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July 14, 2000
WEB SURFERS MAKE SAVING LAND WITH ECOLOGYFUND.COM
PART OF THEIR EVERYDAY LIVES
Ann Arbor, MI - "I like the fact that everyone can do their good deed for the day from their office or room," says Jeff Clune, a 22 year-old strategist for a San Francisco Internet company and regular user of EcologyFund.com. Clune continues, "Now, with EcologyFund, I can help realize my dream of buying up the rainforest and setting it on the shelf for further generations to marvel at." Users of EcologyFund (www.EcologyFund.com) can save over 250 square feet of rainforest and wilderness land a day with a 45 second visit to the click-to-donate wilderness Web site. EcologyFund, which launched in February, has seen a 408% increase in visits in a four month period, resulting in over 60 million square feet of land saved to date. The growth comes from heavy use by concerned Web surfers in all 50 U.S. states and around the world. Over 50,000 individuals have clicked on the "donate now" buttons on the site. By viewing the banner ads that then follow, users are ensuring that a donation of money from the sponsors will go to that project.
EcologyFund enables anyone to be a philanthropist. Many of the frequent users of EcologyFund don't consider themselves environmentalists or even frequent volunteers. Environmentalists are using the site, but many users do not have a history of philanthropy or environmentalism. EcologyFund allows for a new philanthropy--it harnesses the virtues of the Internet and turns them into gains for the environment.
Australian Simon Chate, a 35 year-old student of contemporary music at Southern Cross writes, "I love that I can influence the state of the Amazonian rainforest. It is vital to give back to the Earth, and this is a very non-intrusive and easy way..." Jennifer Chipman, a 21 year-old resident of Canada echoes his thoughts, "Clicking to donate on a regular basis is such a small action that everyone who has Internet access can take, at no cost to themselves." Jennifer also likes that there are four different projects offered on the site, although she says, "I donate to all of the projects." Aurora Sherman, a 32 year-old assistant professor and Developmental Psychology Ph.D. from North Carolina writes, "...I have pretty limited finances. Using the click-to-donate route, I feel like I can really make a difference."
Carole Pollack, a 53 year-old elementary and middle school teacher in the South Bronx, and a user of EcologyFund since its inception, sees the big picture. "[EcologyFund is] a beautiful blending of technology, business, and consumerism. Everyone benefits. Everyone can make a difference." Another New York user, 15 year-old Siobhan, shows that young people, who may not have the resources to donate to causes through traditional ways, can make a difference as well--"It's quick and fun, and there are so many options...I'm so grateful that there are organizations that will sponsor sites like this to preserve our wildlife."
Currently, three non-profit preservation groups have partnered with EcologyFund and are recipients of the donations: the Wilderness Land Trust in the U.S., the Rainforest Trust based in the U.K. and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Details of the projects offered through these groups are given on the site. The projects range from the Amazon Basin rainforest to virgin tall grass prairie land in Canada. Current sponsors of EcologyFund are Novica, CoolSavings.com, iPrint, CharityMall, and Zeal.com. Links to their Web sites can be accessed from the sponsor banner page on EcologyFund.com .