Jon and Karen Larson Family Foundation
Our Partners and Projects
Below are photos showing the variety of Interfaith education, Cultural preservation, Spiritual enlightenment, and Ecological restoration activities of the non-profit organizations supported by the Jon and Karen Larson Family Foundation (LFF).
Mission statements (taken from the web sites) of the currently active non-profit organizations who have received and will continue to receive financial and/or administrative and promotional support from the Jon and Karen Larson Family Foundation. Also we show the joint projects that we have supported. Many of these photos below were taken by Jon. The rest were provided by the Partners from their own web sites. Enjoy.
The Kohola Hawaiian Life Ahupua'a Sculpture
Plans are being formulated to bring the Kohola Sculpture to Hawaii.
Transport the Kohola Sculpture from San Francisco to Hawaii.
Inspired by the general theme of the Hawaiian Ahupua'a, complete it with carvings of endangered species of animals and plants and birds and sea life of Hawaii hand carved on the surface by representative youth of Hawaii,
Install it permanently outside in a special covered area in an Ahupua'a section of the Waikiki Aquarium.
The Pacific Islanders Cultural Association PICA Kohola Sculpture honors the healing traditions of the First Peoples of the Pacific. Stored currently in the San Francisco Presidio, it patiently awaits the voyage to its final home in Hawaii. Born and raised in Hawaii, Jon has been the director of the Kohola Sculptures project and organization since its inception in 1995. PICA has been a key partner in the project. Plans are being formulated to jointly gift this Kohola healing sculpture to the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu. We will engage the youth of Hawaii in the carving of endangered species of animals, birds, plants and sea life onto the surface of the sculpture in final preparation for permanent public display in the special educational Ahupua'a area outside. It is designed to be a "hands-on" touching display. It represents the huge humpback whales that winter and calve in the Hawaiian Islands and migrate yearly to and from summer feeding grounds in Alaska.
The Pacific Islanders' Cultural Association of Northern California is comprised of volunteers whose mission is to develop and perpetuate through education,,, the histories, cultures and traditions of all Pacific Islanders.
The original Kohola Sculptures team greets ten huge ancient cedar logs purchased by the Kohola Project from the U.S. Navy and brought to special carving area in the San Francisco Presidio on Earth Day in 1997. These Alaskan cedar logs were originally brought to San Francisco by the U.S. Navy in the 1930's to serve as floating caissons at the naval ammunition depot/base at Port Chicago. The healing theme derives from the fact these ten logs survived the massive Port Chicago blast on July 17, 1944 which pulverized two fully loaded ammunition ships destined for the Pacific Theater killing 320 sailors and civilians involved in the loading and destroying the port and surrounding facilities and community, making it the worst U.S. civilian disaster of the entire WW II.
Seventh generation Molokai kupuna Sam Hart working on the Kohola Sculpture in the Kohola carving area in the San Francisco Presidio.
Jon Larson applies another coat of protective linseed oil.
Kohola welcoming visitors to the Interfaith Center at the Presidio
Children count the growth rings of the 1,000 year old sculpture carved from one of ten Cedar logs brought to San Francisco from Alaska in the 1930's by the U.S. Navy.
Tonu Shane Eagleton is the world renowned eco-sculptor of the Kohola Sculptures.
Hawaiian youth carver Manley Bush hand carves sea life under the careful tutelage of Tonu Eagleton.
The 1,000 year old Kohola Sculpture weighs 4 tons and is 35 feet long. It will be transported by truck and containership to Hawaii.
For more details go to the Kohola "Ahupua'a" web site
Adobe Creek Restoration and Fish Hatchery Project
"YOUTH TAKING ACTION: As part of the ongoing task of educating others on Environmental Awareness, the students of Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, California are putting a plan in action to incorporate students of all ages, kindergarten through college, into the Adobe Creek Restoration Project whose objectives are to heal a stream, repair its habitat, and save a fish from extinction. Project objectives include:
Integration of science and mathematics with an emphasis on aquatic environmental studies (grades K-12).
Utilization of hands-on techniques by working in a "live" environment.
Student-initiated problem solving and higher level thinking.
Collaboration with peers and mentorship with science and technology experts.
Involvement of the local and business communities in education.
Cooperation between students and government officials with a single goal - save a species from extinction."
Students of Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, California release around 20,000 Chinook salmon fingerlings each May into San Francisco Bay. They raise the fingerlings in their school operated hatchery from eggs taken from the Chinook salmon runs up Adobe Creek which pass through the school campus. The formerly "dead" local creek was restored and is maintained in a healthy status by the students, encouraging Pacific salmon and steelhead trout to make return runs up the stream each year after spending 3-4 years maturing in the Pacific Ocean. LFF plans to assist with more funding, web site development and publicity to help promote this incredible eco-restoration story to the high school communities of California.
Tiburon Peninsula Foundation
"YOUTH TAKING ACTION: As part of the ongoing task of educating others on Environmental Awareness, the students of Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, California are putting a plan in action to incorporate students of all ages, kindergarten through college, into the Adobe Creek Restoration Project whose objectives are to heal a stream, repair its habitat, and save a fish from extinction. Each year, the Casa Grande students assist children of the Tiburon Peninsula place 10,000 salmon into Richardson Bay with the hopes the salmon will return in four years to spawn in local streams. This yearly project is funded by the Dennis and Carol Rocky Foundation, both of whom were long time friends of Jon and Karen Larson.
All Walks of Life
"The labyrinth is an ancient and universal archetypal pattern that leads the walker on a prescribed path to its center. When walking the labyrinth, the walker experiences "a walk into his or her own soul while leaving the external world behind". The rise in popularity of labyrinths within the last decade is credited to their effectiveness as an introspective and celebratory tool used in various institutional and public settings.
The walking labyrinth is an experience within our community which honors both the individual human spirit and shared human values. The walking labyrinth is a celebration of diversity which bridges social and cultural boundaries while fostering hope and healing for people of all traditions."
The above Walking Labyrinth is installed in Carmel, California. For First Night 2000 on the town hall grounds of Monterey, California, LFF funded a special project associated with this event that heralded in the new year, century and millennium, the Marine Life Sculpture that was worked on by youth and adults of the local community and displayed behind the Walking Labyrinth created by All Walks, a non-profit organization whom LFF has also supported.
GGNPC's Presidio Native Plants Nursery
"The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the preservation and public enjoyment of the Golden Gate National Parks. Our work is funded through the generous contributions of more than 12,000 individual members, corporations and foundations, as well as income earned through park stores, educational materials and interpretive tours. Since its formation in 1981, the Parks Association has provided the National Park Service with nearly $50 million for the Golden Gate National Parks."
The Presidio Native Plants Nursery has organized and facilitated the growing of 60,000 beautiful native California plants of over 125 species, a monumental organizational feat. It is staffed by professional co-workers and interns, and supported by 2000 community members who volunteer at the Presidio Nursery each year."
The Presidio Native Plants Nursery is managed by the non-profit Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy GGNPC. Staffed primarily by community volunteers, it is the major nursery that has supplied tens of thousands of California native plants and trees which have been out-planted within the 36,000 acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area - GGNRA including the recently restored Crissy Field Nature Preserve at the Presidio. LFF has donated computer equipment and financial support to the nursery management and to the umbrella organization, the GGNPC. Several of the Heal All Life healing pole sculptures are on permanent display within the Presidio nursery building."
Marin City Community Youth Carving Project
Training program for Marin City youth
This Marin City Summer Teen Program project was sponsored by the Larson Family Foundation, The Spaulding Wooden Boat Center, and the Marin City CSD Community Services District.
This special summer training program was offered to 30 Marin City youth. It was designed to teach traditional wood carving skills and teamwork to 30 disadvantaged youth through exposure to traditional wood carving and boat (re)building and maintenance crafts. World class eco-sculptor Tonu Eagleton was retained to guide the youth and teach his unique wood carving skills.
