The earthquake of October 8, 2005 measured 7.6 on the Richter scale and severely impacted Pakistan, Northern Indian and eastern Afghanistan. It was the strongest quake in over 100 years and was felt 1000 kilmetres away in the Indian states of Gujarat, Madhyar Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. This is one the deadliest quakes in the history of the region with the death toll now rising upward of 40,000 people.
The White Tree Fund (TWTF) was inspired by a painting done by world-renowned artist Ted Nasmith. This painting, commissioned for the 2004 edition of The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, was of the White Tree of the Kings of Gondor. In Tolkien’s world of Middle-earth, this White Tree of the Kings represented the hope and healing of a people, and had a long lineage of light and renewal.
Renewal. Healing. Enduring hope. This is the vision of The White Tree Fund – an affiliation of Tolkien and “Lord of the Rings” communities around the world. The Fund hopes to unite as many of these groups as possible and direct their strength to aid the earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged communities along the rim of the Indian Ocean.
The need for assistance will continue for months and years to come. Through the Fund, it is hoped that the combined generosity and compassion of Tolkien fans around the world will continue to help these areas recover in the long term.
The White Tree Fund began as an idea, a hope that Tolkien communities could unite to provide assistance to the areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunamis of December 26 th, 2004. A core group was formed, aid agencies contacted, and a website established within a two-week period of the initial idea. The feedback to this effort thus far establishes the willingness of many Tolkien communities to participate in charitable efforts collectively and encourages the Fund to go forward with a structured approach.
The goals of The White Tree Fund are:
To assist aid and development agencies working in the areas affected by the earthquake and tsunamis of December 26 th, 2004 by channelling donations through its website (www.whitetreefund.org) and through fundraising efforts;
To continue to raise awareness of issues in these areas and keep the Tolkien community informed of progress in these areas, as well as continuing needs;
To unite the efforts of Tolkien and “Lord of the Rings” fans and communities around the world in this cause; and
To explore other areas where the Tolkien community can reach out and make a difference in the lives of others.
At present, TWTF is an informal organization comprised of a core team of 8 to 10 individual members around the globe, representing various online Tolkien communities.
At present, there are events being planned for the U.S. and U.K., as well as in Canada and Australia. Online fundraisers such as auctions are also being planned. The members of The White Tree Fund hope to continue this effort into the future, in support of the important work of the aid and development agencies. Events are being planned into 2006 that will provide the Fund with an opportunity to continue its fundraising efforts.
TWTF has seen strong support in expanding its mandate to include areas that have particular resonance within the “Lord of the Rings”/Tolkien community. The group is now in the process of registering as a formally incorporated, Canadian, non-profit, with an expanded mandate that will include the areas literacy, children’s rights and welfare, and environmental issues.
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