Purpose Prize Fellow 2007
Inspiring a new generation of leaders dedicated to sustainable human communities and lifestyles.
When Bob Jonas sold his outfitting and guiding business in Sun Valley, Idaho, at age 60, he turned his passion for wild nature into a new career. He founded The Wild Gift, a nonprofit helping to ensure that communities and individuals build futures characterized by a commitment to the stewardship of nature and secure in the hands of an inspired new generation of leaders who are dedicated to sustainable human communities and lifestyles. Jonas’s philosophy: If the initiatives of outstanding new leaders are supported and they participate in a powerful deep-wilderness experience, they will remain committed to environmental design and implement a human enterprise that is in harmony with nature. The Wild Gift program helps launch ‘better world’ entrepreneurs, US citizens between the ages of 21 and 30, whose work – during personal careers that will span a half century or more – will impact social, environmental, economic and political spheres both in the US and internationally. The 17-month learning opportunity includes a 20 day trek in America’s biggest wilderness lands along with one year of project mentoring and financial support. The diverse projects undertaken include the founding of a successful for-profit solar construction firm in Ladakh, India, establishing a profitable, environmentally friendly demonstration farm in the Ozarks of Arkansas, and reducing the operating costs of affordable housing projects in Boston using green building retrofit techniques.