Spaulding Wooden Boat Center
Iliahi Foundation of Hawaii
"The Iliahi Foundation seeks to restore and preserve groves of rare iliahi sandalwood and other native trees and plants in Hawai`i. Just as iliahi thrive in relationship with other species, we recognize that our natural world and cultural heritage are similarly related. The Iliahi Foundation promotes the conservation, preservation, and restoration of native flora in Hawai`i through stewardship, research, education, reforestation and partnerships. We believe through these efforts our cultural history and natural environment can rise together, renewed."
The Iliahi Foundation of Hawaii consecrates another Hawaiian native trees nursery in Palehua, high up in the southern Waianae mountains of Oahu, Hawaii. The Iliahi Foundation nurtures and then out-plants native trees including koa, iliahi, wiliwili, a'ali'i, and kawila in special designated areas of the forests of the Waianae including the Nanakuli Nature Preserve forest and a joint project with The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii who manages the 3,700 acre Honouliuli Nature Preserve. LFF was the Iliahi Foundation's first foundation sponsor. Jon Larson is chairman and co-founder of the Iliahi Foundation of Hawaii.
The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii
"Since 1951, we've been working with communities, businesses and people to protect more than 92 million acres around the world.
Our Mission: To preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
Why We're Successful: We work closely with communities, businesses and people like you. Together, we've protected more than 92 million acres of valuable lands and waters worldwide. We practice sound science that achieves tangible results. Our non-confrontational approach: Over 86% of all funds are used directly for conservation!
Total acres protected by the Conservancy in the United States: 12,621,000
Acres protected by the Conservancy outside the United States: 80,181,446
Conservancy members in 2001: approximately 1 million.
Together with our members and conservation partners, The Nature Conservancy has protected more than 200,000 acres of critical natural lands in Hawai`i."
Above is a satellite photo of the Hawaiian Islands. LFF was the original foundation to make a major donation to the Iliahi Foundation of Hawaii which is building native tree nurseries, collecting native tree seeds from the forests of Oahu, germinating and nurturing the trees in the special nurseries until they are ready for outplanting within the Honouliuli Native Preserve managed by The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii.
Interfaith Center at the Presidio
"The Interfaith Center at the Presidio is a regional grassroots organization dedicated to building friendly, mutually supportive relationships among people from different faith traditions for the good of us all. The Center cares for and operates the Main Post Chapel in the Presidio of San Francisco, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area of the National Park Service. The view from the Chapel takes in the San Francisco skyline. The Chapel is available for all, opening its doors for worship and meditation, for personal ceremonies such as weddings and memorials, as well as various interfaith, community, and performance events."
The chapel at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, an Interfaith organization that serves the needs of the Bay Area Interfaith community with weddings, festivals, community events, music and meditation, all open to the general public. LFF has been a major early financial and program supporters of the ICP since its founding in 1994.
Kohola Healing Sculptures
"Over the past seven years, under the umbrella of the Kohola Healing Sculptures project, many different individuals and non-profit organizations (each with its own vision, mission and priorities) have come together in a burst of shared synergy to create a series of thirteen sculptured healing sculptures carved from old growth previously fallen logs which range from several hundred to over 1,000 years old. Ten of the logs are immense Alaskan yellow cedar logs salvaged in 1997 from the U.S. Navy's former Port Chicago Naval facility on the San Francisco Bay where they were installed in the 1920's and used as floating and underwater caissons at the former west coast ammunition storage and trans-shipping facility. Three others are previously fallen old growth redwood logs acquired from private land owners near San Francisco.
Each Kohola sculpture is consecrated for a specific healing purpose. Each is a model for spiritual healing which honors the cultural and faith traditions of the peoples and the plants and animal life worldwide.
Five sculptures have been completed to date. Five more are in the detailed planning stage. The One Voice 9-11 Healing Totem sculpture below installed in New York City's Bronx Zoo as a permanent tribute to all those lives lost in the tragedies surrounding 9-11."
Dedication ceremony of the 'One Voice 9-11 Healing Totem' sculpture installed at the Bronx Zoo in New York City.
