There were many wonderful instances in the third quarter that helped raise MEP’s profile and brought in funding. In July, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) has officially introduced the Mau Team to their supporters on their highly visited website DSWT Mau De-Snaring Team. We are beyond thrilled to be included on any communications that the DSWT sends out to its informed and passionate supporter base. In August, MEP HQ hosted both Reuters and the BBC to film C.E.O. Marc Goss along with rangers and operations. Each of these series has the potential to reach thousands of people and will air in early 2019. Then, in September, Brett Velicovich was featured on Fox Business talking about his time at MEP. His quick appearance on that show generated over $600 in donations for MEP on that day. Warrior Boy a book by Virginia Clay (pictured left) is also on shelves now and features MEP as a trusted conservation organization. Finally, Klaus Tiedge, a celebrated photographer announced that for the month of October he’s donating 20% of his print proceeds to MEP. We are excited about this fundraiser and appreciate his support!
In September, Mara Elephant Project’s core funder, the ESCAPE Foundation officially changed their name to the Sidekick Foundation. Though their focus remains the same, they are looking to capture more appropriately their belief in fulfilling their role as the sidekick to the next generation of conservation heroes. You can check out their new website at www.sidekickfoundation.org. Sidekick’s first official business was to host a MEP supporter event in Indianapolis, IN at the home of MEP and Sidekick founder, Fred & Suzie Fehsenfeld. This event was a combined effort to say ‘thank you’ to our supporters for the last six years. During the presentation, MEP Trustee Trey Fehsenfeld provided a warm welcome and MEP C.E.O. was able to personally thank everyone for their support and provide an update on the activities and achievements of MEP. We appreciate our partners support at this event including Drone Warrior Brett Velicovich who gave a wonderful demonstration of how drones can be used in the Mara to mitigate human-elephant conflict.
MEP Trustee Trey Fehsenfeld kicking off the MEP Supporter Event in September.
In terms of grant submissions for the third quarter, MEP has submitted to be a GiveBack partner of Endangered Species Chocolate, an Indianapolis, IN-based fair-trade chocolate company, that donates 10% of its proceeds to many deserving conservation charities around the world. MEP staff had a good meeting with their head of marketing and as the company is heading in a new direction with their marketing material there are more potential partnership opportunities for our two organizations in 2019 that we’re excited to explore. We also submitted a grant to Elephant Cooperation, who came to visit MEP HQ in the Mara and joined us for the Indianapolis Prize.
MEP is very pleased to announce that we have been successful in our application to the OAK Foundation who have confirmed core support for the next four years. MEP also submitted a grant to the Bently Foundation in the third quarter for ranger equipment support that has just been approved. We also submitted a grant to the International Elephant Foundation in August to support the training and development of MEP rangers. Finally, we also applied to the first stage of the UK government’s Darwin Initiative Round 25 in partnership with the Maa Trust seeking funding over three years to support MEP’s community engagement work. Unfortunately, we were not short listed for the second stage, but received useful feedback which we can use to strengthen our submission in the next round in 2019.
Late last year MEP received a grant from TUSK Trust of $50,000 in support of our work. We submitted our interim report this month and are happy to say that the money has been used to re-collar Caroline and Kegol as well as purchase two motorbikes that have allowed MEP rangers to map fences in the ecosystem to help MEP create virtual geo-fences, which helps with human-elephant conflict mitigation. The funding will also be used to run a chili fence workshop after the short rains in November and building 15 km of chili fences. Grants like this one from TUSK make a difference and allow MEP to protect elephants and the communities that live alongside them.
One of the motorbikes provided by TUSK.
MEP has been included in Asilia Giving’s plans for 2019. Each of their guests donates $5 per night at Asilia in the Mara, all of which will go to Mara Elephant Project up to $2,000. We also received individual donations from the Hubbard Family Foundation, M.A. and Jim Rogers, Rita Cabases, Craig & Stephanie Brater, Susan Tolbert and the Reilly Family Foundation all totaling over $45,000 for MEP.
Facebooks’ fundraising platform continues to benefit MEP with over $600 raised by our Facebook followers! In July, MEP celebrated World Ranger Day and in August, MEP celebrated World Elephant Day with an email to supporters and a full social media campaign. This was a great way to connect to a global movement and helped us raise $600 toward helicopter flying time. Thank you to everyone who donated on Facebook and PayPal to make this a success.
MEP was pleased to host Karsten Ree in early September at HQ. Karsten has been a major supporter of MEP over the last three years and has committed to continue his support. MEP hosted visitors from Kicheche Camp, Elephant Pepper Camp, Alex Walker’s Serian camp, Richard’s Camp, Naibosho Camp, The Maa Trust and Angama Mara. Ker & Downey, an African luxury travel company, is including the MEP Visitor Experience in their fall edition of Quest Magazine and Marc Goss’ talk at Tuft’s University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine was featured in the local paper and well received by faculty and students.