Monday, June 1, 2015

Fundación Tropicalia Leading The Way In Sustainable Resort Developments

Mark J. Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation

For the past two years, we have partnered with the Fundación Tropicalia, which works in the Dominican Republic to improve education, agriculture, and community health. The Ocean Foundation provides three services to the organization. First, we serve as the independent third-party auditor of the sustainability of the activities of the proposed Tropicalia Resort and the foundation. Second, we have established a “friends of” fund for Fundación Tropicalia so that its US employees (and others) can help support the summer camp for girls aged 9-12 (Soy Niña, Soy Importante) from the town of Miches. Third, we are using our deep experience working with sustainable resorts, including our Coastal Sustainable Development Guidelines to create an SMS (Sustainability Management System) to guide and minimize harm from the resort itself.

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This past week, Tropicalia hosted a lunch event at the Modern in New York.  More than 40 people were gathered to hear about the proposed Tropicalia resort project which aims to be the most environmentally-sensitive resort possible, with an eye towards the long-term health of the watershed, the coastal areas, and the nearby communities.  We heard from Patrick Freeman, the President of Cisneros Real Estate, who partnered with us in St. Kitts. Patrick talked about the fact that the hotel project was the sidebar for the company until the surrounding communities had better educational and economic opportunities.

Next Adriana Cisneros, CEO of Cisneros (a privately owned media, entertainment, digital media, real estate, tourism resorts and consumer products organization), talked about the family’s long-time affection for and commitment to the Dominican Republic.  She described the company’s vision and goals for the development as a place where the family, their friends, and generations to come would gather, consuming food grown locally, and supported by the local communities as providing opportunity and economic stability.  She also discussed the care with which they chose their partners such as the architect whose projects all begin with the goal of being as green as possible.  Lastly she brought up the seven years of investment in the community through the foundation, and declared that the success of the camp program was due in part to their partnership with us here at The Ocean Foundation.  

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The director for the foundation Sofia Perazzo who, in her own words, likes to get her hands dirty spoke next about renovating the schools, expanding the girls summer camp program, and the success of individual agricultural study scholarship award winners who are coming back to the region to farm. She also gave full credit to TOF and in particular Luke Elder, our Research Analyst, for our role in their third-party sustainability assessment.  She announced the publication of the 2014 sustainability report and the launch of the foundation’s first website www.fundaciontropicalia.com.  

Beyond a delicious lunch and the good presentations, it was gratifying to know that there is real value to our strategy of meeting the needs of our donors and partners in diverse ways— and Luke deserves every bit of the praise he received for his work on the Tropicalia project.  

For additional information, here is a copy of the press release.


Photos courtesy of Fundación Tropicalia via Flickr