Protecting rainforests at the local and global levels to end deforestation by 2030.

Founded in 2007, Rainforest Partnership addresses the challenge of deforestation by centering the needs and rights of those on the frontlines of rainforest protection—Indigenous and local communities.

From implementing conservation projects on the ground with rainforest communities to bringing the world together on World Rainforest Day-- Rainforest Partnership protects standing forests both from the ground up and the top down.

August 2022
Rainforest Partnership Publishing launched

RP Publishing creates and shares original publications designed to educate and inspire audiences, foster dialogue, and build critical pathways to rainforest conservation.
November 2021
Rainforest Collective

Convened and organized by Rainforest Partnership, Rainforest Collective brings together rainforest-focused and forest-supporting organizations, communities, leaders, and industries around the world in a bold, global collaboration for urgent, sweeping rainforest protection.
Niyanta Spelman moderating a panel at the 2022 World Biodiversity Summit.
June 2020
Gen Z for the Trees

Gen Z for the Trees (Z4T) is a youth-oriented and entirely youth-led initiative with a bold mission: engage youth on rainforest protection, overcome the oversimplification of conservation work, and shift the narrative on climate change from despair to optimism and action.
Gen Z for the Trees team.
June 2017
World Rainforest Day launched

World Rainforest Day was created in 2017 to celebrate the importance and diversity of rainforests, foster a sense of shared, global responsibility and stewardship, and ignite collective action to protect tropical rainforests around the world.
Mayor of Austin and the RP team.
May 2010
Films for the Forest competition launched and screened

Films For the Forest (F3) is a global short film competition that strives, through the powerful medium of film, to create awareness about the importance of tropical rainforests and the ongoing threats faced by forests and their communities
Films for the forest event poster.
November 2008
First project funded in Peru

We successfully partnered with the community of Chipaota in the Peruvian Amazon conserving 9,000 acres by creating a plan to sustainably harvest the piassaba palm fiber - the community’s principal economic asset.
Foggy morning in the rainforest
December 2007
Rainforest Partnership is founded

The idea for Rainforest Partnership crystallized in 2007 after conducting extensive research and holding in-depth conversations with about 200 people. This inspiration became a collective vision and now RP has dedicated teams and partners in Texas, Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and elsewhere with a common goal of fulfilling RP’s mission to protect tropical rainforests.
A lake from the rainforest.

Our global team is our most powerful form of capital.


We bring together volunteers, interns, employees, contractors,  pro bono experts, and partners around the world, creating a pool of wealth designed for resilience.

Our role as convener of this wide network makes us nimble, creative, strategic, and bold. 

The multitude of backgrounds, voices, talents, and resources each of our team members brings comes together to form a powerful collective mosaic of rainforest partners.

How to join our global team

On-the-ground in Ecuador + Peru

Our team

Niyanta Spelman
Founder and CEO

Niyanta founded Rainforest Partnership in 2007 with a clear vision for achieving ground-up and global-scale rainforest conservation that can provide the sweeping and rapid impact we need to protect biodiversity, sustain thriving rainforest communities, support a balanced climate, and ensure a livable planet for all. Prior to founding Rainforest Partnership, she worked at the first lobbying firm in London, led a management consultancy, and worked with Texas environmental agencies as part of a legislative agency.

Beth Caplan
Chief Strategy Officer

Beth works with the CEO and leadership team to design and implement strategies across the organization: from top-level strategies such as vision and mission; to the operational strategies that inform campaigns, partnerships, messaging, and initiatives. A professional analyst and strategist, her 30 + years of experience are rooted in a two-decade career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, before moving to the nonprofit sphere. Beth has been part of Rainforest Partnership since inception, first as a strategic planner, later as strategic advisor.

Nabeel Vira
Chief Business Officer

Nabeel applies his experience as a former Business Analyst, Quality Assurance Tester, and Structured Query Language (SQL) Developer to contribute to the growth, operational performance, and impact of Rainforest Partnership. He started volunteering with Rainforest Partnership in 2018, and since then has worked to support its mission, staff, and volunteers. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Raina Chinitz
Projects Coordinator, Ecuador

Raina joined the RP team after graduating from Amherst College with degrees in Geology and English. She currently lives in Salinas on the coast of Ecuador. Raina’s background in political ecology, environmental justice, writing, and earth science brings a nuanced perspective to her work and a dedication to the power of language. She feels very lucky to have found an organization in which she believes fully and deeply, and work that involves some of her all-time favorite things: trees, sustainable food systems, monkeys, birds, geology, and environmental justice.

Pablo Venegas
Biodiversity Scientist and Herpetologist

With a keen interest in amphibians and reptiles since the age of four, Pablo grew up in a town on the northern coast of Peru searching for snakes and lizards in the desert after school. Pablo has participated as a herpetologist in several biological assessments and expeditions. So far, he has published more than 60 scientific papers on taxonomy and systematics of amphibians and reptiles, and discovered several new species of frogs and lizards.

