Content Provided by Leilani Latimer – Sabre Holdings, GSTC Board Member and Chair of the Market Access Working Group

As chair of the Market Access working group at the GSTC and head of sustainability for Sabre Holdings, I know that our members are looking for tools that allow businesses to innovate, increase customer loyalty and compete in today’s fast-paced environment. Sabre’s nonprofit partner, The Conservation Fund, knows that in order for conservation solutions to last – to ensure that the beautiful places travelers visit are forever saved in a way that benefits the local community and its wildlife—those conservation solutions need to make economic sense. That’s why they created ShadeFundTM —a program that provides small loans to green entrepreneurs across the United States.

Whether the loan is for a small family forester making her way in the Chesapeake Bay, or a river guide navigating the Rocky Mountain Front, there are countless small businesses in the States that depend on healthy forests, bustling trout streams and breathtaking views for their livelihoods. For 26 years, The Conservation Fund has worked with local leaders to help protect these special places—by keeping them working. And now members of GSTC have an opportunity provide a leg up to the very businesses that depend on keeping these lands thriving.

ShadeFund works like this: the website accepts donations from passionate individuals, companies and foundations interested in spurring green business. These donations are pooled by ShadeFund and used to provide loans to the very best small, green businesses nationwide. Once the entrepreneurs repay their loans, those same dollars are recycled to empower new investments in green endeavors.

What kinds of businesses does ShadeFund support?
Green entrepreneurs who work in ecotourism, sustainable travel, sustainable forestry and forest products, family farms, natural food and medicines, biomass and small-scale renewable energy production are encouraged to apply for a loan at ShadeFund loans range from $5,000 to $50,000.

Who qualifies?
The ideal ShadeFund applicant has been selling his or her products or services for at least six months. Entrepreneurs need to be based in the U.S., have access to the Internet and a commercial bank or credit union account, and agree to help ShadeFund measure the loan’s impact on your business and your community. ShadeFund considers the credit history and personal finances of the entrepreneur in determining the loan’s interest rate, however, most loan rates range from 4 – 9%, and loans typically are for a term of five years or less.

Partners in Sustainable Travel
For its part, Sabre and The Conservation Fund continue to strive to promoteconservation and responsible travel through donations to the Fund’s Go Zero® program. Together with Travelocity’s Travel for Good Program and Last Minute Deals, the partners have planted 26,009 trees across 86 acres that will trap and estimated 31,175 tons of carbon dioxide as the forests mature. Each year, we are cleaning the air we breathe, filtering the water we drink, and creating new places to play for people and wildlife alike.

In addition to helping to leave a lighter footprint as we take our next adventure, ShadeFund is one more way we can support a growing, green economy that depends on sustainable travel.
To apply for a ShadeFund loan or support an entrepreneur, visit: