Travel today is not only a means of enjoyment and enrichment, but also an invaluable portal to understanding the urgent need to protect the natural and cultural heritage of our planet and the well being of local communities around the world
New York, NY (PRWEB) October 21, 2009
Jena Gardner, President and CEO of JG Black Book of Travel announces the launch of The Bodhi Tree Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization charged with mobilizing support from the travel and tourism industry to protect places, help people, and preserve cultures around the globe. The Bodhi Tree Foundation identifies and offers assistance to highly-effective, community-based non-profit organizations that have a proven record of inspiring positive change within the communities they serve.
"Travel today is not only a means of enjoyment and enrichment, but also an invaluable portal to understanding the urgent need to protect the natural and cultural heritage of our planet and the well being of local communities around the world," said Ms. Gardner. "The Bodhi Tree Foundation was established to harness the significant resources of the travel and tourism industry to directly benefit local communities and the travelers who gain immeasurable joy by visiting them."
The Bodhi Tree Foundation will provide funding to five benefactors in 2009:
Fundacion Haciendas Del Mundo Maya: Established to rebuild highly marginalized indigenous communities in the Yucatan Peninsula by developing and implementing social projects based on five areas: health, education, housing, environmental and productive projects.
The African Wildlife Fund: Provides support to the people of Africa to ensure protection of the continent's wildlife and wild lands. The Foundation is funding conservation efforts directed at the endangered black rhino population of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
Protravel/FXB International Rwandan Village: Established in 1995 in the wake of the AIDS pandemic and devastation from the genocide to provide support to families and communities faced with the challenges of caring for thousands of orphans and vulnerable children left homeless.
The Southern Environmental Association of Belize: Works towards improving stewardship and the environmental integrity of key marine areas in southern Belize, including the Belize Barrier Reef System, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the second-largest coral reef in the world.
Heritage Watch: Dedicated to protecting Cambodia's cultural treasures by working to prevent the looting and illicit trade of antiquities while promoting responsible, sustainable tourism and economic development.
Ms. Gardner has assembled a dynamic and forward-thinking Board of Directors that sees both the significant responsibility and unique opportunity leaders in the industry have to meet the challenges of our time. Made up of travel industry professionals and global humanitarians, current Board members include: Javier Arredondo, CEO of Editorial Mapas; Melissa Biggs Bradley, Founder of Indagare; Melanie Brandman, CEO of The Brandman Agency; Costas Christ, Global Travel Editor for National Geographic Adventure and Chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards; Tom Jolley, COO and General Counsel for The Sundance Group, LLC; James Saleh, CEO of Habiquad; and Rina Spence, Founder and President of SpenceCare International.
The Bodhi Tree Foundation will call on travelers and the travel industry to consider the Power of One - a campaign that will unite travelers around the world to stand as one in order to make a difference. The campaign will shine light on the power of adding one dollar to every trip booked in order to change lives and give back to the people and places that make travel so rewarding. With 100% of Bodhi Tree Foundation's donations going directly to the programs it supports, one person and one dollar can be a powerful force of change.
To help spread the word about the Power of One campaign and further engage travelers, The Bodhi Tree Foundation has enlisted the support of some of the most socially aware travel companies across the globe. The Bodhi Tree Foundation's Leadership Council will lend their expertise, knowledge and leadership to support the Foundation's efforts, while The Bodhi Tree Foundation's Advisory Board will be more actively engaged in the Foundation's growth strategy.
Leadership Council Members
Priscilla Alexander, Owner of Protravel International Inc.; Luke Bailes, Owner of Singita Lodges; Raymond Bickson, Managing Director of Taj Hotels; Nicky & Steve Fitzgerald, Owners of &Beyond; Brian Mullis, President of Sustainable Travel International; Andy Payne, CEO of Wilderness Safaris; Dennis Pinto, Managing Director, Micato Safaris; Mahen Sanghrajka, CEO of Big Five Tours & Expeditions; John Tedstrom, President and CEO of Global Business Coalition; Valerie Wilson, President and Chairman of Valerie Wilson Travel.
Advisory Board Members
Nikheel Advani, Chief Operating Officer and Principal of Grace Bay Resorts; Alistair Ballantine, Director of Sales and Marketing, The Americas at Orient-Express; Peter Bates, President of Strategic Vision; Bob Boulogne, Chief Operating Officer of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts; Stephen Brandman, Co-owner of Thompson Hotel Group; Karen Goldberg, Director of Marketing at Hotel Plaza Athenee New York; Mary Gostelow, Owner-Editor of Gostelow Repor; Philippe Kjellgren, President of The Kiwi Collection; Jeff Klein, Owner of JK Hotels; Ann Layton, President of Siren Communications, Victoria Mather, Travel Editor at Vanity Fair; David Morris, President, David Morris International; Ian Swain, Owner and Founder of Swain Tours; Marc Telio, Owner of Entrée Destinations; Nathaniel Waring, Founder of Cox & Kings USA; Brad Wilson, Chief Operating Officer of Denihan Hospitality Group; Joel Zack, President of Heritage Tours Private Travel.
While the Founding Partners will mainly be called on for support, advice and strategic planning, a number have pledged to support the foundation through their business endeavors. David Morris International, a travel based sales and marketing firm, will add $1 to every customized travel program they book, travel specialist Entrée Destinations will add $1 per room night booked for their Canada and Alaska itineraries and Hotel Plaza Athenee New York is offering their guests the opportunity to donate to The Bodhi Tree through their guest amenity program.
About Jena Gardner
Entrepreneur, travel industry icon and marketing expert Jena Gardner founded JG Black Book of Travel in 2002, and has built it into a highly successful consulting firm that provides expert marketing, promotion and sales services to the world's finest travel providers. Ms. Gardner's innovative approach to business has garnered her several accolades and awards, including a 2009 Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing HSMAI Adrian Award, 2009 Enterprising Women of the Year Award and Diversity Business' Top 100 Women Owned Businesses in the State of New York. Ms. Gardner's successful growth strategy has also landed JG Black Book of Travel on the 2009 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Ms. Gardner is a member of numerous marketing, travel and executive associations including the Global Business Coalition, Women Presidents' Organization, National Association of Women Business Owners, Women Impacting Public Policy, National Center for Policy Analysis, Enterprising Women Advisory Board, Forbes Woman Advisory Board, Virtuoso Hotel Committee, Luxury Marketing Council and HSMAI.