Luther vom Eigen
Operations and Program Associate

Luther, now living in Boston, has been working at Rainforest Partnership since the beginning of 2022 as an Executive Assistant to the CEO while also coordinating one of its new Global Initiatives, Rainforest Partnership Publishing, and completed a professional certificate in Geographic Information Systems and Data Communication from the University of Vermont. He has a B.A. from Boston College majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Global Environmental Issues.

Geovanny Siquihua
Project Coordinator, Ecuador

As a self-described “disillusioned GenZer”, Rainforest Partnership gave Geovanny the gift of hope. “I have learned how to hope in a way that is imperfect — honest, real, and grounded in action. I am humbled and energized by our vision and impact and feel grateful to the RP team for showing me that no matter the challenges and stakes, this work can and should be done with joy.”

Senaida Cerda
Project Coordinator, Ecuador

Senaida is a Kichwa woman of the Ecuadorian Amazon, a cultural activist and founder of Yuramuyo, a project which empowers Amazonian women to protect ancestral knowledge and to support themselves and their families through sustainable agriculture and traditional artisanship, benefiting from the abundant resources provided by forests, the earth, and pachamama (Mother Earth). She coordinates Rainforest Partnership’s projects in Ecuador, working directly with communities along the Rio Napo.

Elisa Levy
Biodiversity Projects Coordinator, Ecuador

Elisa was born and raised in rural northwestern Ecuador. As a Biologist – specialized in butterflies, she has been involved for more than 15 years in numerous research and conservation projects, always aiming to properly involve local communities in the conservation efforts. She is also part of OMASNE, a grassroots organization who accompanies communities and territories threatened by mining in northern Ecuador. She truly enjoys sharing with kids about nature as well as the beautiful landscapes and cultures of the middle of the world.

Nia Gorbunova
World Rainforest Day Coordinator

Nia’s work focuses on ensuring that global action for forests matches the urgency of the moment. She leads World Rainforest Day events and programs, including the Global Summit, and manages the partner network, facilitating connections and collaboration to drive resilient rainforest protection. Nia has been part of the World Rainforest Day team since 2020; in 2021, she helped launch the Global Summit. She is from Tbilisi, Georgia.

Andrea Builes Vélez
Films for the Forest Coordinator

Andrea leads strategy and implementation of Films for the Forest, RP’s forest-focused annual juried short film competition, and Music for the Forest, a new initiative to inspire and raise awareness about forests and climate change through the power of music. As a professional biologist, she has experience in the field of science communication within museums and the creation and management of strategies for audience engagement in educational and cultural environments.

Luis Merchan
VP, Impact Giving
Tadzio Mac Gregor Schnider
World Rainforest Day Partnerships

Tadzio, passionate about storytelling and coalition building, has experience working on sustainability projects in Mexico, Venezuela, Indonesia, Nicaragua, France, and Brazil. He is co-founder of The Javari Project, working in of the most remote and environmentally pristine areas of the world. He previously worked for The WaterBear Network and Off the Fence, securing partnerships with international organizations, co-creating video content and promoting impact campaigns. He worked for France Télévisions, Shine Productions, and Mantarraya Productions creating environmental impact productions.

Callum Worthy
Storyteller
Jessie Casner
Impact Giving
Linda Bergmann
Accountant

Linda worked for the State of Texas as a manager and accountant at several state agencies for 21 years. The mission of Rainforest Partnership is dear to her heart, and she began volunteering her skills as the organization’s accountant in 2013. She also works with other non-profits and enjoys gardening, traveling, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Bruce Sharrar
Information Technology
Sunanda Adibhatla
Operations Support

Sunanda's passion for environmental action on a micro and macro level led her to start volunteering with Rainforest Partnership in May of 2022. Understanding the environmental, biological, economical, and spiritual benefits of healthy rainforests is critical in moving towards a better future, and loving frogs and butterflies is a plus! Sunanda holds a dual degree in Biology and Economics from the University of Michigan, and currently works in Management & Operations at Boston Consulting Group.

Nick Murphy
Web Developer

Nick is a recent graduate of App Academy with a passion for technology and education. After working for 2.5 years as a high school math teacher, he decided to pursue a career in tech in order to leverage his skills in designing web applications that make a positive impact in the world. Now equipped with an expertise in designing responsive web applications and also having witnessed firsthand the impact of mining and deforestation on indigenous communities in the Amazon, he is actively engaged in using his skills to support Rainforest Partnership’s mission.

Kim Chua
Graphic Designer

Kim engages with change makers who make an impact on causes I believe need to be amplified, need to be at the forefront of digital platforms, and need to be captivated by the usual passive onlooker. She translates their empowerment and strategic efforts into accessible products for measurable success. Thoughtful strategy is powerful with mindful delivery.

