Producing cruelty free, natural products isn’t always enough; sometimes, you need to reduce the packaging and waste that comes with it, and look for other ways to give back. To this end, one of Tom’s of Maine’s community involvement programs is the Goodness Grants Program, which, since 1993, has donated 10 percent of its profits to organizations working on human, health, and environmental causes.
One group you’ll find more than once on the long list of receiving organizations is the East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA).
A Grand Vision of a Great Greenway
The ECGA has the ambitious goal of creating a 2,900-mile trail connecting the Canadian border with the tip of Florida via a paved, traffic-free, intercity greenway. With a scenic route planned for this lengthy trail, it looks to connect segments that are nearly all on public land: waterfronts, existing park paths, deserted railroad beds, canal towpaths, and pathways along highways. The path is slightly less “wild” than the Appalachian trail, making it perfect for walking, hiking, biking, skating, and running.
Over 45 million people live within the East Coast Greenway’s home counties, which spans fifteen states and will connect twenty-five major cities. Even while incomplete, the greenway is already a tourist destination; estimates are that the Greenway, at only 30 percent connected, is visited over 10 million times per year. The ECGA isn’t satisfied, though. They want to see 100 million visitors annually (I told you they were an ambitious bunch).
Tom’s of Maine has been the project’s top supporter, according to Dennis Markatos-Soriano, East Coast Greenway Alliance’s Executive Director who commutes to work on his bike via the trial. The organization helped to fund the trail markers along all 300 miles of the Greenway through the state of Maine, and supported the annual State of the Greenway last Spring in Boston.
Because Tom’s of Maine’s headquarters are near the Greenway, its employees and surrounding community now have the opportunity to regularly engage with the product their state helped create. The company has become a partner of the project with a big stake in the work of the Alliance, and are happy to financially support its efforts. In fact, Maine’s section of the trail has the most uninterrupted miles, partially due to Tom’s contributions. Markatos-Soriano tells us, “We couldn’t do the programming and advocacy necessary to spur trail progress without supporters like Tom’s!”
How You Can Get Involved
If you live anywhere near the eastern seaboard, you’re sure to find a reason to hit the trail yourself. Luckily, there are plenty of maps, guides, and cue sheets for each state to help you plan your trek. You can also download a handy app for iPhone or Android, or check out Apple’s web-based Trip Planner. Interested volunteers can help out as an ECG Ambassador, as well. The Alliance holds multiple events and festivals throughout the year, and those who aren’t near or don’t travel to the east coast very often can still become a member to support the initiative. Consider sponsoring a mile or joining the “Close the Gaps Club” for some special VIP benefits.
We can all advocate for and embrace the healthy, active lifestyle the ECG promotes. Do you have a favorite greenway in your community? Are you its speedy roller blader or leisurely walker each morning? I hope to always be one of ECG’s runners.
Image source: ECGA
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.