One Eleuthera Foundation

Interview with Director Shaun Ingraham

Q - So you have a connection here with the organization called One Eleuthera. Now who started that?

A - Pretty much Marjie Findlay, a second homeowner, some other non profit leaders and myself that basically came up with the idea. We had started some other organizations and were just being stretched in a lot of different directions. Some of our supporters said why don’t you consider an umbrella organization. You could lend technical support to all of them at one time and we will support you. We started to work on it, and produced the Shared Vision report [A Shared Vision for South Eleuthera] that you have probably seen. We were trying to advocate and protect Light House Beach, keeping that as a protected area for locals and visitors alike. This was done with Michael Singer, and out of the shared vision came One Eleuthera. Now that we had a report of what we wanted to see and what we wanted it to be, we decided it was now time to put that report into action.

Q - Tell us about what the objective is for One Eleuthera. What do you see as being the long term goals?

A - The three key principles we keep touting is connecting, strengthening, and planning. We felt like we needed to connect Eleuthera and make more people aware of some of the other things that are on the island. It’s been amazing how people in North Eleuthera don’t now what’s happening in South Eleuthera. They don’t know that part of our heritage down there is an old slave plantation. The people in the south don’t know exactly how Preacher’s Cave fits into our history as the birth place of the modern Bahamas or Cupid’s Cay. So part of what we want to do is celebrate the fact that we are one land mass connected island, we are one culture, we do celebrate one culture, one history on this island and we have to understand where that comes from. So one of our basic principles is connecting Eleuthera, but also connecting outside to other organizations that have worked here, lived here or connecting to people who love Eleuthera and seeing them come back and help us rebuild it.

We also talk about strengthening our cultural assets. We can gain a lot from our cultural assets. They speak to our past and give meaning to our past and influences our lives, which if in bad shape, or is not clean are not interpreted properly. I think it’s been a downfall because our children don’t know that time ago, we had a farm here that was working, that produced poultry, beef and milk, and exported it off of Eleuthera. Not only do we want to strengthen our cultural assets, but also our social institutions such as our health care institutions and our educational institutions so that we don’t have to always be playing from behind. We have one of the highest cancer rates in the world… 25% of our women get breast cancer, second are the Ashkenazi Jewish women at 10%. We need to understand that and I think the biggest challenge is here with that and it just needs to be Ground Zero in looking for a solution. So we need to strengthen. 65% of our people die from non-communicable diseases, diabetes, and hypertension. With these high rates, I think Eleutherans need to understand what’s a stake and we need to find solutions. So we need to strengthen our local organizations so that they can become a little more professional and respond more effectively to some of the challenges in health care and education.

Third is planning. We need to plan as an island that this is where we want to be in 20 years and not allow the outside world to come in and say this is a beautiful spot and we are going to tell you what’s going to happen here. I think planning needs to be done in a conversation with everybody around the table whether you are a developer, planner, government or non-profit organization. All of us need to sit down and say this is where we are now, these are the challenges we anticipate, and this is how we intend to respond to them.

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