Craig and Jane - Volunteers

by Community Forests International on December 31, 2013

Volunteers extraordinaire Craig Applegath (Architect, Partner- DIALOG Architecture) and Jane Thompson (Executive Director, TD Scholarship for Community Leadership), use their professional skills to build CFI’s capacity, design better buildings, and fundraise to make it all happen. Why? We had to ask.


Q: How did you become involved with CFI?

Craig: My first connection to CFI was completely serendipitous. I was looking around for offsetting options to complement DIALOG’s internal carbon reduction strategy. Being quite skeptical of the validity of most of the carbon offsets now on the market, I began looking around for other options. I came across and article on Jeff Schnurr and CFI. When I spoke with Jeff, it turned out that CFI was in exploring how to provide carbon offsets through the sustainable management of forests. 

Long story short, DIALOG and CFI became partners, securing Whaelghinbran farm from being sold to the highest bidder and clear-cut. In the process we developed a very innovative carbon offsetting program that is based around sustainable forestry. Of course one thing led to another, and before you know it, CFI was teaming up with us to pursue very interesting and very green design projects. One of the best examples can be found at


Q: What makes CFI stand out for you? 

Jane: I noticed early on in my interactions with Jeff that the language and approach to communities was really different than a lot of what I have heard in development work. CFI embodies the idea that people already have exactly what they need to succeed. When you can be the catalyst for change and just hold space for people, amazing things happen. It’s really about respect.


Q: What inspires you to be so involved?

Craig: I'm inspired by the passion and commitment of CFI's team members; the deeply human-centred focus of CFI's community engagement approach; CFI's fearless and tenacious willingness to experiment and not accept status-quo solutions; and most importantly for me, the combination of good humour, intelligence, decency, warmth and integrity of all of the CFI team members. CFI feels more like family than anything else.


Thanks to Craig and Jane, who spearheaded CFI’s latest Campaign to build the Rural Innovation Campus on the island of Pemba. Their hard work and dedication helped raise $ 30,000, securing CFI’s portion of  $300,000 in funding for the project with the Global Climate Change Alliance. You can find out more on the campaign and  see the design of Pemban Rural innovation Campus at

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