Indian Canyon Village
VILLAGE HOUSE, TOTEM POLE & SOLAR VILLAGE PROJECT
In conjunction with the Mutsun Indian First Peoples and the Cultural Conservancy, the Larson Family Foundation funded the creation of a special healing totem pole carved from an ancient log salvaged from the U.S. Navy at Port Chicago by Tonu Eagleton which has been gifted to the Mutsun First peoples of Hollister, California where it will be featured and raised in conjunction with construction of an entire village.
Indian Canyon will serve as a refuge and a peaceful place for people in the world who do not have sacred land for performing their ceremonies. Today almost 5,000 visitors participate in rituals, educational programs, and vision quests annually. Indian Village including its Village House and Solar Village Project will become an irreplaceable resource for community events as well as a place to honor and preserve cultural heritage.
Create a self-reliant solar village and multi-media broadcast facility in Indian Canyon in central California to further the wisdom of the indigenous people of California. Indian Canyon is proposing a self-sufficient ecological-village integrating
1) traditional and sacred architecture, wisdom, and lifestyle -- with
2) the best in renewable and appropriate technologies.
This “Living-Learning” center will be linked to the rest of the world with digital computers and the Internet. A multi-media outreach training facility will be built into the Village so that teachings from important conferences, meetings and tribal gatherings can be shared real-time over the Internet with a wider audience.
Indian Canyon Village Healing Totem Pole
Indian Canyon Healing Totem - Unveiling Ceremony
Malama Earth Partners
Malama Earth Project
Youth Workforce Investment Board of Monterey, California
Jon joins Jaymes Lambert (18) and Demetrious Huggins (19), two of the carvers from the Monterey Workforce Investment Board's One Stop Career Center youth job skills training program who carved the One Voice 9-11 Healing Pole installed at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. This photo is from the sculpture's initial public unveiling in Palm Springs, California in January of 2002.
"This youth mural and arts project is funded by the Workforce Investment Act and Sponsored by Monterey County Workforce Investment Board, the Office for Employment Training, and the Monterey County One-Stop Career Center System.
Youth from throughout Monterey County participate in these annual projects which not only beautify our community for years to come but also provide the youth with team-building skills, bonding, and a pride for their community which will translate into productive members and good citizens of the community in which they live."
Muwekma Ohlone Indian Tribe of the San Francisco Bay
"We are the original inhabitants of San Francisco, California, USA, and the surrounding Bay Area. To introduce ourselves, we can do no better than to quote the words of the United States District Court in Washington, DC: "In the early part of the Twentieth Century, the Department of the Interior ("DOI") recognized the Muwkema Tribe as an Indian tribe under the jurisdiction of the United States.
In more recent times, however, and despite its steadfast efforts, the Muwekma Tribe has been unable to obtain federal recognition, a status vital to the Tribe and its members. ....It will be approximately 96 years since the Verona Band was first Federally Acknowledged.
Perhaps now the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe will be treated as an equal in the eyes of other Federally Recognized Indian Nations. Furthermore, Muwekma's reaffirmation also sends a message to the dominant society, some of whom have emphatically stated and published that the "Costanoan/Ohlone are extinct" and/or that we were "never Federally Recognized." Once again, we proved that the so-called experts and authorities on our culture and history know nothing about who we are as the aboriginal people of this region.
Aho! The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area. We will make things right for our People! Makin Mak-Atuemi Muwekma-mak!"
An artistic representation of how the First Peoples Childrens Healing Pole will look after it is raised in Muwekma Ohlone Pocket Park located on a parcel of land on the bay located in their ancestral homeland along the shore of Islais Creek, south San Francisco. The land was gifted to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay by the City of San Francisco, recognizing them as representative of San Francisco's First Peoples. The Childrens Healing Pole was gifted to the First People of California at a special ceremony in Half Moon Bay in 1997 by representatives of the LFF, the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, and the Pacific Islanders Cultural Association. The Muwekma Ohlone are the keepers of the Childrens sculpture on behalf of all First Peoples of California.
