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Chicago non-profit Greenheart International launch event

Greenheart International unfurls their flag at the Chicago launch party
Photo courtesy of Greenheart International

Chicago based non-profit Greenheart International held a launch event on Friday May 4 at the Loft on the Lake, one of Chicago’s premier green spaces. Greenheart International, formerly the Center for Cultural Interchange, is a non-profit dedicated to connecting people and the planet to create a more sustainable and peaceful global community and future.

The launch event celebrates the four branches of Greenheart being unified under one umbrella in order to realize the above mentioned goal. The launch party also highlighted sister projects, Greenheart Ibiza and Greenheart music. The press release states: “ Greenheart’s unique and diverse collection of programs fosters cultural exchange, eco-fair trade, volunteerism, and personal development, offering countless opportunities for Chicagoans and people everywhere to transform their lives and make a positive impact on the world.”

Chicago travel blogger Pola Henderson is a good example of this spirit. Editor of the popular travel blog, Jetting Around, Pola was awarded a scholarship through Greenheart to go to Ecuador for three weeks to assist at with Community Development program in Lumbisí near Quito helping children and the elderly. What an awesome way to make a difference and see a different part of the world.

The launch featured interactive displays that spotlight world travel and transformation, live entertainment, local and sustainable cuisine, an incredible prize drawing and guest speakers who shared their own remarkable experiences with Greenheart International. The event turned out to be a huge success. The event sold out with 250 guests total and raised nearly $10,000.

All event proceeds support Greenheart’s Environmental Service Learning Scholarship (ESLS), a special environmental and cultural immersion program for economically disadvantaged Chicago high school students. Recipients of the scholarship spend two weeks in Costa Rica living with local host families, volunteering at an animal rescue center and learning about the environment and community development. When they return to Chicago, they share their new skills by leading a Greenheart supported community project in their school or neighborhood.

At a time when many Americans continue to only travel and think locally, it is great there is a Chicago hometown non-profit engaging youth and other service minded individuals with the rest of the world. Only 30% of our population has a passport, so it is great that Greenheart is reaching out to youths in a way that connects them to the world and it seems this reorganization in the non-profit will help facilitate this goal.

“In this time of change and expansion for Greenheart, we see clearly the need to engage more deserving youth in Greenheart programs,” said Laura Rose, CEO and board member to several key cultural exchange organizations. “Our scholarship offerings are growing, and this launch party serves as a platform to share this vision and to raise funds for more Chicago youth to experience cultural exchange.”

“There are major shifts taking place in our society, and Greenheart wants to be a leader in this transformation,” said Emanuel Kuntzelman, founder and president. “By offering programs that relate to travel, cultural exchange, fair trade, volunteerism, environmental care and personal development, Greenheart fosters change makers and global citizens in a holistic way. Through this Greenheart community, we aim to create a more peaceful and sustainable world. This is our mission.”

As a Chicagoan, a traveler, and a person concerned with green issues and future sustainability, it is great to know that there is a local non-profit like Greenheart.

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