Reflections on the Precipice of a New Season: Growth, Challenges, and Change
Nearly three years ago, in November 2019, Tenzin Osel Hita (Global Tree Initiative founder), shared his vision. Osel wished to find a way for people of all backgrounds to come together over a meaningful project that could be offered to the Dalai Lama as a token of gratitude for his never-ending and universal inspiration.
Jacie Keeley, the first Global Tree Initiative (GTI) Global Director, immediately understood the mission – to build a global community committed to fostering a conscious, wise, warm-hearted world of peace, where people respect and live in harmony with each other, with animals, and with the environment.
From there, the Global Tree Initiative was born.
As we near the third anniversary of GTI becoming more than just a wish, but a tangible community, it is fitting to reflect upon where we have come from, and the challenges we have faced and look to the future.
GTI has grown considerably since its inception, thanks to the leadership of the first global director, Jacie Keeley!
In just under three years, GTI has recorded 1,640,621 trees planted in 59 countries! There are regional coordinators in 15 different countries, spanning six continents. It is easy to see that GTI has come a long way from its origins as a WhatsApp group in January 2020.
In September 2020, GTI became registered in the U.S. as a 501c3 non-profit (under its umbrella organization Universal Clear Light).
When the needs of the non-profit outgrew the ability to be supported by only unpaid volunteers, Jacie took to fundraising for the first (and only) paid staff members, beyond the bookkeeper and webmaster. Thanks to the generosity of many, Jacie was able to bring on Anrich Bester and later Kika (Francisca) Gusmão to fill the two independent contractor roles.
Jacie has brought GTI from just a seed to growing roots, sprouting, and now the beginnings of a blooming community united by tree planting. The season has come to bid a fond farewell to Jacie as she enters retirement for a second time, and welcome in new faces to step into leadership and bring Global Tree Initiative to a full-fledged mature, and flowering organization!
Jacie originally retired in 2015 after a fulfilling career in community organizing and resource building. From serving as secretary to her Buddhist teacher, Lama Yeshe, for six years, organizing one of the first world tours for the Dalai Lama in the early 80s, starting a Buddhist center in South Florida in the late 80s, to building an award-winning children’s summer enrichment program from scratch, helping older adults continue life-long learning, and connecting small business owners to mentors, Jacie has had an impactful career.
She came out of retirement in 2019 to help Tenzin Osel Hita realize his dream, and what has become her dream, and the dream of so many involved in the Global Tree Initiative; plant your tree, grow our forest, save their future!
Please join us in thanking Jacie Keeley for all she has done as the first-ever global director of the Global Tree Initiative. Please, congratulate her on her second retirement after a long and inspiring career of service.