TIFO was founded in 2012 by Margrit von Braun (Dean Emerita, University of Idaho) and Ian von Lindern (retired CEO, TerraGraphics Environmental Engineering) as the non-profit successor to the TerraGraphics Environmental Engineering/University of Idaho (TGEE/UOI) International Initiative. The Initiative adapted and implemented hazardous waste site cleanups within the cultural and socio-economic realities of low and middle income countries. Drs. von Braun and von Lindern established TIFO to continue this work in the non-profit sector after retiring and selling TGEE, an engineering company they founded in 1984.
TGEE worked with local, state, and federal governments to address environmental contamination in the US, primarily at mining and smelting sites in the Inland Northwest. TGEE oversaw the remediation of residences at the Bunker Hill Superfund Site (BHSS) and implemented dozens of risk assessments and cleanups in the region.
Since TGEE’s founding, environmental, public health, and occupational regulations in the US have made environments and working conditions safer for US residents. The US pioneered many of the pollution control and remediation methodologies used around the world today and in doing so, prevented environmental disease for millions of American children.
This success has come at a cost, however, as many polluting industries have moved overseas to low and middle income nations, where environmental and occupational health regulations are lacking or poorly enforced. Around the world today, more children are poisoned than ever before. Some researchers estimate that 9 million deaths per year are attributable to environmental pollution and more than 90% of pollution-related deaths occur in low income nations.
TIFO was founded to address this disparity. We are a grassroots organization that builds local capacity to address pollution that directly impacts health. TIFO assists governments, communities, and NGOs to address hazardous waste sites that are poisoning children in low and middle-income countries. Our projects have benefited thousands of children in Armenia, Bangladesh, China, Dominican Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Russia, and Senegal.