Since 1984, Plant With Purpose has planted over 7.5 million trees. In seeking holistic solutions to poverty, Plant With Purpose helps the rural poor by restoring a productive environment that they can profit from. While working in the Dominican Republic with a Christian relief organization, Tom Woodward noticed that the poverty was cyclical because subsistence farmers could not support themselves off of the land due to deforestation and soil degradation. It was because of this experience that Woodward founded Plant With Purpose. The organization partners with the poor to empower them to protect the environment so that their farming is more productive and sustainable.
Plant With Purpose believes that they are sent by God to be “agents of encouragement and empowerment,” so they want to ensure that the poor that they are helping are actively involved in the process. Each country has full-time staff who are native to the country and help to determine the needs of the community and how best to fulfill them. By planting trees and restoring the environment, they are giving the rural poor the means for supporting themselves. The planted trees restore soil quality, protect the water supply, and yield a crop that can be sold or eaten. So far, Plant With Purpose has helped more than 48,000 people in nearly 250 villages, including villages in Haiti, Mexico, Thailand, Burundi, Tanzania, and the Dominican Republic.
In addition to planting trees, Plant With Purpose partners with villages to restore a sustainable economy. They achieve this through micro-credit loans, micro-enterprise, teaching business skills, and educating the people on agricultural programs that are good for the environment. They also encourage spiritual renewal while also helping to restore people economically, environmentally, and relationally. According to the Plant With Purpose website, their goals for the villages they help are 1) To improve the quality of life, 2) Restore relationships with the environment and with God, and 3) promote self-sufficiency.
To get involved, you can contribute financially to grow a village, or plant trees at only $1 a tree! If you’re passionate about women’s empowerment, business and finance, ministry, conservation farming, caring for the environment, and social justice, there are specific suggestions that can be found on their website. Plant With Purpose also wants people willing to share the news about their organization through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr, and Tumblr. More information about their organization and how you can get involved can be found at: www.plantwithpurpose.org.