Organizations: Captain Planet Foundation
Whenever cartoon superhero Captain Planet succeeded in saving the earth once more from evil pollutants, he would sign off by saying to his teenage helpers, “The Power Is Yours!”
That catchphrase also functions as the motto of his namesake foundation, started in 1991 by Ted Turner and Barbara Pyle, who negotiated a percentage of the popular cartoon’s revenue to empower young people in environmental stewardship.
“The Captain Planet Foundation awards grants to schools, teachers and after-school programs to activate students – we call them ‘Planeteers’ – to band together and collaborate on different proposals that solve local problems,” says the foundation’s executive director, Leesa Carter-Jones. “Our mission is to give the next generation an active understanding and love for the natural world through a unique program of funding and support of hands-on environmental learning projects in grades K-12.”
The CPF sustains a variety of eco-conscious “edutainment” projects in 116 countries, impacting an estimated 10 million kids, but it is based in Atlanta with a staff of 11 and support from the Turner Foundation and Turner Enterprises. Locally, its Project Learning Garden – now at 260 schools in Atlanta – enables students to cultivate a patch of land on school grounds.
The organization recently celebrated its 25th anniversary by announcing a new program called Project Hero, a nationwide initiative that will enable students in four states (Georgia, Colorado, California and Texas) to study and help restore a local, endangered species.
“We’re starting with pollinators – butterflies, bats, insects,” Carter-Jones says, “and students can type in their zip code and see which species is in trouble. It’s a great way to encourage place-based learning.”