Our Story

Our Story

Ted TurnerIf you ask our Founder and Chairman, Ted Turner, what his favorite natural place is - you'll get a response that really hits home.

"It's Planet Earth. The whole place. I've been from the Arctic to the rainforest to the equator to the desert. I've been in over 70 countries. I love this world. I want to see humanity succeed, and learn to live in peace and harmony with the environment and each other." Turner has always been interested in the totality of the planet.

Read a Letter from our Chairman

When I was a kid, I read a lot of books about animals in Africa, about butterflies, birds, whales, plants, flowers, trees, everything. The natural world fascinated me.

In fact Turner believes so emphatically in protecting the environment from further degradation that he views it as no less than, "an effort to ensure the survival of the human species." To that end, the Foundation was created in 1990 and is committed to preventing damage to the natural systems - water, air, and land - on which all life depends.

The Turner Foundation is a family foundation governed by a Board of Trustees, which is made up of Ted Turner and Turner's five children -- Rhett Turner, Laura Turner Seydel, Jennie Turner Garlington, Teddy Turner, and Beau Turner.

Turner Foundation, Inc. has given Ted the opportunity to involve his family and teach them how to become responsible philanthropists and environmentalists. Jennie Turner Garlington, the youngest of the five Turner children describes her experience as "one of the greatest opportunities that any son or daughter can ever hope to have." Garlington's four siblings also share their Dad's passion for environmental causes. "It's allowed me to do some great things," said Beau Turner. "I think Dad thought it was very, very important to start giving money away while he was still around, so he could see what our interest was in all this. And so he could see his children enjoying the giving." Teddy Turner, Ted's oldest son, recalls the first vote the Trustees outvoted Ted on, "we thought it was the end of the world. But he thought it was the greatest thing. I think it was part of the transition he wanted -

Think on your own; do the right thing. Because I'm not always going to be here to tell you what to do.

When Turner was asked what he wanted the Turner Foundation to do when he's gone, he replied, "I want it to do good, that's all."

The Trustees' passion is not only reflected in their involvement in the Foundation, but also in their personal commitments. Laura Turner Seydel, a strong advocate for environmental and women's issues, is actively involved in a number of environmental organizations and is co-founder of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Chairman of the Captain Planet Foundation and serves on many national boards. Rhett Turner's Emmy-award winning production company Red Sky Productions has produced documentaries for such organizations as The Carter Center, International Crane Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Yahoo News, and others. Jennie has nurtured her love of media and the environment into an Emmy-award winning show she produces for PBS called Ecosense for Living. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Turner Endangered Species Fund and on the boards of numerous conservation organizations, Beau is committed to inspiring young people to get outdoors and enjoy nature.  He founded the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center (BTYCC) in Northern Florida which has become a model for outdoor youth centers throughout the state. Teddy is a high school teacher and very active and engaged in education and coastal conservation issues- serving on the Children's Museum of the Low Country and South Carolina Aquarium boards.

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