Washington, D.C. – Rick Steves’ Europe announced Project Concern International (PCI) among the first recipients of the company’s Million-Dollar Climate Smart Commitment Grants. With this generous funding, PCI and local communities in the Western Highlands of Guatemala will tackle significant challenges to health, safety and environmental sustainability. Through the grant, PCI and local women leaders from the Dry Corridor will promote the use of clean, efficient cookstoves to lower carbon emissions and dramatically reduce firewood-related deforestation and smoke-related health problems. Read on to learn more about the inaugural award, as outlined by the company.
Rick Steves’ Europe Awards First Annual Million-Dollar Climate Smart Commitment Grants
By supporting 11 organizations with its “self-imposed carbon tax,” the company will help mitigate the carbon emissions of the 30,000 people it took on Rick Steves tours in 2019 by directly supporting US advocacy and climate-smart initiatives in the developing world
Edmonds, WA – Rick Steves’ Europe, one of America’s leading European travel and guidebook companies, has selected 11 nonprofits to receive its first annual $1 million Climate Smart Commitment grants. The company’s yearly investment will go directly to two kinds of organizations: groups advocating in Congress for US policies to fight climate change, and nonprofit organizations who are helping farming communities in the developing world mitigate their contribution to climate change by employing climate-smart agriculture and forestry techniques.
Rick Steves’ Europe’s Climate Smart Commitment reflects the company’s core value of demonstrating good global citizenship. For 40 years, travel writer and public television host Rick Steves has been encouraging Americans to travel abroad. Throughout his travels, Steves has seen the harmful effects of climate change. He recognizes his organization’s ethical responsibility to account for the toll that the 30,000-plus travelers who fly to Europe each year to take his company-led tours have on the environment.
“Mitigating the carbon emissions we cause is simply the right thing to do,” says Steves. “The beneficiaries we’ve selected are working to help farmers in the developing world rise out of poverty while contributing less to climate change.”
During a competitive application process, each organization demonstrated its ability to effectively combat climate change. They will each receive between $50,000 and $200,000 for their individual project.
The 2019 grant recipients include:
Bread for the World encourages lawmakers in the US Congress to support policies that address climate change in order to fight hunger and poverty.
Project Concern International works in developing countries to end hunger, empower communities, and promote climate-smart agriculture.
Agros International helps families in Latin America break the cycle of rural poverty through market-led agriculture, financial empowerment, and by helping landless farmers buy and get firm titles to their own land.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) World Hunger helps small family farmers adopt more sustainable practices, adapt to a changing climate, and increase local food security.
The Rainforest Alliance works with rural communities in some of the world’s most vulnerable landscapes to conserve forests and farm in a sustainable way.
Zeitz Foundation develops and implements ecologically responsible projects in Kenya that combine conservation, community, culture, and commerce.
Growing Hope Globally addresses the root causes of hunger by providing empowerment and leadership opportunities to women, improving their access to land and clean water, and training them on improved farming, hygiene, and nutrition.
Sustainable Harvest International partners with smallholder farming families in Central America to improve their well-being through climate-smart, organic farming techniques.
Citizens’ Climate Education helps organize and empower concerned American citizens to lobby effectively by educating policymakers and the public about the importance of addressing climate change smartly.
Rainforest Action Network preserves forests, protects the climate, and upholds human rights by challenging corporate power and systemic injustice through frontline partnerships and strategic campaigns.
Food 4 Farmers partners with coffee-farming families to address food insecurity in Latin America’s rural communities by transforming small-scale coffee farms into diversified, environmentally sustainable agricultural hubs.
Visit the Rick Steves’ Europe Climate Smart Commitment portfolio to learn about each organization’s specific project and how you can support their work.
“We hope our new Climate Smart Commitment program inspires other travel companies to take responsibility for their environmental impact and find innovative ways to offset the carbon emissions the people who take their tours add to our environment,” says Steves. “We’re not passing along the cost to our tour members with higher prices. Instead, we’re taxing ourselves. As a business, we think this is simply ethical.”
Steves keeps the climate conversation going in Hunger and Hope: Lessons from Ethiopia and Guatemala. In this hour-long public television special (scheduled to be released January 2020), Steves travels to the developing world to learn from locals and experts about extreme poverty and how to address it, including climate-smart solutions. Visit ricksteves.com to learn more about his upcoming Hunger and Hope special and the Climate Smart Commitment.
About Rick Steves:
Rick Steves, a public television host and author of dozens of guidebooks, is America’s most respected authority on European travel. Steves took his first trip to Europe in 1969, visiting piano factories with his father, a piano importer. As an 18-year-old, Steves began traveling on his own, funding his trips by teaching piano lessons. In 1976, he started his business, Rick Steves’ Europe, located in Edmonds, Washington. His mission is to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. Steves is also active in his church and with advocacy groups focused on economic and social justice, drug policy reform, and ending hunger.
About Rick Steves’ Europe:
Located in Edmonds, Washington, Rick Steves’ Europe produces a best-selling guidebook series on European travel, America’s most popular travel show on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, and free travel information available through ricksteves.com. Rick Steves’ Europe also runs a successful tour program, organizing tours for more than 30,000 travelers to Europe annually. In a move to help mitigate the carbon emissions from travelers who fly to Europe for Rick Steves tours, the company announced an annual $1 million donation to climate-smart nonprofit organizations in 2019. To learn more about the grant program and application process, visit the company’s Climate Smart Commitment page.
About Project Concern International:
Project Concern International (PCI) is a San Diego-based global development organization that drives innovation from the ground up to create meaningful and measurable change in people’s lives. Together with our partners, we empower communities to enhance health, end hunger, overcome hardship and advance women & girls. We envision a world in which the most vulnerable people will have the power to lift themselves out of poverty and to create vital, healthy lives for their families and communities now and for the future. Last year alone, PCI impacted the lives of nearly 10 million people in 15 countries, including the United States. For more information, visit www.PCIGlobal.org.