ahyayha is a Cherokee word meaning “to hold in hand”
Historically, ecosystem and environmental restoration have been funded by either government or philanthropic organizations, or a combination of the two. While these approaches are both effective and essential, especially for large scale projects, neither is particularly well-suited to funding smaller projects, when needs are immediate and local in nature, and the costs of applying for grants can outweigh the costs of the project itself.
ahyayha provides a third way to fund ecosystem restoration. By aligning the mutual and compatible goals of supportive citizens, landowners, local businesses, and organizations, ahyayha creates a mutually supporting circle of benefits for environmental restoration projects. Individuals can contribute directly to projects, those most important to them personally, and see the results of their contribution. These networks of support provide benefits to essential parts of each community, while improving the natural local environment at the core, and more complex ecosystems at large. ahyayha provides a way to put solutions directly in hand.
Recognizing both a decline in public funding initiatives, and the rise and effectiveness of social grassroots networks, ahyayha developed as an outgrowth of Conserv, a non-profit organization (www.conservationrealestate.org), begun in 2006 to conduct economic development R&D for ecosystem restoration.
Founded in 2011, ahyayha was one of the first Virginia Stock Corporations chartered under the Commonwealth’s new Benefit Corporation statute. A Benefit Corporation requires shareholders to consider environmental and social issues, in addition to financial ones, when forming company policies and directives.
In 2013, ahyayha ceased operations a Benefit Corporation and became a charitable program of the Center for Natural Capital.
ahyayha founders are Michael Collins, Richard “Buzz” Van Santvoord, David Hay and Barry Long.