Nature. For every person, the word calls to mind an image, a memory, a feeling. We all experience nature uniquely, while it also unites us.
A uniqueness and unity shared by couple Karry and Jonathan Hatch.
Though born outside Cleveland, Ohio, Karry spent her childhood in the South. Reflecting on that time, she recalled, “There’s a wildness to the [South]. [I spent days] digging holes, catching crawdads, building sand forts, making pots and brooms from red clay—thinking I was Laura Ingles Wilder.”
For Jonathan, sports formed the memories and connection to nature he enjoys today. With his brothers and kids in the neighborhood, they played baseball, tennis, golf and swam. But it was fishing in a small pond that brings the biggest smile. “We would spend weekends with my grandmother in what we then called ‘the country’ forty-five minutes outside Cleveland. There was a pond on her property, and I would fish there all the time. We now own my parents’ house on that property. And my favorite fishing is still in that same pond I grew up with.”
Calling Cleveland “home” all their lives, Karry and Jonathan raised three daughters there. “Living a pretty good, Mid-Western life” as Jonathan described, they found themselves in a position to share and contribute back to society.
Prior to starting a family, Karry worked for Head Start in an inner-city school system. Even years later, the memories and images she formed then of the struggles of urban communities motivate her. “Today, as I live on a beautiful property and travel, I am aware that people of color are the ones paying the highest price, from a health perspective, for climate change. There is a desert of healthy green spaces in areas. It’s important to me to always be thinking about what we can to do to improve green spaces in areas where people are suffering from asthma, diabetes and more in cities,” she shared.
They chose to make giving back a family activity, which has given them great joy.
“What’s been really great for me is when we sit down together as a family to make charitable decisions. It started young with a portion of the girls’ allowances. They’d choose the nonprofit and write a letter to accompany their donation. As they’ve grown older, they have had a portion of our family fund to donate. It’s lead to lively conversations amongst us about why we choose to support the nonprofits that we do,” Karry shared.
When their daughters shared that the environment was at the top of their lists, Karry and Jonathan turned to friend Pascal Mittermaier, now Nature Sacred Board Chair, for his advice. They knew him to have a long history working in environmental stewardship.
Jonathan recalled, “I called up Pascal wondering what types of organizations are making an impact. He started talking about Nature Sacred. Nature Sacred’s approach of working with communities to give them what they want in terms of green spaces spoke to our desire for impact at grassroots’ levels. Environmental health crossing over into racial equity — this appealed to us.”
Valuing Pascal’s advice and experience, Karry and Jonathan decided to add Nature Sacred to their giving.
“People give to people,” she said. Jonathan shared, “We do see nature as ‘sacred’. When I think of the word ‘sacred’, I just think of important — element to life. Nature Sacred — the name is natural to the mission.”