As we head towards Giving Tuesday toward the end of November, we have taken the time to revisit our Great Plains Foundation strategy. We are starting a new initiative internally, one that in many ways democratises our giving and our project selection. We will be encouraging and then incentivising all our staff to play a role in the Foundation. These opportunities include conservation and community work, volunteering, coming up with new project ideas and taking active roles in where we give back to communities and conservation.
Our quarterly report shows the incredible work achieved during two challenging years and exactly what our small Foundation team has done. It talks about what we can do as conservationists and as players in Conservation Tourism to spread benefits from our business into protecting land and species and helping the communities around us.
This new initiative dives more profoundly into conservation by empowering our staff to guide us on projects that I hope will give us more significant insights from a ground level to what is most relevant to our communities, their communities.
An excellent example of this is already in place at Kenya’s ol Donyo Lodge. Here, our guides approached us to consider funding teachers at nearby schools. This week, we also approved a project to raise matching funding for scholarships for 100 Kenyan children.
In Botswana’s Seronga area, instead of arriving and imposing grand ideas on the community, we went from village to village asking questions and finding out what was important to them. Only then did we start to design projects and initiatives which we might be able to fund.
Since Beverly’s and my little buffalo accident some years ago, so much of our focus has been on giving ‘second chances’ to those around us (a reflection of Beverly’s second chance). Rhinos, lions, rangers, communities and, in particular, the women and children of Africa have all been recipients of this same philosophy. With the hardships of life so random and quite prevalent, it has always personally seemed that the correct decision – often a small timeous nudge here or there – can make all the difference in the world. That is what the Great Plains Foundation is all about. The style of our projects is most often about giving that Second Chance.
One element of this is our Art for Conservation, which is worth mentioning again under this banner. In this initiative, a portion of Beverly’s fine art photography sold in November will be donated to Project Ranger. Conservation and community work go hand in hand, and these two parallel efforts make our giving more effective and relevant than ever.
I invite you to read the quarterly report from the Great Plains Foundation to understand what initiatives we have done to date. Join us as we ramp up these efforts into 2022 and as we work upon bringing even more ideas in from our Great Plains Foundation staff initiative.
All the best,