To the EcoViva community:
I’m very pleased to personally introduce you to our incoming Executive Director, Karolo Aparicio.
Back in November I announced the decision that I would be transitioning out of my role as Executive Director this month. I recognized that for EcoViva to achieve its ambitious 5-year vision plan, we would need a leader who has the time and capacity to build a stronger network for us within the San Francisco Bay Area, around the United States and within Central America. Karolo is precisely that leader.
Karolo Aparicio comes to EcoViva as an accomplished manager and expert fundraiser with a deep commitment to environmental sustainability and social justice. Karolo was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area to Guatemalan immigrant parents, and has spent time in rural and urban communities in Central America. Throughout his career, he has dedicated himself to advancing causes that relate strongly to our mission. As Director of Individual Giving at International Rivers he raised funds for grassroots movements to stop the destruction of tropical forests by large hydroelectric dams. As Development Director at the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Sierra Club, he worked to address the root causes of climate change. Most recently, as Director of Donor Services at the Global Fund for Women, he has supported grassroots movements for gender equity around the world.
Karolo is the right leader for EcoViva, at the right time. Our work has taken a tremendous leap. Two of the key leaders of our primary partner organization in El Salvador, the Mangrove Association, now sit in the National Legislature. Many of the community projects we have supported for years – school gardens, native corn seed production, reforestation, ecosystem restoration, youth-run community radio – are now being supported by the national government, and in most cases have expanded to reach much broader areas. And with the FMLN winning this month’s historic presidential elections, opportunities for productive alliances with the Salvadoran national government are likely to increase.
The work of the Mangrove Association has expanded from two municipalities with a population of about 20,000 people to 14 municipalities with a population of about 250,000 people, covering the entire watershed area of the Bay of Jiquilisco. We’re not yet supporting community projects in all of those municipalities, but we are supporting a process of community organizing and alliance-building that will generate bottom-up strategic plans for the long-term sustainability of the entire area. And we are beginning to apply what we’ve learned in El Salvador about authentic, long term partnerships for community-led social change to other areas of Central America, beginning with a pilot partnership in Honduras.
I remain personally committed to EcoViva, as a volunteer and as a donor. I feel proud of how far we have come in the last five years, and I’m excited to see us grow further. I will do everything I can to help, and I hope you will as well. That’s why I’m asking you to join with me today and give a donation to welcome Karolo Aparicio as our new director. I have pledged up to $2,000 from my own savings as a matching challenge to you and to all of our supporters.
I hope you’ll help me exceed this goal, so that we can start our new chapter stronger than ever before.
If you’re ever in the San Francisco Bay Area, please come by our offices in Oakland to meet Karolo and our wonderful team. And if you haven’t done so already, I hope you’ll come on one of our many Community Empowerment Tours to El Salvador to witness the inspiring work of our local community partners for yourself. It’s a life-changing experience!
It’s been a privilege and an honor for me to get to know so many of you personally over the last five years, and I am looking forward to staying connected with you as part of the EcoViva community.
Thank you for your commitment to community-led change, in your community and around the world.