posted March 14, 2023
People often say that there are three obvious reasons for adopting a Vegan lifestyle: it is healthier, greener, and kinder. In case you don’t already know, here’s a brief explanation of all three:
Three Reasons for Veganism
Numerous studies show that a whole food, plant-based diet reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. In my own case, making the switch from long-time vegetarian to Vegan at 60-years-old reversed initial Crohn’s Disease symptoms and put my lifelong case of psoriasis into remission.
As we find ourselves in an ever-worsening climate emergency, it’s well documented that animal agriculture is a primary contributor to global warming and rainforest destruction. With our need to feed a burgeoning human population, required land and water resources are much more sustainable if we feed people plant foods rather than animal products.
It is no secret that animals raised to feed humans live shortened lives and are often subjected to neglect and abuse. Animals deserve to live their own lives, free of human exploitation. According to Plant Based News, adopting a Vegan diet spares over 100 animal lives per person every year.
Establishing the Healthier, Greener, Kinder Foundation
How does Veganism relate to a philanthropic foundation? A few years ago, when my husband sold his businesses, we decided to use part of the proceeds to establish a philanthropic foundation. Our objective was clear; we wanted to support small, innovative projects that would align with our Vegan principles. As we discussed the potential qualifications for projects that we would fund, we kept coming back to the three reasons for Veganism outlined above. Eligible projects would need to make the world healthier, greener, or kinder—or any combination of those.
We tossed around various ideas for the name of our foundation, and eventually we decided that simpler was better. So we named it the Healthier, Greener, Kinder Foundation. We received our 501(c)(3) status in October 2020 and began providing grants and donations in early 2021. The foundation is managed by a three-person board of directors and I serve as the volunteer Executive Director. This role for me is a logical one, as I’d previously invested 25 years as a professional in the environmental nonprofit sector.
Grants and Donations
We awarded grants totaling about $30,000 in 2021. The projects that we funded included a wide variety of worthwhile efforts, including:
- Purchase of furniture for an Afghan refugee family.
- Parrot nest box monitoring in Nicaragua.
- Outdoor recreation for disadvantaged children.
- Purchase of winter clothing for a “Cops and Coats” program.
In 2022, we awarded nearly $40,000 in grants and donations. The diverse projects that we funded included:
- Bat monitoring in northern Virginia.
- Publication of a children’s book about dealing with worries.
- Installation of a Piedmont Prairie Garden at a city park.
- Provision of fresh produce to a disadvantaged family.
- Rescue of chained dogs.
You can see a list of our 2021 and 2022 donations and read some grant reports at the Foundation website.
Our Most Recent Project
In response to the recent earthquake crisis in Syria, during February we offered to match donations made by our followers to an animal rescue agency located near Aleppo. I’ve been watching their activities for years, and Ernesto’s Sanctuary has done amazing work in challenging circumstances. The dedicated staff members have always dealt with the extreme challenges of operating in a war zone, and now they must cope with the added tragedy of the massive earthquakes that hit the area at the beginning of the year.
In response to our matching grant campaign, our followers generously provided $965, which we matched 100%, for a total donation to Ernesto’s of $1,930. This campaign ended February 28, 2023, but given such wonderful response, I expect we’ll run similar matching campaigns in the future for other small organizations responding to emergencies.
How You Can Help the Healthier, Greener, Kinder Foundation
- Tell other people about us and follow us on Facebook.
- Keep in touch with our activities by subscribing to our newsletter. We won’t clog up your inbox, we usually send out the newsletter a few times per year.
- Send a tax-deductible donation. Our ability to award more grants and donations depends on receiving funds from our friends and followers.
Leigh Scott is a vegan chef who completed her culinary certificate in 2016 from the School of Natural Cookery in Colorado. She earned her VLCE certification at Main Street Vegan Academy in 2019. Leigh currently serves as the volunteer Executive Director of the Healthier, Greener, Kinder Foundation. She and her husband are also landscape and wildlife photographers, and you can see some of their work on their photography website or on Instagram @focalpointersllc.