“When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves.”
– David Orr
“We welcome you with open arms,” she said as the evening closed.
“She” was one of the many Ecotrust employees our team of HandsOn Portland Teamworks volunteers met at Sundown at Ecotrust – a four-week concert series sponsored by and held at the Ecotrust headquarters in downtown Portland. Our team’s job was to help Ecotrust run the free concert.
From their website, Ecotrust’s mission is ”… to inspire fresh thinking that creates economic opportunity, social equity and environmental wellbeing.” In practical terms, they are an inspiration and a connection point for local businesses looking for the three E’s – economic viability, ethical business models, and environmentally-friendly practices. With 20-years of commitment throughout the Pacific Northwest, Ecotrust funds new eco-friendly & ethical businesses, incubates a growing network of for-profit and non-profit organizations bent on change, helps preserve forests through innovate new approaches, and on and on. They’ve got a gloriously long press page of their accomplishments here.
In spite of their long record of achievement, what I was most impressed with was the spirit of the people. Ecotrust employees were engaged, affable, energetic, and fun. As I “manned” the raffle booth with Katie and Lauren, they were more than happy to answer my endless questions from sustainability to tent breakdown. Concert-goers were no exception. Whether they were asked about Ecotrust, the concert, or the restroom, they took the time to answer them.
I was also fortunate enough to meet Sam Beebe, son of Ecotrust founder Spencer Beebe. Sam and I talked about giving time, volunteering, the work of Ecotrust and it’s mission. With a simple example, he helped explain what Ecotrust is all about.
Paraphrasing what Sam told me, “Let’s say a restaurant wants to get connected with local, organic farmers. We might get the owner of the restaurant in a room with local farmers that specialize in all different types of organic produce. Then they can work out how best to meet their mutual needs. We’ll help facilitate their connection so everyone benefits.”
Even the Ecotrust headquarters is a community hub. In a renovated old building in Portland’s Pearl District, refitted to be environmentally-friendly and human-friendly, they host inspired, local businesses like Hot Lips Pizza and have a beautiful conference space designed for local organizations. As I helped pack up after the concert I got to see just how well they used the space, blending old timbers and brick with modern design.
It’s that kind of inspired thinking that has helped turn Ecotrust into the model company it is today. Incubating economic, ethical and environmental ideas with a healthy dose of fun feeds on itself. It creates a spirit in all the people connected, from employees to volunteers to concert-goers. If you’re a business in the Pacific Northwest that wants to “go green”, be more ethical, connect with your local community, or do business differently, then contact Ecotrust. They will welcome you.
I think I speak for all of our Teamworks group when I say we were treated well tonight. From pizza, beers and high-fives to great music and people, we felt genuinely welcomed …
… with open arms.
Yesterday’s gift of time … Volunteered with our Teamworks team at Ecotrusts’ Sundown summer concert. Like Ecotrust welcomes innovative ideas, they welcomed us.