Pacific Islanders Cultural Association - PICA
"The Pacific Islanders' Cultural Association was formed in 1995 as an umbrella organization, to meet the common needs of all Pacific islanders in Northern California. It is comprised of many interested volunteers and members of numerous clubs rooted in the wide range of interests including outrigger canoes, music, dance, language, history, folk arts, foods, athletics, etc.
Our mission is to develop and perpetuate through education the histories, cultures and traditions of all Pacific islanders."
(See future projects below) The Pacific Islanders Cultural Association PICA Kohola Healing Sculpture honors the healing traditions of the First Peoples of the Pacific. Here in the San Francisco Presidio it eagerly awaits the voyage to its final home in Hawaii. Note the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. Jon Larson has been the director of the Kohola Sculptures project and organization since its inception in 1995. PICA has been a key partner in the project. Plans are being formulated to jointly gift this PICA healing sculpture to the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu where it will become a feature of the Ahupua'a theme of the aquarium. We hope to engage the children of Hawaii in the hand carving of endangered species of native animals and plants and birds and sea life on the surface of the sculpture.
United Religions Initiative
"In a world fractured by violence, we seek to provide hope. May the work of our members and friends inspire your hope and commitment. May we be the change we wish to see in the world."
LFF was one of the original financial and organizational contributing supporters in 1993-1995 of the movement that has become the United Religions Initiative.
(below) the Heal All Life Sculpture being consecrated in 1999 at the first gathering of representatives of the world's faith traditions on the Stanford University campus in the first worldwide assembly of what was to become the United Religions Initiative - URI. This healing sculpture is currently taking on a new life. After additional surface carvings by California and Hawaii youth, it will become the 'Pearl Harbor Memorial' sculpture to be erected in a public place yet to be selected where it has views of Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii.
SAFE - Strategic Alliance for Earth
"SAFE is an interfaith ecology movement and a Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative. People from many spiritual traditions and environmental groups gather... to affirm the sacredness of Earth, find common cause in caring for creation, and build community. Recent activities include an Environmental Fair with information tables and an opportunity to make connections where Native American dancers performed to celebrate the Earth. ... A dedicated time for a Pledge to the Earth was followed by a call for Advocacy, interfaith talk, music and ceremonies from many spiritual traditions."
Tonu Shane Eagleton - master carver and eco-sculptor
"Shane Eagleton has been in touch with issues involving sustainable practices and with environmental groups and activists who stand for principles that are in harmony with environmental concepts for the good of Mother Earth."
The PAL Kohola whale sculpture on public display at the 1996 Pacific Islanders Cultural Association festival on Crissy Field in the San Francisco Presidio which welcomed the Hokulea sailing vessel to San Francisco. It was carved by Shane Eagleton for the PAL Foundation. Jon Larson was active in the initial visioning and financing for a United Religions organization that was first announced at the United Nations Interfaith ceremony in San Francisco in June of 1995. He and Karen hosted the Hawaiian Spiritual Delegation to the United Nations Interfaith celebration for the week and they gave the name Kohola (Hawaiian for whale) to the life size sculpture being carved from a single 1,500 year old redwood log.
Shane Eagleton, world renowned eco-carver and sculptor, with two of his many creations. Jon Larson and LFF have supported many carving projects for which Shane has been the artistic director.
Bay Area Discovery Museum - Childrens Whale Canoe
"The Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito is a fantastic place where toddlers to ten-year-olds and their families will find limitless opportunities for discoveries in art, science and media. Jon and Karen Larson's grandchildren play in the Childrens Whale Canoe shaped by Tonu Shane Eagleton partially funded by a grant from the Larson Family Foundation"
Association of Children's Museums
"Children's museums are institutions committed to serving the needs and interests of children by providing exhibits and programs that stimulate curiosity and motivate learning. Children's museums bring children and families together in a new kind of town square where play inspires lifelong learning. Children's museums play an important role in the lives of children and families within their diverse communities. Outreach programs for at-risk and under-served youth, school partnerships, and parent resource programs on early childhood education are just some of the ways children's museums serve families in their communities.
ACM museum members number approximately 215. ACM estimates that there are about 80 children's museums in start-up phase in the United States.
