Lindblad Expeditions and Island Conservation launch Galapagos Island Relief Fund to help the Galapagos community build toward a brighter, more certain, and sustainable future after COVID-19 devastated the tourism economy.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 17, 2020
Images available upon request.
Lindblad Expeditions, a global provider of expedition cruises, and Island Conservation, an international not-for-profit conservation organization, have launched the Galápagos Island Relief Fund—to provide immediate financial relief for the people of the Galápagos Islands who have been devastated by the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tourism accounts for more than 80% of the Galápagos economy, so in March, when travel restrictions suddenly halted the tourism industry, it caused profound hardship for families, businesses, and the communities at large. In the first two months of the pandemic alone, the islands’ economy lost $50 million, almost a quarter of the annual income; and the Galápagos Chamber of Tourism recently reported that visitors between July and October dropped a staggering 95%. The economic devastation also poses a serious threat to the conservation of this extraordinary and pristine archipelago.
Donations received by the Galápagos Island Relief Fund will enable Fundación Un Cambio Por La Vida (FUNCAVID), a local non-profit organization to disseminate microloans to the people of the Galapagos..
The monies will provide immediate financial relief, address the basic needs of vulnerable families, allow children to stay in school, and help sustainable businesses survive, grow, and begin developing new income sources. These lines of credit will support hundreds of community enterprises and initiatives in the areas of local entrepreneurship and strengthening existing businesses, sustainable food production and marketing, emergency aid for vulnerable families to meet basic living costs, and education. So, the community can continue its inspiring journey of protecting the unique ecosystems and wildlife of their island home.
“The people of Galápagos are struggling more than I’ve seen in my 53-year relationship with the Islands,” stated Sven Lindblad, Founder and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions. “Stimulating the local economy through community micro-loans has the power to activate a thriving system – helping entrepreneurs and small business owners develop new ideas to complement sustainable tourism, and meeting the needs of the local community long after the pandemic is over.”
The main fundraising mechanism will be outreach to Lindblad guests who have voyaged with them to Galápagos. The small ship cruise line has also set up a matching program, where every $1 donated to the Galapagos Island Relief Fund (up to $50,000) will be matched 3:1 by an equivalent dollar-for-dollar donation from each: Sven and Kristin Lindblad’s Wanderlust Fund, Lindblad Expeditions, and the Lindblad Expeditions Board of Directors.
“The Galapagos Island Relief Fund will enable Galapagos community members to further their education, create new businesses, and increase local food security—steps that are essential to building a more sustainable way of life on the islands, in which, people and wildlife can thrive,” explained Karl Campbell, Island Conservation’s Executive Director of Latin America.”
Every dollar raised (100% of funds donated) will stay in Galápagos. Persons interested in supporting the Galápagos Island Relief Fund may do so here. All donations (through Island Conservation, a 501(c)3 charity) are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Daniel Proano, FUNCAVID Project Coordinator noted, “Together we will transform the strongest crisis that has impacted Galapagos and the world into an opportunity building bridges to bring our heritage to a higher level of resilience. Through your donation, we will be able to empower the dreams and creativity of the islanders, driving a productive reactivation through innovative ventures, with a social focus and the use of good environmental practices.”
FUNCAVID was established in 2009 by the Proaño family, after a family calamity, with the purpose of promoting positive changes and improvements in the life of the Galapagos people. The Foundation aims to bring together, include and convene without exception all the citizens of Galapagos to be part of the realization of changes that raise awareness, promote and motivate the protection of life, the recovery of the values of the island culture and good living in order to generate spaces for discussion and monitoring of the construction of a sustainable community with efficient public policies and clear citizen agreements.
About Island Conservation
Island Conservation’s mission is to prevent extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. Working alongside local communities, government management agencies, and conservation organizations, Island Conservation focuses on removing a primary threat to island wildlife – introduced invasive vertebrates – saving threatened plants and animals, restoring island ecosystems, and supporting island communities. Since 1994, they have successfully restored 64 islands worldwide, benefiting 1195 populations of 487 species and subspecies.
About Lindblad Expeditions
Lindblad Expeditions is an expedition travel company that focuses on ship-based voyages through its Lindblad Expeditions brand and on land-based travel through its subsidiary, Natural Habitat Adventures, an adventure travel and ecotourism company with a focus on responsible nature travel.
Lindblad Expeditions works in partnership with National Geographic to inspire people to explore and care about the planet. The organizations work in tandem to produce innovative marine expedition programs and to promote conservation and sustainable tourism around the world. The partnership’s educationally oriented voyages allow guests to interact with and learn from leading scientists, naturalists and researchers while discovering stunning natural environments, above and below the sea, through state-of-the-art exploration tools.
Interviews are available with:
- Island Conservation: Victor Carrion, Ecuador Program Manager (available for Spanish speaking interviews)
- Lindblad Expeditions: Amy Berquist, VP, Conservation, Education & Sustainability
- FUNCAVID: Daniel Proaño, Project Coordinator; Patricio Proaño, President (available for Spanish speaking interviews)
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