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.