How is a children's museum different from other museums? Children's museums emphasize the educational role of museums, the visitor (children and families), and the contextual interactive exhibit strategies over the more traditional museum focus on the preservation/ research role, permanent collections, and non-tactile display or representation. In these client centered institutions, the needs and interests of the audience, the motivation to learn, and the empowerment of the visitor through contact and direct experience with objects are as important as subject or content focus. Children's museums are a pioneering and dynamic group of institutions that are challenging and redefining the boundaries of the traditional museum world and are still in the process of defining themselves."
Children's Whale Canoe Project
The original Childrens Sculpture carved in 1997 (see photo below) is being used to create a proposed series of four Children's sculptures. It has been proposed that each sculpture be gifted to a children's discovery museum in the Bay Area including the Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito), the Randall Museum (San Francisco), Habitot Children's Museum (Berkeley), and the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose. All Bay Area Childrens Museums are members of the Association of Children's Museums.
The first sculpture, a "whale canoe" was completed for the Bay Area Discovery Museum of Sausalito, California, in the fall of 2002. The canoe was created by "BADM Artist in Residence" master carver Shane Eagleton who taught young student carvers to produce this living sculpture. LFF provided the log and documentation for the project as well as contributed towards its funding. Phase II of the project, if approved by the various Bay Area children's discovery museum recipients, will create unique sculptures carved by Shane Eagleton to be gifted to other Bay Area children's museums.
Keiki Kohola whale sculpture by Shane Eaglton.
Childrens Whale Canoe sculpture by Shane Eaglton at the Bay Area Childrens Museum in Sausalito.
"How delighted we are to be working with Shane Eagleton as one of our artists in a residency program that brings art, history, and science experts to the Museum to develop collaborative projects with children and to create a lasting artifact that will remain part of our exhibits. For the Discovery Museum, Shane's work has a particular relevance since a key part of our curriculum relates to boats and life on the Bay. We believe there is a unique match between the content of our educational framework, "My Place By The Bay," and Shane's work.
Karen Hampton Creative Arts Specialist Bay Area Discovery Museum
TAO Education - Teachers Association for Outdoor Education
"TAO Education, Inc. was formed by a community of professional educators and highly trained outdoor guides in the North Lake Tahoe area. We seek to network with schools and youth groups in order to promote natural history education, outdoor skills, leadership, and stewardship toward the environment. Our board members are all professional educators with extensive outdoor experience and our president has 12 years of experience designing outdoor education programs for schools.
We believe that the most effective outdoor education comes from the combination of physical with cognitive development. While ANY type of outdoor teaching is valuable for kids, we believe that adventure is a key way to grab their attention and make them want to learn more about their surroundings. This is why we provide a full spectrum of adventure activities in addition to first rate environmental education.
Northern California abounds with outdoor opportunities for families who can afford the expense. For the lower income population, these opportunities usually go unfulfilled or unnoticed. The result is further division between students of different income levels, increasing gang involvement, and other unproductive behaviors resulting from simply not having enough to do. Thus, the young people who stand to benefit the most from outdoor adventures are the ones who rarely participate because of the high equipment and supervisory costs as well as a lack of understanding about the potential benefits.
There are other programs designed to increase youth access to the outdoors, but these opportunities are rarely, if ever, integrated into school programs and academics. There is no way to follow up or evaluate the potential benefits to participants.
Since our officers are professional educators, we have the experience and contacts necessary to truly integrate outdoor education into schools at low or no cost to them. We have the backing of school administrators and our guides have the best outdoor leadership training anywhere. We also have unlimited access to a supply of outdoor equipment for student use (kayaks, backpacks, rock climbing gear, and much more). We bring a totally unique blend of experience in education and outdoor leadership.
Instead of just getting students out for the day or the week, we will maintain long-term relationships with schools and youth organizations. We also intend to implement follow-up activities and de-briefs designed to integrate students outdoor experiences into their school and community lives.
