By Jessica & Adam Sweidan, Founding Trustees, January 2017
In 2000 we created a philanthropic organisation called The Synchronicity Foundation. At the time, we were fundamentally interested in engaging with brilliant people and organisations with inspired ideas or projects. The people behind the projects were as important to us as the chosen projects and issues.
Taking a very bottom-up approach to giving, we had a very diverse and eclectic portfolio and found ourselves funding across numerous sectors including social and economic welfare, healthcare, relief efforts, the environment, endangered species, and children’s wellbeing. To date, The Synchronicity Foundation has worked with over 70 projects in nearly 40 countries, giving away over US $6 million.
As we learnt more about each of these themes, we became increasingly aware that environmental degradation was becoming a key (if not the key) issue underpinning all of our interests. We found ourselves funding children’s education projects where the focus was about obtaining freshwater and healthy meals; while refugee projects often seemed to be less about politics and more about climate displacement and access to resources.
Conversely, projects focusing on saving species were more about politics and people than conservation biology: who owns the land? Who has access to the resources? Is there enough science? Do we create animal sanctuaries or support protected areas?
As we began to investigate how we could get more involved in conservation, the thing that struck us was how appallingly under-funded the field is, especially considering how important the natural world is to us all – far from being a ‘luxury’, saving nature amounts to saving ourselves.
We also quickly realised that it is an incredibly complicated field – there are thousands of organisations with varying levels of expertise and capacity working around the world; the issues range from local to global and are often unconstrained by national borders; virtually everything involves negotiations between politicians, global businesses, and local people; and success in conservation is very difficult to measure. We believed that if we were having a tough time negotiating the conservation landscape, then others must find it equally daunting.
So, we evolved. We created Synchronicity Earth – an organisation that aspires to look at the whole conservation landscape, make sense of it, and spread the word, so that ultimately we can ramp up funding to excellent projects.
In 2009 we merged the two organisations because, quite simply, without our environment intact nothing else matters, and we wanted to stay focused on this most urgent of tasks. This meant that Synchronicity Earth would become the primary beneficiary of The Synchronicity Foundation, and benefit from the sustainable funding stream that we set up over 15 years ago.
We can now offer nearly 20 years of grant-making experience, a track record for sourcing and nurturing creative and exciting projects worldwide, and an innovative mechanism that provides core funding. Synchronicity Earth has become a network hub for innovative conservation action. With a top research-driven team, a network of expert advisors, and an integrated approach to giving, we are developing holistic relationships with our project partners, other foundations and donors, and are therefore primed to tackle the daunting environmental challenges of our time.
Synchronicity Earth was created as a vehicle to leverage the impact that we alone could have. We believe in the power of true collaboration and the benefits of combining rigorous science and creative thinking. Our wish is for Synchronicity Earth to be used as the platform that it was created to be. As the world is slowly waking up to the reality of the extinction crisis and existential threat that the dismantling of the earth’s ecosystems will pose to mankind, we are deeply aware that the vision and work of Synchronicity Earth is crucial.
We offer an approach and a way forward. We encourage you to act by joining us.