About

OUR PILLARS

The nexus of social and environmental justice.

This is where we thrive.

We believe equity, inclusion, and diversity are the cornerstones of socially and environmentally just world.

This is our worldview.

Sharing insights and resources on equity, inclusion, and diversity with socially and environmentally conscious organizations and their leaders.

This is our job.

Meeting organizations where they are to jointly build strategies that best fit their needs.

This is our approach.

Empowering organizations to make change, and not just talk about it.

This is our goal.

OUR
PEOPLE

Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin
Founding Partner
Ava Holliday
Founding Partner

OUR
STORY

THE ORIGIN

On a rainy weekend in May 2015, Aparna and Ava were engaging in their usual banter about pressing topics such as race, gender, and equity in the outdoors when Aparna’s 7-year old son, Kieran, inquired, “Oh, you’re having wise talk again?” Amused, they began to rattle off other types of talk, such as “real talk,” “family talk,” and “coffee talk.” Jokes aside, Kieran’s quip inspired an animated discussion about their common vision and passion for this work. In September 2015, they could no longer contain their excitement and jumped into this new venture, heart first.

THE NEED

In recent years the environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation, outdoor & environmental education, camp and youth development sectors have ramped up their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Though each organization is committed, many feel stuck. The Avarna Group fills this gap by supporting organizations with resources and services as they navigate through culture change toward a more sustainable future.

THE NAME

The name Avarna, besides being portmanteau of its founders’ names, is a Sanskrit word describing one who transcends varna, an ancient Hindu system of classifying humankind. Similarly, The Avarna Group believes that each person and community should have the power to transcend classifications that are externally imposed upon them and determine their own relationship to the environment. We believe that this is an essential step in moving toward social and environmental justice.


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