Though more difficult to measure, our organization will combat increasing feelings of disenfranchisement among youth from low income families in Northern California. We intend to provide safe and fun alternatives to hanging out in the street, and our preliminary efforts have met with tremendous enthusiasm from program directors and, more importantly, our local youth."
Guide Derek Larson leads high school students from San Francisco spelunking on a cave exploration.
TAO Education Foundation of Truckee, California is a non-profit association of teacher/guides who take disadvantaged students on special outdoor education learning experiences as an extension of the classroom and science curriculum. LFF was an early financial supporter of TAO Education and Jon Larson is a Director of the non-profit organization which serves underprivileged youth in schools throughout California.
The Cultural Conservancy
"The Cultural Conservancy is a Native American nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of indigenous cultures and their ancestral lands. We are a research, education, and advocacy organization. We provide mediation, legal, information referral, and audio recording services. We also produce educational programs and materials and technical trainings on Native land conservation and land rights, cultural and ecological restoration, and traditional indigenous arts and spiritual values.
The Cultural Conservancy develops programs for education and advocacy that:
Strengthen the skills of Native peoples in land management and conservation.
Restore to the greatest extent possible ownership of traditional land to its original caretakers.
Support stewardship of Native people on their land base by establishment of property rights, cultural easements, and Native land trusts which protect the habitat and traditional land-based activities of Native peoples.
Acknowledge the sacred relationship of Native peoples to the land.
Acknowledge the essential role of Native peoples in preserving environmental integrity and biological diversity.
Recognize and support the link between cultural and biological diversity.
Support the principle of Native self-determination.
Commit to cross-cultural interaction for environmental problem-solving, networking, and peacemaking.
The Cultural Conservancy works to develop understanding between indigenous ecological knowledge and western science. We conduct trainings and resource guides and develop ecological management plans with tribes, native communities, and Euro-American communities interested in honoring indigenous ways of knowing. We restore damaged and "exotic" ecosystems (those dominated by invasive, non-native species) with culturally significant native plant communities that can be managed by local native caretakers."
Karen packs an OI troops "gifts" package in her living room full of needed articles purchased monthly from local Marin drugstores for shipment to our adopted units of Marines overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.
OI.. is a nationwide 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides a means for community members to support troops serving on the frontlines, military families and veterans. Our long term goal is to ensure that every Solider, Sailor, Airman and Marine is served by OI® from the time they don the uniform to the day they are honorably laid to rest.
Reaching the Frontlines
Just over 2,000,000 troops around the world have received OI® C-rats® from home including those serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Djibouti (Eastern Africa), Germany and Japan.
Serving Our Heroes and Their Families at Home
OI has donated more than 1,005,070 pounds (503 tons) of goods to military families and veteran organizations since its inception in 2001. Our volunteers support veterans at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston; injured warriors at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio; and military family groups at U.S. Army Fort Hood near Austin, TX., and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton near San Diego.
Above is the Friendship House First Peoples Healing Bench. It was produced as a joint project sponsored by the Larson Family Foundation in conjunction with the Cultural Conservancy . It was gifted to the Friendship House in Oakland, California where it sits in the outdoor garden area used by women and their children to rest and recovery in the out of doors as they cultivate native American herbs and foods.
Friendship House Association of American Indians, Inc. of San Francisco is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) community-based organization that provides residential substance abuse treatment for American Indians. Since its founding in 1963, Friendship House has maintained a strong track record of providing holistic prevention, treatment, and recovery services that are culturally-relevant to American Indians.
Friendship House operates two residential treatment facilities: an 80-bed four-story healing center for adults located in the Mission District of San Francisco, and the Friendship House American Indian Lodge located in Oakland for American Indian women with their children. Both residential treatment facilities are licensed and certified by the State of California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. Additionally, Friendship House is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. (CARF)
Our Mission: The mission of Friendship House is to promote healing and wellness in the American Indian community by providing a continuum of substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery services that integrate traditional American Indian healing practices and evidence-based substance abuse treatment methods.
