Today Friends of the Everglades and Bullsugar Alliance officially announce a merger of the two organizations. Special thanks to TC Palm’s Tyler Treadway for the additional coverage found here.
Friends was founded in 1969 in Miami by “River of Grass” author Marjory Stoneman Douglas to protect the Everglades from a plan to build a major jetport in the middle of the Everglades.
Friends has been at the of vanguard federal litigation protecting water quality in the Everglades, resulting in a 2012 state commitment to invest nearly $1 billion in badly needed infrastructure to cleanse polluted water. Its educational outreach program in Miami-Dade County has reached tens of thousands of students.
Bullsugar Alliance supported the work of Bullsugar.org, best known for its clean water voter guides and leadership in the Now or Neverglades effort. Since Bullsugar.org was founded in 2014, statewide awareness of the sugar industry’s role in blocking efforts to end toxic discharges and send clean water to the Everglades has grown. In 2018, six of seven gubernatorial candidates pledged to refuse sugar industry money because of its corrupting influence on water policy. Through its weekly online newsletter, Bullsugar has generated the largest social media presence among conservation groups in Florida.
The merged C3 entity is retaining the name Friends of the Everglades, and will continue to work in partnership with Bullsugar.org. The merged board announces the appointment of Alex Gillen as executive director. Previously, Mr. Gillen served as policy director for the Bullsugar Alliance and as professional staff on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.
“We are honored by the new affiliation”, said Bullsugar.org board president Chris Maroney. “There is no greater validation of our work than to partner with the stewards of Marjory’s legacy. We look forward to continuing to build political will to save the greater Everglades ecosystem, including the northern estuaries, backstopped by the science and policy expertise of Friends of the Everglades.”
According to Philip Kushlan, Friends of the Everglades board president, “Our founder, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, wrote ‘[t]here is only one Everglades in the world’ and despite decades of attention and investment in restoration, there remains much more work to be done to keep it. Friends of the Everglades will be significantly strengthened through this merger and extending our focus to Florida’s embattled St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee watersheds and we look forward to amplifying our voice in a way that is forceful and uncompromising for the Everglades. Just as Marjory would have wanted.”
Alex Gillen, Executive Director, Friends of the Everglades
Friends of the Everglades is a nonprofit founded in 1969 by renowned journalist, author, and environmental activist Marjory Stoneman Douglas dedicated to preserving, protecting, and restoring the only Everglades in the world.