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Michael Galli: President of RedJellyFish.com.What is RedJellyFish.com?
We are an environmentally responsible services company. By that I mean we provide many of the things that people use every day, and we do it in an environmentally responsible way. For example we offer nationwide Internet access, similar to AOL or MSN, and we donate a significant portion of the monthly fee to the Nature Conservancy to protect the world's rainforests. We also offer long distance for both homes and businesses. We compete head to head with AT&T on rates and service, and again we make a significant donation each month to preserve vital rainforests. Both of these services are priced competitively and are outstanding products in their own right. We're providing services that people use every day, and making it a simple vehicle for change. Article continues below
Another big part of what we do is our main Website, Redjellyfish.com, which is a source of information about natural health, vegetarianism, environmental news, etc. We also have beautiful nature e-cards and puzzles, and our very popular 'Click to Donate' feature. This allows members to hit a button once per day and view a banner. The sponsor of that banner will then make a donation directly to the Jane Goodall Institute to help feed orphaned chimps, or to the Nature Conservancy's Adopt and Acre program. Both are free to our members and easy to use. Last year we saved over 600 acres of rainforest with this program alone, and fed a lot of hungry chimps!
What is your background and how did you come to found RJF?
I was a personal fitness trainer for quite a while before starting Redjellyfish. I've been passionate about environmental issues and animal rights for 20 years or so, and one day this fanny pack that I had which was made out of recycled soda bottles broke while I was training. I went home to search online to replace it and couldn't find the company that made it. I thought to myself "Why doesn't somebody make one place online where I can go and find all of the great natural products and services in which I'm interested?" And the very next thought I had was "Well, why not me?" So I began this as a hobby. The idea was to create a website which was a clearinghouse of information on natural products and services. It quickly began to grow and I eventually left the personal fitness training to run this full time. It has since taken off way beyond anything that I had envisioned.
What has been the most challenging aspect of running RJF?
Managing the rapid growth with a tiny crew. We have an amazing, talented, energetic team, and yet sometimes it's all we can do just to keep up with the work.
What is the most rewarding part of running RJF?
Oh, I love to get e-mails from people I've never met saying how much they love what we're doing and how they tell their family and friends about us. I'm also very touched when people order our T-shirts. I just look at those order forms and feel so honored.
How has your focus changed or grown since launching RJF?
It has changed so radically that we hardly resemble the original company. As I mentioned we started out as a directory, and we have grown and evolved over time to something way beyond our original idea.
What can parents do to teach their kids about helping the environment?
Good question. This past weekend my six year old niece and I watched a pair of Bald Eagles hunting and caring for their nest. I think that when children have experiences like that they are far more sensitized to environmental issues, and to the value of what we will lose if we don't do something now. I also think that parents teach by example. If the child sees that Mom and Dad are willing to drive a little farther to shop at the health food store instead of the local grocery store, and that they make a point to get the organic products, that the child will be more open to those things when they are of the age to make decisions.
What are the most popular sections of RJF?
Our Click to Donate feature, the e-cards and the puzzles are the three most popular areas.
What would you most like the public to know about RedJellyFish?
That we are striving very hard to make a difference for the generations to come, and we could use their support.
What can we expect from you and from RJF in the future?
We are going to continue to grow and evolve in hopes of making a meaningful difference in any way we can!