Steve Lima is the U.S. marketing manager for G Adventures, a small group adventures, safaris and expeditions company with a location in Providence.
The company and its nonprofit foundation Planeterra are running the G Project in which applicants can register ideas to help solve social and environmental issues in community, freedom, beauty, or knowledge, for the change to receive a $25,000 development grant and the backing of Planterra to help bring the idea to life.
PBN: G Adventures is a travel and tour company. How did you get involved in a social venture project?
LIMA: People who aren’t familiar with G Adventures ask what business we’re in. And while it’s true we are a tour operator, the funny thing is we don’t really feel like we’re in the travel business. We see ourselves as a social enterprise in the business of changing lives. We believe that travel transforms. That it builds peace and understanding. We believe that the power of travel can change lives and make the world a better place.
So it’s not about getting us into a social venture project as much as it’s executing our purpose through a social project. For us, our purpose has always been about understanding the places and people we encounter and working to find ways to share the wealth. It’s been a part of us since G Adventures was founded in 1990. The G Project executes on this purpose and lets others join us.
PBN: What are the judges most looking for in these proposals?
LIMA: These judges come to us from all different backgrounds, but their passion is the same. They care about making the world a better place. That’s just what they want to see from these submissions. A creative, yet feasible way to protect and enrich our planet through positive social, economic, or environmental change while preserving it for future cultures, travelers, and communities for years to come.
PBN: What is the ultimate goal for the chosen project that will receive the development grant?
LIMA: The G Project is more than traveler philanthropy or charitable giving. It’s a unique initiative designed to bring people from different backgrounds together to lead, build, and foster positive change all over the world. The Planeterra Foundation, in cooperation with G Adventures, will oversee the allocation of the $25,000 in sponsorship funds, identify who will implement the idea, and ensure the idea is completed efficiently at the highest quality standards. Our goal is to select an idea that will better the planet and its people.
PBN: What else is Planeterra most involved in right now?
LIMA: Planeterra is a nonprofit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their environment, and provide supportive solutions to local problems. We’re actively supporting a steady cycle of giving and investment, via our global network of travel industry partners, in the social and environmental needs of people and places in the destinations we serve worldwide.
Planeterra’s range of projects throughout the world encompasses health programs, microenterprise development, social programs, education initiatives, environmental conservation, and community infrastructure improvements. All projects have the goal of achieving sustainable solutions to local development issues.
PBN: Who do you feel your audience is for these submissions? Who do you expect to enter?
LIMA: Everyone and anyone really. An idea for a better tomorrow could come from anyone. We know our G travelers are in touch with our mission and they are always engaging with us. That’s not to say a partner, travel agent or new client can’t submit a winning idea. We’re getting some amazing ideas and we’re so thrilled to see they are coming from a wide cross section of audiences.