Community Friends is a non-profit organization based in the United States. Our programs center on environmental programs including the Carbon Game.
Community Friends’ mission and programs are built on a 30-year history between our founding director, Carsten Henningsen, and a Sri Lankan community service non-profit organization called Sadaham Mithuru Samuluwa. The association and friendship first started in 1980 when Carsten traveled to Kandy, Sri Lanka through a joint program at the University of Puget Sound, USA and Sri Lanka’s University of Peradeniya.
Community Friends’ relief efforts began in Sri Lanka during the days immediately following the 2004 tsunami, when Carsten traveled with our co-founders, Deva and Seevali Ratnakara, to provide relief work in a remote village devastated by the disaster. Founding director, Jay Goodfriend joined the effort and Community Friends was formed as a non-profit organization in 2007.
Community Friends’ strategies have focused on high-impact investments in land restoration, providing critical access to capital and helping people overcome poverty by creating sustainable livelihoods. In April 2011, we developed the Carbon Game that we are now bringing to schools in the USA, Canada, Australia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Zimbabwe. The Carbon Game is an engaging way to teach children about carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere and ways they can help through conservation, mitigation, and education. The program teaches students about climate change and the important task of measuring carbon emissions. We believe that educating the next generation about CO2 concentrations, conservation and mitigation is one of the greatest impacts we can have in our work. The success of the program, which has reached more than 1,200 students and their families has inspired Community Friends to partner with other educators to develop an international model.