A Common Vision, a New Organization

Aliados is a new organization formed in 2018 from the merger of Runa Foundation and PlanJunto CI.

Aliados' mission is to build resilient community business based on biodiversity in the Andes and the Amazon—and connect them to markets across the globe.

We work across the Andes and Amazon and our vision is to transform the way business is done in these precious ecosystems. 

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Our Journey

In 2009, Tyler Gage moved to the Ecuadorian Amazon to co-found RUNA, a beverage company with a pioneering approach. RUNA has worked side-by-side with indigenous communities to bring the guayusa tea, brewed from the a native amazonian tree, to the outside world. Since then, RUNA has generated over $1.5 million in income for more than 3,000 indigenous families. In order to create a greater impact and expand beyond guayusa, Tyler and Eliot Logan-Hines created RUNA Foundation, which works directly with the people of the Amazon to create new products from native plants and local knowledge.

The Runa experience offers a fundamentally new approach for development in the Amazon by harnessing the power of business in line with social and environmental goals.

While RUNA and Runa Foundation reached new heights, PlanJunto Ltda—a social business founded by Wain Collen—was working with Amazonian communities to create new enterprises based on sustainable agriculture and transportation systems. PlanJunto’s community business approach harnesses collective action for more resilient ecosystem management, and prioritizes multi-actor collaboration, and learning and adapting in complex environments. PlanJunto collaborated closely with Runa between 2013-2018, building community enterprise on emblematic projects, including Ally Guayusa and the Mishkita Andean agave enterprise. Additionally, PlanJunto had been partnering with Fundacion Kara Solar on a solar-powered canoe transport system operated by the Achuar, an ancient Amazonian people living between Ecuador and Peru who own 800,000 hectares of pristine rainforest.

Tyler and Wain’s combined success demonstrated that people everywhere can benefit from the wealth that both the Ecuadorian Andes and Amazon have to offer. Realizing they had found the ingredients for a powerful new model for development without destruction, the two organizations decided to take the next step.

Now, to scale their approach and deepen their impact, Runa Foundation and PlanJunto are merging into a new organization: Fundación Aliados.

Aliados aligns Runa’s successful business and marketing skills and resources with PlanJunto’s community development and multi-actor collaboration tools - creating a powerful new model for development without destruction in the Andes and Amazon.

Eliot, meanwhile has established Andean Spirits LLC: a spinout for-profit organization from Runa Foundation’s work. In an exciting for-profit/non-profit hybrid, Aliados and Andean Spirits LLC are partnering to create a fair trade Andean mezcal value chain, working with the Mishkita women’s association.

 

 
 

Aliados Team

 
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Wain Collen

Executive Director

Wain has worked for over a decade in the non-profit and social business space in Ecuador with a focus on sustainable development in tropical forests. He is a sustainability expert, and social and environmental entrepreneur who uses his skills and experiences to support forest dwelling communities as they engage with change and markets by building platforms for innovation, cooperation, and sustainability. Between 2012 and 2017, he served the United Nations Development Program on several occasions as an environmental and sustainable development specialist, including a policy brief on the state of sustainable development in the eight countries making up the Amazon basin. In 2013, Wain founded PlanJunto, a social business with the mission to build sustainable community enterprise in tropical forests. PlanJunto worked closely with Runa from 2012 onwards and played a pivotal role in establishing two emblematic ventures – Ally Guayusa and Mishkita. Wain has an MSc in Environmental Management and Policy from Lund University in Sweden, is a Kinship Fellow 2014, and an Opportunity Collaboration Fellow 2016.

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Celia Salazar Willame

Chief Operating Officer

Celia designs and supervises the implementation of projects and ensures that field work is aligned with the vision and values of Aliados. She has been working with the organization PlanJunto for almost 4 years as a Field Manager, working hand in hand with local counterparts in the construction of a robust operational and methodological model for the creation of Sustainable Community Enterprises. Prior to that, she worked in the promotion and protection of human rights with the Office of the Human Rights Advisor of the United Nations (OHCHR) and with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Ecuador. She has also worked with the Belgian Red Cross to ensure the human rights of refugees in Belgium and with the accompaniment of the complaint processes of indigenous Guarani people living in bondage systems in Bolivia. Celia is Belgian and Bolivian by birth. An anthropologist, with a Master's Degree in Interculturality and Development obtained at the Université Catholique de Louvain, and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and Sociology from the Université Libre de Bruxelles - Belgium.

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Raine Donohue

Program Manager

Raine attended Seattle University and has a B.A. in International and Environmental Studies. She started with Runa Foundation as an intern in the winter of 2014, graduated into a full time employee, growing to direct Runa Foundation’s Fair Trade activities with guayusa producer cooperatives. In addition to working with indigenous communities in the creation of sustainable enterprises, she manages the accounting of regional activities, supervises local staff members, and helps to guide Runa’s intern and volunteer program. Raine lives in Tena and enjoys the excitement, the unexpected, and the “go with the flow” attitude that comes with living and working in the Amazon.

