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Public rallies to save BEST

Stuart Hayward, president of BEST (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce is back from the brink after the public answered a call for support, but fundraising efforts continue.

In January, the environmental organisation said that a shortfall of donations had left it unable to fully perform its duties and asked its supporters to help.

BEST president Stuart Hayward, however, said he was uplifted by the rapid response from the community, including a number of new donors who stepped forward.

Colin James of Atlantic Securities Ltd came to the office on the day the appeal was published in The Royal Gazette with a cheque in hand, while Vallis and Hayward offered BEST office space in the International Centre on Bermudiana Road.

Gail Miller, BEST chairwoman, said: “We are still a long way from meeting our annual budget and will continue to focus on developing donor relationships.

“On that front, Kim Smith will take on the additional duty of managing this for us as we simultaneously cultivate a group of board members and volunteers to assist us with fund development and fundraising.”

A spokeswoman said that Mr Hayward remains committed to BEST despite his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s Disease, while the board continues to support him and the organisation’s commitment to serve the Bermuda community.

“BEST is currently focused on strategies for succession planning,” the spokeswoman said. “The organisation remains committed to collaboration and is participating in the Centre on Philanthropy’s Collaboration Initiative that began in January 2017, estimated to take four to six months.

“BEST is also advancing internally from a founder-directed to a board-directed organisation to strengthen its structure and boost its longevity. Susan Armstrong has stepped up to chair the BEST Management Committee. Susan will be putting together a team that will assist BEST with ‘Building Capacity’. It hopes to do this through expanding its Membership Programme and by expanding its human and material resources.

“BEST is committed to honouring Stuart’s legacy as an advisor, mentor, and wise counsel to any new team that will be created.

“As we move through this process of transition, BEST is fortunate to have the support, commitment and dedicated service of Stuart, David Wingate, long-term BEST director and Bermuda’s most notable environmentalist, as well as a strong board of directors and management team.”