For eight years, Ecosystem Marketplace has been bringing you news and analysis on the interplay between nature and the economy. Now the Skoll Foundation is providing a chance for you to help us ratchet up our work. Here’s how you can help us serve you better.
22 October 2013 | Just over two weeks ago, the Skoll Foundation and Huffington Post launched the “Skoll Social Entrepreneurs’ Challenge,” a global fundraising effort for innovative enterprises like Forest Trends that seek to promote sustainable solutions to the world’s problems.
Hosted on Edward Norton’s CrowdRise platform, this effort runs through November 22 and puts us in the running for matching funds and dedicated prizes through daily and weekly challenges. If you’re a regular reader of Ecosystem Marketplace, then you know our value – and now is your chance to show us what you think it is.
How our Funding Works
As part of Forest Trends, Ecosystem Marketplace receives pieces of larger grants earmarked for research into specific topics such as forest carbon, water, or biodiversity. We also raise money from sponsors for our annual “State of” reports, which offer a deep dive into markets for voluntary carbon, forest carbon, water, and habitat.
While we’re able to cover our day-to-day operations this way, we often lack the little bit extra that makes it possible for us to commission in-depth features on complex subjects like watershed payments in Kenya or breaking stories that require us to track down rumors or dive into the weeds and fact-check complex public documents.
For these activities, there’s often no budget – and that means we sometimes have to let important stories pass us by.
Where your Money Goes
Any money you send us for the Social Entrepreneurs’ Challenge will go to Forest Trends, which publishes Ecosystem Marketplace and keeps us going. They will, however, also be watching to see how much of this challenge largesse comes from Ecosystem Marketplace and how much from the rest of the organization, and that helps us make a case for more funding to cover stories that are important but don’t fit into our existing budget.
This means we can set aside funding for free-lancers who can pitch in when we need it – and in this case, a little goes a long way. Generally speaking, an in-depth feature that takes a week to report will cost between $1000 and $1400 if we bring in one of our award-winning reporters to cover it. Breaking stories cost anywhere from $100 to $400, depending on the work involved.
If we raise just $5000 under the Ecosystem Marketplace banner and receive matching funds, we could use that to generate an additional ten features per year – or, at the very least, to generate the bandwidth to respond to breaking stories that we might not otherwise be able to cover.
How you can Donate
This is a team effort across all of Forest Trends, but we do have an in-house competition going just to keep it interesting. Skoll has given us individual pages on the Forest Trends site, and if you have a personal relationship with one of us or particularly like our work, then by all means donate under our name. If you like us all, you can spread the wealth – or, to keep it simple, just randomly donate on one of our pages.
Financially, it doesn’t matter whose page you donate on – the winner just gets bragging rights – but the more EM team members who bring in money, the more we can clamor for funding to get our articles done.
And, of course, if you’d rather just put it in the general Forest Trends pot, you can do that as well.
Here are the Ecosystem Marketplace team members and what they do. Again, it only matters for fun whose name you donate under, but if you have a personal relationship with one of us, it’s a nice nod of appreciation. The key thing is that the more Ecosystem Marketplace raises, the stronger our case for funding for news and features.
Steve Zwick is Managing Editor. He’s responsible for all site content, and he has a monkey on his head.
Molly Peters-Stanley is Managing Director, but gets second billing because she doesn’t know how to access the CMS. In addition to overseeing the operation, she puts out the annual “State of the Forest Carbon Markets” and “State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets” reports and manages to contribute the occasional news or feature story.
Genevieve Bennett is our Senior Associate for Market Tracking in Water and Biodiversity. She handles big birds and helps Molly with the “State of Watershed Markets Report”. She also contributes news and feature stories to the site.
Kelli Barrett is our Editorial Assistant. She lives in a giant pile of sand on the shores of Lake Michigan, and she’s our go-to free-lancer for breaking stories in water and biodiversity. She also helps reporters and bloggers access our content and keeps the content flowing smoothly.
Allie Goldstein is a Research Assistant in our carbon program, where she writes articles and contributes to the “State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets” and “State of the Forest Carbon Markets” reports.
Kelley Hamrick is also a Research Assistant for our carbon program and contributes to both the “State of the Forest Carbon Markets” and the “State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets”.
Gloria Gonzalez is our Senior Associate for Carbon. When she’s not knee-deep in some swamp somewhere, she’s working with Molly on the “State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets” and “State of the Forest Carbon Markets” reports or generating copious amounts of news and feature content for the site.
Daphne Yin is wrapping up as our Voluntary Carbon Associate. Over the past few years, she has contributed to the “State of” reports, and she continues to write news and feature stories on a regular basis. Though her official tenure with us is ending, we have a feeling she’ll be with us unofficially for many years to come.
The General Forest Trends page will also accept donations. That’s where all the money ultimately ends up.
You have been a part of the journey that has put ecosystem services on the map,. We are writing to invite you to help us win a “crowd source” fundraising challenge launched by the Skoll Foundation and the Huffington Post. And ask you to consider donating to this effort! Every donation will help us reach our goal and will leverage additional funding to support our word and mission!