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Carlos Tunay

Fair Trade Coordinator

Carlos is from the Kichwa community Tambayaku, which belongs to the organization Pueblo Kichwa Rukullacta. He grew up drinking guayusa together with his parents, who also sell guayusa leaves to make a small profit for their daily subsistence. Carlos manages the social premium fund, which is obtained from the sale of Fair Trade Certified guayusa. Runatarpuna pays the social premium to the 13 guayusa producing associations with whom Runa works. His responsibility is to ensure that the associations comply with the investment plans, the good use of the funds, and to encourage the associations to make strategic long term investments. After his work day with Runa Foundation, Carlos likes to play sports such as football and ecuavoley, and also to work on his farm. Carlos is also a guayusa producer.

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Carmen Tanguila

Office Manager

Carmen is a Kichwa local from the Napo province of the Ecuadorian Amazon. She works for the Foundation supporting the team in all areas of our work with local communities and associations. Carmen speaks both Kichwa and Spanish as her native languages and she is learning English as well. During her free time, Carmen enjoys playing soccer, dancing, singing and running. She is very fond of her culture, traditions, and language, and is also a humble expert in Amazonian flora and fauna. 

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Juan Leonidas Narvaez Andy

Local Community Coordinator

Prior to joining Runa, Leonidas worked for the Ministry of Environment as a guide and forest ranger. During that time he summited Sumaco Volcano a number of times, often leading tour groups. Leonidas is fluent in both Spanish and Kichwa and is currently learning English. He is a true forest expert with extensive knowledge of the plants, animals and landscape that makes up the Napo-Galeras region. He is currently working to implement a number of activities including the creation of new agroforestry value chains, eco-tourism development, participatory wildlife monitoring and sustainable forest management in his home community of Mushullacta. He also likes to spend his time helping out around the office with just about everything, which is a category of things he is very skilled in. 

 

 

Board Of Directors

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Tyler Gage

Tyler is an entrepreneur, author and speaker who uses wisdom from the Amazon and start-up success to bring innovation and inspiration to growing organizations. Tyler was named a Forbes “30 Under 30 Entrepreneur” and winner of both the Big Apple Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Specialty Food Association's Citizen Leader of the Year Award.  CBS This Morning, ABC Nightline, National Geographic and Richard Branson's book Screw Business As Usual have all featured Tyler for his unique and powerful approach to building businesses and creating social good. Tyler currently serves as a Managing Director for Terrafertil, the largest natural foods company in Latin America, and has worked as the Chief Development Officer for the company. Terrafertil acquired Essential Living Foods in the US in 2017 and then Nestlé acquired all of Terrafertil in 2018.

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Sharelle Klaus

Klaus brings nearly two decades of entrepreneurial, financial and technology industry experience to her role as CEO at DRY, and oversees all marketing, strategic planning and innovation for the brand. With guidance from some of the Pacific Northwest’s best chefs and a savvy corporate team, Klaus pioneered a new category of sparkling beverages, fearlessly leading DRY’s aggressive growth in a male dominated industry. Prior to founding DRY, Klaus worked as a consultant for Infrastructure Management Group and Price Waterhouse. She also served as president of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, where she drove strategic development of programs, events and fundraising for the organization’s 250+ Seattle-area members. Klaus has been featured by ParentMap, Huffpost, Forbes, BevNET, Seattle Magazine, Imbibe, and was honored by Seattle Business Magazine as one of its 2018 CEOs of the year.

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Frank Hicks

Frank Hicks is an independent consultant who provides advisory services to a variety of organizations with a focus on sustainable rural development, environmental conservation, payments for ecosystem services and impact investing. Formerly, he worked in senior management positions with: Bio-Logical Capital; Forest Trends; Rainforest Alliance’s Sustainable Agriculture Program; and Organic Commodity Products, all based in Costa Rica. Prior to that he worked for TechnoServe in Ghana; the Biodiversity Conservation Network in Asia and the Pacific, based in the Philippines; and the Ford Foundation based in Nigeria and New York City.  He is also a former board member of Root Capital and EcoEnterprises Fund, and currently serves on several non-profit boards, in addition to Runa Foundation and Aliados. He has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in Human Biology.

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Rebecca Ruf

Rebecca Ruf is currently the Vice President of Programs at the Global Banking Alliance for Women and has profound knowledge in the areas of data analytics and M&E. With 13+ years experience in economic empowerment of women and low-income communities her expertise is highly valuable. Rebecca received her MA in International Development from SAIS, and her BS with distinction from Cornell.

 
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Barbara Burchfeild

Barbara is the Co-Founder of Conscious Commerce with actress, director, and activist Olivia Wilde, as well as Creative Director at Riot.House and the Founding Producer of Global Citizen Festival. She also dedicates her time to freelance creative direction and production for brands such as Lexus, CFDA, and H&M. Barbara (Babs) is most passionate about creating purposeful products & impactful experiences and sprinkling it all with a little rock n' roll.

 
 

 

Partners

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 Funders

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