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Have you ever reflected on the first time you sensed your personal power? Or maybe just saw a spark of your purpose, the unique impact you offer to the world?

I had this moment when I was twelve years old, growing up in the Minnesota countryside. I was standing in my backyard, overlooking the corn fields where summer bugs were backlit against a giant setting sun. And something struck me: I felt entirely connected to everything on Earth, in all its diversity, beauty and suffering. I had the unshakable sense that I would witness massive—even disruptive—change, yet this fear was met with a calling. From that point forward, I dedicated myself to a life of service and pointed my compass towards building a better world.

Now, twenty-five ‘mission-driven’ years later, I have come to firmly believe that education is the world’s most powerful tool for personal transformation and societal change. Whether working in Brazilian favelas, Tibetan settlements or Native American pueblos, I’ve seen education catalyze the unveiling of one’s power and potential for empathy, innovation and global citizenry. The late Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire, described this as conscientização, or in English, consciousness-raising.

This intention lies at the heart of EcoRise. We believe that with the right tools and opportunities, young people will envision and design a sustainable future for all. And while this is aspirational, we witness this phenomenon every day in our work. In hundreds of classrooms throughout the country, students are awakening to the knowledge that they are powerful agents of change who have the potential to transform the world.

Make no mistake, this movement needs our fuel. We are indeed living in an era that is defined by great change, opportunity and urgency. Now more than ever, we must be cultivating young minds and hearts that are fluent in resiliency, creative problem-solving, and ethical leadership. It is in this quest to provide transformative education that we need your help. In honor of Earth Day, EcoRise will be sharing inspiring stories of our student leaders and dedicating the month of April to rise up and Ignite Impact.


To elevate our relationship with our community. To align our actions with our deepest purpose. To join forces and stand up for a healthy and just world. We’re aiming to double our reach this fall. This bold and worthy vision requires a passionate and generous community. Rise with us to support sustainability education and Ignite Impact in our children’s classrooms.

Will you join us?

Gina LaMotte, Executive Director

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