Jon sits on the Marine Life Bench Sculpture inside the Presidio Native Plants Nursery. It is carved from an old growth redwood tree which had fallen down on private land. When completed, its surface will contain over 200 carvings of the marine life (birds, plants, fish, invertebrates and mammals) of San Francisco Bay. It was initially consecrated as part of the non-profit Monterey "First Night 2000" millennium celebration. It was gifted to Friendship House of Oakland to be used as an sitting bench in the outdoor garden area where native herbs and foods are grown by the residents of Friendship House.
The One Voice 9-11 Healing Totem sculpture mural and healing pole carving team of the non-profit One Stop Career Center of Monterey, a federally funded Workforce Investment Board project managed through the State of California which provides youth with career training at the Monterey One Stop Career Center. LFF has provided financial support, donations of Port Chicago logs and equipment, marketing, publicity, and training assistance. The One Voice Healing Pole shown below has been gifted to the City of New York as a tribute to all those lives lost in the 9-11 tragedies. It was dedicated and erected at the main entrance of the New York City's Bronx Zoo on 9-5-2002.
The Thousand Cranes Youth Sculpture is being carved from one of the ten Port Chicago logs. It is currently on public display within the Presidio Native Plants Nursery. It will be transported to Monterey and then Hawaii where it will be carved and completed by teams of California, Hawaii and Japan youth. They will carve into the DNA surfaces thousands of representations of Japan's plant, animal and marine life including endangered species and other species already extinct. When completed it will be transported to Japan and gifted to the youth of Japan from the youth of Hawaii and California representing youth from around the world.
LFF is taking a leading role in bringing together a wide and diverse representation of community non-profit organizations to complete this project and its twin, the Hawaiian Life Healing Sculpture, both designed around the special healing energies of the conjunctions of the bombings of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and Hiroshima in 1945, and the Port Chicago explosion in 1944.
The following projects were all started prior to the formal incorporation of LFF. Working on these individual projects introduced the idea to Jon that he should incorporate these and all future non-profit projects under a corporate structure, and such was the beginning of LFF in 2000.
Total Quality Management
Bringing Technology to the U.S. Railroad Industry
The following section is being updated....
New Beginnings for the Homeless
Californians for Missing Children
The above section is being updated
Two future Projects are planned:
LFF submitted Jon Larson's above design in response to an RFP for a proposed park to be created within the Presidio of San Francisco. It is called Spirit Park.
The Park design features a permanent family of 16 immense fallen old growth healing poles erected in a special area within the San Francisco Presidio.
The Park would be an integral part of the "swords to plowshares" conversion of the Presidio from a former U.S. Army base to a national park managed by the new Presidio Trust.
The Park's four entrances will embrace the "six directions:" north through the United Nations entrance, south through the United Religions entrance, east through the Rising Sun entrance, and west through the Golden Gate Bridge entrance to the Pacific Ocean and Islands of the world, downwards to Mother Earth, and upwards to Father Sky.
Spirit Park will embrace the four sacred elements, earth, water, fire and air.
The 16 individual healing poles which together comprise Restoration Park will represent the Continents, Islands and Oceans, all First Peoples, Men, Women, Children, the United Nations and the world's Faith Traditions.
The carving of the Sculptures will be done by the same Heal All Life Carving Team that created the first ten Heal All Life Sculptures. The poles themselves will come from previously fallen redwood and cedar trees from special areas throughout Northern California obtained through the assistance and approvals of the ancestors of the indigenous peoples of California.
The carving will be done at the Heal All Life Carving Site at the Presidio, the same site shared with the San Francisco Recycling Center at the Presidio.
At the center of the Park will be a Healing Fire Pit with continuous flames erupting in a concentric circular patterns through sands and soil collected from sacred areas of all First Peoples of North America and the Pacific Islands. The Sacred Fire Pit will itself be constructed from special rocks gathered from ceremonial indigenous area healing pits from throughout the Americas.
Amphitheater seating around the Sacred Fire Pit will accommodate outdoor meetings and gatherings. Special lighting will illuminate the Sculptures at night.
Many of the above photos were taken by Jon Larson. The others were provided by the non-profit organizations that LFF supports.
Jon and Karen Larson Family Foundation