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Island Resources Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Economic Development, Environment, International, International Economic Development, Microfinance, Philanthropy, Public Foundations, Wildlife Preservation & Protection

Mission: Founded in St. Thomas in 1972 by Dr. Edward L. Towle, Ph.D., Island Resources Foundation was in the forefront of the movement to address special scientific and technical attention to the unique social and natural environmental conditions of small tropical islands. Since that time the Foundation has achieved widespread recognition for its efforts (over 160 projects worth over $6 million) in designing innovative adaptive uses of natural and cultural resources in small island systems. Currently the focus of Island Resources activities is on: 1) integrated coastal zone and watershed management strategies; 2.) scientific and technical studies for biodiversity conservation; and 3) environmental information management for decision making. The Foundation is especially adept at institutional capacity building (an explicit objective of most projects), disaster mitigation and strategies to develop sustainable tourism.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This review is a brief account of my relationship with IRF over the years and why I give the organization the highest rating possible. I began working with IRF in the 1980s on a project in St. Kitts needing legal technical assistance with the country's environmental legal framework. As I already had been working in the Caribbean with natural resources legal frameworks for the OECS countries through World Wildlife Fund (where I worked), this IRF project was a good fit. I got to know and respect the founders and team leaders, Dr. Ed Towle and Judith Towle, through that experience, and had a valuable opportunity to work with them in the field as well as with the Bruce Potter who was part of their team (now President) and other Caribbean environmental experts who were IRF senior associates. Since those years, I continued to keep close ties with IRF and follow the high quality of their professional and technical work in the Eastern Caribbean with environmental profiles, environmental technical assistance, and general environmental analytical support. Then in the early 2000s I had an opportunity to work with IRF on a British Virgin Islands project to strengthen legal and institutional capacity with their park system in anticipation that an island, Sandy Cay, owned by L. Rockefeller could be donated to the BVI as a park. We worked closely together, both in the BVI and their US offices in Washington, DC, with the project resulting in the BVI passing a new, modern national parks act (where I provided drafting assistance) and strengthening its institutional framework for parks management, as well as the legal process of island transfer in 2007. In mid-2000 I was invited to be an IRF Trustee and I have been proud to serve both as a volunteer and Trustee ever since. I have the most high regard for IRF, its mission, management, senior associates, team approach, and work products. While a small NGO with very constrained and limited resources, IRF has made significant accomplishments in the region and is one of the most dedicated, committed, and professional environmental organizations I have ever been associated with. And global change, including climate change, is making their continued environmental commitment to serve the small islands of the English-speaking Caribbean even more relevant and important, particularly as scientific understanding about biodiversity and ecological processes in those islands has improved with each decade since IRF's beginning in 1972. IRF continues to be highly regarded in the region and their professional network continues to be strong with the governmental, non-governmental, university, and private sectors. To the extent helpful, I am committed to continuing to serve IRF in the years ahead in whatever capacity I can.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

IRF has been extremely helpful in facilitating the sharing and exchange of scientific and environmental information between the Caribbean islands for 40 years. AAHS has benefited from grant funding coordinated by them in years past.

Review from Guidestar