Finley’s Green Leap Forward and Finley’s Fight
Elizabeth Finley Broaddus, 18, was a student at Highland School whose plans to attend the College of William and Mary to study environmental policy were interrupted by the news that she had a rare form of cancer.
Finley’s Fight with cancer ended five months later on June 2, 2014 when she succumbed to Cholangiocarcinoma. However, Finley’s Fight for the environment, which inspired thousands due to her courage, and her foundation to support global environmental causes, continues. As she battled the incurable disease, Miss Broaddus set up Finley’s Green Leap Forward on February 26, 2014 to “support local and global efforts that have a positive impact on the environment, moving us forward towards a healthy, sustainable planet.” Finley saw a vision of a healthier planet with cleaner air and water.
For Finley’s 18th birthday on Wednesday, March 12, friends and family members set out to raise at least $18,000 for the fund. Donations surpassed $74,000 by Miss Broaddus’ birthday and passed $100,000 by Earth day in 2014. The fund received support from at least 37 states, and all continents with the exception of Antarctica.
In honor of Earth Day, Miss Broaddus selected her first two grantees, The Green Belt Movement in Nairobi, Kenya and the Cacapon Institute in West Virginia, which both focus on forest restoration and tree-planting efforts. Finley intentionally chose a local and a global effort, and selected projects that make a positive impact on the daily lives of people in the surrounding community.
Finley has moved friends and strangers alike to give back to the environment not only through the Green Leap Forward Fund, but also through personal action. Around the globe, people continue to plant trees contributing to “Finley’s Forest” and find inspiration through her to make changes to the way they use and reuse resources in their homes and offices.
Today Finley’s Green Leap Forward carries on Finley’s vision by encouraging personal action and by using her guiding principles to select and award annual grants to both local and global efforts that forward global sustainability.