Who started Better Place Forests?
Our CEO Sandy Gibson lost his parents at a young age, and grew up going to a loud, noisy cemetery in downtown Toronto.
In Sandy's words...
My parents died when I was very young.
My father of a stroke when I was 10 and my mother of cancer, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, when I was 11. My mother had been fighting terminal cancer for five years when my father died unexpectedly. They had not discussed their end-of-life plans, which meant choosing a grave for my father was a hurried last minute decision, and the impetus for her own end-of-life planning.
My mother wanted to be with her family for eternity, and while she admired the old family mausoleums in the cemetery, they were just too cost-prohibitive. As such, she picked the last family plot available in an old church cemetery, despite its location beside a busy street where the noise of traffic and sirens from the nearby fire station filled the air. My fondest memories of my parents took place in nature, and yet those are the sights and sounds that are now immortalized as the backdrop when I visit my parents to this day.
After working in the software and finance industries for ten years, I knew I needed to build something more meaningful... something that was a source of positive change in the world. I reflected on the stress and worry my mother experienced while making end-of-life decisions for my father in the wake of her own bereavement. I recalled my own experiences visiting my parent’s gravesites as loud buses rumbled past behind me and I thought there has to be a better way…. and a better place than this.
Better Place Forests was born out of these experiences and a desire to enable families to write a better end to their story and establish a lasting legacy while conserving some of the most beautiful natural land in North America.