EAST has been experiencing tremendous challenges as a result of a lack of funding. Initially, the organization received an organizational grant from the MacArthur Foundation which paid for Board training as well as a full-time Executive Director position. This grant was expended in its entirety in 1998 and, due to a lack of funds, the Executive Director’s position has been left vacant. Although EAST was unable to fund a full-time Executive Director, we were able to fund a part-time Assistant Director position until 2000. Since 2000, the EAST Board of Directors has taken on all the administrative, organizational, outreach and public relations duties and responsibilities of the Executive Director.
Faced with this daunting challenge, EAST’s all-volunteer Board has still been incredibly successful at forming partnerships with various business and community organizations to implement visible and much-publicized youth-oriented activities, such as Eco-Camps and Whale Watches.
Although our all-volunteer Board has done a Herculean job in keeping the organization active, visible and charged, our major short-coming has been fund-raising. A full-time Executive Director and office space are two critical needs for EAST. If left unaddressed, these needs could have an adverse impact on the organization’s ability to continue its mission. The Board is committed to EAST and has performed duties to ensure the continuation of the organization. However, the rising demand for environmental awareness, advocacy and education in the Virgin Islands can no longer be sustained by an all-volunteer Board. To be more proactive on these issues, EAST must identify methods of successful fund-raising.