Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Gabrielle Olya
December 17, 2015 12:50 AM

It seemed almost fate that Channing Tatum would become involved with the Runa Foundation, a non-profit that aims to monetize resources in tropical forests to benefit the local people, as well as the forest ecosystem.

“A guy named Tyler Gage – which is hilariously my name in Step Up – he started the Runa tea company,” the actor, 35, tells PEOPLE.

Once Tatum learned more about the company’s mission, he helped form the Runa Foundation, and traveled to Ecuador to see firsthand where the tealeaves came from.

“Runa [ ] gives plants to the Ecuadorian people to plant in their backyard, and they come around to harvest and pay the people money for the leaves,” he explains of how the organization helps local farmers.

During his visit, he also got to partake in local customs and connect on a personal level with the people he met.

“We were all pretty moved and inspired by it,” he says. “I just want to go down there and help [ ] the people that I’ve met on the basic level of, I’ve made friends. I will do anything to help them save their land, to live a better life.”

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