Pack your bags and journey with us to the Terra Conservation Reserve in Costa Rica—a place that’s near and dear to the hearts of husband-and-wife Luis Rodriguez and Sharon Cheever, benefactors of the Rodriguez Cheever Foundation. Created by the foundation to fulfil a commitment to help preserve the rainforest, the Reserve serves as a sanctuary for plants and wildlife—from the intelligent and agile cariblanco monkey to the collared aracari of the Toucan family. We are pleased to spotlight their work in this edition of our Foundation Friday series.
About Your Philanthropy
What inspired you to start your foundation? What causes are you most passionate about?
A passion to directly contribute to philanthropic endeavors of interest to us. We are primarily focused on conservation initiatives that will be there for future generations to enjoy.
What is one of your private foundation’s achievements that you are proud of and why?
In less than 3 years, we have planted over 10,000 native rainforest species trees at Terra. Many of these trees have grown from less than a foot tall to over 12 feet tall. We could only achieve this great result with the help of naturalist advisors, community members who helped us plant and maintain the trees and the donation of trees.
Can you tell us about a time when you were able to see the impact of your giving?
Since our goal is to bring back the rainforest, besides the trees we plant, seeing an increase in animals is how we measure our success. With the help of trap cameras and naturalists who frequently visit Terra, we have seen a big increase in the species we catalog in comparison to the early days when we purchased the farms.
How do you stay connected with other philanthropists? Do you work with other grants, foundations or nonprofits to drive specific projects forward?
We have used social media and word of mouth to date. But we know we have more work to do to connect with like-minded philanthropists. When we connect with like-minded foundations or nonprofits, we often share our mission and look for ways to partner—usually through collaboration and information sharing.
What would you want other philanthropists to know about your work?
When you have been given the opportunity to give back philanthropically, there is nothing more rewarding than the sense of doing something meaningful to help others.
About Your Foundation
How do you engage your family in your foundation?
Our children are very proud of the work we are doing, as are other family members. We keep them apprised of ways they can be involved.
What is one long-term goal for your foundation?
To ensure that the work we are doing will carry on into the future and benefit future generations.
Do you have any advice for people looking to start or grow their own private foundation?
It is important to find those causes that you are passionate about so that the time and resources you will be investing in will feel worth pursuing.
Is there a unique foundation feature that has helped you pursue your mission?
The work that Foundation Source does for us has made it so that we can step away from the regulatory and administrative side of the foundation and pursue our mission without concerns that we may not be compliant with nonprofit laws.
Working with Foundation Source
How does Foundation Source help you achieve your goals?
They help us with all of the regulatory and administrative functions so that we are compliant with nonprofit status. They are also a great sounding board for things we are considering doing.
Can you tell us a little about your experience working with the Foundation Source team?
It really has been a great pleasure. Our core team is always there to answer any questions (or provide guidance) and they help us access the subject matter experts at Foundation Source if we need them. The SMEs are also first rate!
How was the process of getting your private foundation set up or transitioned to Foundation Source?
Foundation Source was our advisor to help us set up the foundation and they were there to answer questions and provide necessary guidance and advice all along the way.
We are proud to support the work of the Rodriguez Cheever Foundation and thank them for sharing their story!
Want to learn more about the ways we support private foundations?
Looking for an easier way to manage a foundation or want to start a foundation? Our philanthropic specialists are here to help! To learn more, schedule a call with us or reach us at 800-839-0054. Together, let’s #begiving.