Tan Tao
Software Engineer

Advisors

Deborah Tompkins
Communications and Training Specialist
Colborn Bell
Digital Asset Advisor

Colborn is the Co-Founder and Director at Museum of Crypto Art

Jason Butcher
Strategic Advisor

Jason is a passionate Entrepreneur, dedicated Mentor, and seasoned Advisor with a focus towards supporting visionary founders with a goal to make the world a better place.

Anupam Govil
Advisor

Anupam is managing partner, Avasant; president, Avasense; and board member, Avasant Foundation. He is a recognized thought leader, business executive, and consultant in the areas of business strategy, digital transformation, technology sourcing, and M&A. At Avasant, Anupam leads the Digital Transformation and Global Strategy practice as well as Strategic Partnerships and Marketing. He has chaired several industry conferences such as Digital Convergence, Automation Innovation Summit, and Avasant’s renowned Empowering Beyond summits.

Salmeron Barnes
Strategic Advisor

Salmeron is the co-founder of Aureus Earth, a carbon reduction and storage registry for building and infrastructure projects. He earned a B.B.A in Business Administration from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and an M.B.A in Finance from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sal is active with environmental and educational causes including St. Edward’s University Munday School of Business and Rainforest Partnership.

Kristin Owen
Strategic Advisor

Kristin is the COO of DoStuff Media, a network of local media properties run by local teams in 20 cities, including Austin’s Do512, New York’s DoNYC, and Do312 in Chicago. She is also the co-founder of a beauty/wellness startup, Cure Studios, focused on sustainable and ethical business practices, intentional learning and staff development, and product selections that benefit not only clients' health, but the health of the local community.

Scott Thomas
Marketing and Outreach Advisor

Scott is a business development and marketing professional with broad experience in all aspects of negotiations, contracts, and partner implementation. He has direct experience with the retail market, IT consulting, marketing, and software. His marketing background includes extensive branding and demand generation experience.

Peter Houlihan
Education and Research Advisor

Peter specializes in planning and leading expeditions in understudied and threatened tropical environments for conservation. Regularly operating in more than 25 countries across Africa, the Americas, and Asia, Peter is passionate about working with local scientists and communities, and inspiring others to learn about our natural world. He has lived and worked extensively throughout the tropics, where he has led more than 50 large scale expeditions and managed long-term conservation programs.

Reed Crossley
Digital and SEO Strategist

Reed is a storyteller and digital marketer focused on the renewable energy, sustainability, and social impact industries with a vision to help businesses and nonprofits build more sustainable and resilient brands. He has spent the better part of the past decade as a solar marketer and feels just as inspired and fortunate to be in such an exciting industry as he did on day one.

Board

Sumit Jamuar
Board Chair

Sumit is an entrepreneur, executive and Board leader with deep expertise in building and transforming businesses across genomics & biotechnology, financial services, education and public sectors. Sumit enjoys a unique perspective of leadership and execution from FTSE 100 corporate to being founder of a successful start-up. He has an excellent track record in the C-suite in various roles including Chairman, CEO, Board Member, Advisory Board, Managing Director and on Committees of various enterprises.

Hazel Barbour
Board Treasurer

Hazel worked for many years at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), where she was the manager of the agency’s Mobile Source Emission Reduction Programs. Hazel supported the founding of Rainforest Partnership to make a difference regarding carbon emissions and climate change. She believes that RP’s model and way of working is one of the keys to saving the rainforests for us all.

Frank Richards
Immediate Past Chair

Frank is a seasoned entrepreneur, CEO, and growth executive with 20+ years success in founding, building, and growing companies. Frank has made a career out of helping Fortune 1000 companies acquire new customers and create loyalty, and he brings that expertise to the nonprofit industry to empower social and mission-driven organizations to grow and have more impact to make the world a better place.

Beth Caplan
Board Secretary

Beth works with the CEO and leadership team to design and implement strategies across the organization: from top-level strategies such as vision and mission; to the operational strategies that inform campaigns, partnerships, messaging, and initiatives. A professional analyst and strategist, her 30 + years of experience are rooted in a two-decade career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, before moving to the nonprofit sphere. Beth has been part of Rainforest Partnership since inception, first as a strategic planner, later as strategic advisor.

Lucia Gallardo
Board Member

Lucia is a Honduran serial entrepreneur building socially impactful emerging technology solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems as Founder & CEO of Emerge. Lucia is also pioneering a progressive, impact-focused ecology model as the Managing Partner of Penta Network’s Impact Ecosystem. Her life’s work revolves around meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goal targets. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, music, and practicing Krav Maga and kickboxing.

Niyanta Spelman
CEO as Board Member

Niyanta founded Rainforest Partnership in 2007 with a clear vision for achieving ground-up and global-scale rainforest conservation that can provide the sweeping and rapid impact we need to protect biodiversity, sustain thriving rainforest communities, support a balanced climate, and ensure a livable planet for all. Prior to founding Rainforest Partnership, she worked at the first lobbying firm in London, led a management consultancy, and worked with Texas environmental agencies as part of a legislative agency.

Rainforest Partnership in the press

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