am passionate about protecting the environment in as many ways as possible – big and small.

Through Grand Circle Foundation, we support local communities to plant gardens, like the one in the video above; embrace renewable energy; and provide access to clean water through our WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Initiative.

The Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation honors and provides funding for leaders who fight big battles against oil refineries and mining, like Brad Campbell of Conservation Law Foundation, featured in the video below. Taking a lesson from  the original Earth Day, we host annual teach-ins on environmental issues every October in conjunction with the Alnoba Environmental Leadership Awards.

Together with Grand Circle Travel and Overseas Adventure Travel we are finding solutions to reduce carbon emissions and make our offices more energy efficient. We encourage  all travelers to carry refillable water bottles to reduce the number of plastic water bottles entering landfills.

Last year was the warmest year on record, since global records began in 1850. Many things need to change to stop the rise in global temperature. This Earth Day, I hope you will take one small step to help save the earth we share.  Together, we can all make a difference.

Love and Peace,




Tanzania: Grand Circle Foundation’s goal is to have a self-sustaining project at every school we support to provide food for the students and/or income that can be used to offset the cost of school supplies. At Tloma Primary School they manage to accomplish both! Their onsite garden flourishes thanks to Daudi, a local farmer who teaches the students how to grow and care for many crops that supplement the students’ daily diet. Excess crops are sold to local lodges in the area to generate income for the school. Recently, small banana trees have been sent home with each student so every family will have access to fresh fruit.

Zimbabwe: In Jabulani, Zimbabwe, located a short drive from Victoria Falls town, the women’s papermaking group creates products that incorporate recycled paper – an income-generating project that is environmentally friendly and reduces waste that goes to landfills.

Utah, USA: Cottonwood Wash is a 320-acre parcel of land located inside the Bears Ears National Monument. Preservation of Cottonwood Wash was partially funded through donations made to the Alan E. Lewis Memorial Fund, designated to conserve land and support Indigenous People. Read here to learn how this parcel of land does both.

Brad Campbell and Conservation Law Foundation take on Big Oil companies 

USA: Conservation Law Foundation’s investigations revealed that despite knowing the harm climate change could cause, ExxonMobil, Shell and other companies left their oil storage facilities in areas vulnerable to flooding from storms and rising seas.

This failure to act put local communities at risk of catastrophic releases of oil and hazardous substances—events more and more likely to occur due to extreme weather and bigger storms.

To hold ExxonMobil accountable for its inaction, CLF launched the United States’ first legal action against the corporate giant for its climate deceit and for Clean Water Act violations at its oil storage facility in Everett, Massachusetts, which sits on the Mystic River. Last year, Exxon Mobil closed their facility.

CLF was also very instrumental in getting the last two coal plants, both located in New Hampshire, to close down.

Kenya: In November, the Kenyan government declared a Public Holiday for Kenyans to plant trees to help stave off the devastating effects of climate change. Students at  schools sponsored by GCF planted a total of 366 trees, as well as 15 bougainvillea shrubs at each school.

Zimbabwe: The importance of students obtaining water and a meal from school can not be understated due to the increasing number of children throughout Zimbabwe coming to school on empty stomachs. The borehole that supplied water for the Chidobe Primary School was in desperate need of repair and GCF was happy to provide the funds to get it fixed. Today the school’s garden is flourishing thanks to the repaired borehole.  The garden is run by the school’s Eco Club which provides student members with the opportunity to meet, learn, discuss, and expand their knowledge of environmental issues.
Food harvested from the garden so far has been used to feed the rest of the children at the school and currently provides enough to give all students one meal three times a week.

Click here to learn more about our work around the world, and don’t forget to follow GCF on Facebook!