Mara Elephant Project ended 2018 with a big fundraising push and received confirmation of support from organizations we had submitted grants to earlier in the year. We received the first annual instalment of a core support grant from the Oak Foundation to support the core activities of MEP and the full funding from the Bently Foundation for our grant request to support ranger training and purchase of essential field equipment. We also received a donation from advocacy group Elephanatics from their fundraiser they hosted in early October. We are so thrilled with the support they received at their event and thank everyone who donated.
Elephanatics Pub Night fundraiser.
In October, we distributed over 65 kg of seed balls that were donated by Seedballs Kenya through their fundraising campaign for MEP (pictured left). These seed balls make a difference in re-foresting the Mara and our partnership will continue to advance this mission. Then, in November, MEP collaborated with Seedballs Kenya again to distribute one million seed balls in the Mara in just one day. Funded by Diamond Trust Bank, the MEP team along with the Seedballs Kenya team distributed one million seed balls along with the community’s help. We were delighted that over 100 members of the local community participated, all in their traditional Maasai colorful attire and were energetic and ready to make this happen.
The community gathered to distribute one million seed balls in the Mara.
We started the fourth quarter off with excitement as Sir. David Attenborough was in the Mara to narrate a Netflix documentary series focusing on the Mara. MEP C.E.O., tracking manager and communications director had the absolute pleasure of meeting him and Marc and Wilson were interviewed and will be featured on the series when it’s released in late 2019.
MEP Tracking Manager Wilson Sairowua being interviewed for the Netflix documentary.
In November, MEP received the Guide Star Platinum seal of approval which is the highest transparency seal they give out and Guide Star is the number one charitable reporting organization that is international recognized. MEP has also formed a new relationship with EDI Clothing, a clothing company out of Edinburgh that is donating a portion of their proceeds to MEP. Though we’re just beginning this relationship, we look forward to expanding it in 2019.
MEP was also pleased to attend the award ceremony thrown by the Angama Foundation on December 6 for the Greatest Maasai Mara photography competition. We were presented with a check from the Angama Foundation, as one of five beneficiaries of the competition and we had 140 entries which selected MEP as their chosen organization, the most of any organization supported through the competition.
MEP CEO Marc Goss accepting the check from the Angama Foundation.
The holiday giving campaign for MEP kicked off with #GivingTuesday. We were asking supporters to #KeepMEPFlying by donating money to helicopter flying time in 2019. We launched a two-week Facebook fundraiser, a new fundraising platform that wasn’t available to us last year, and sent an email to supporters asking for their help. We’re happy to report that over 67 people donated to our Facebook Fundraiser and we raised $3,970. This is a great effort from our Facebook community and in conjunction with birthday fundraisers in the fourth quarter, we raised a total of $4,470 on Facebook.
MEP received a donation from SAWA who gives 10% of their yearly proceeds back to MEP. We also received funding from Asilia Giving and we’ve been approved for a grant in 2019 by Eden Wildlife Trust. We also would like to thank Endangered Species Chocolate for their consideration of MEP as a 2018 Give Back Partner. Though we were not selected, their two selected partners, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and National Forest Foundation are both very deserving organizations. Additionally, thanks to donor support MEP raised a total of $26,012 from individual donors in the fourth quarter of 2018.
In terms of visitors to MEP HQ, we had the pleasure of hosting a group of doctors and nurses from the Eskenazi Health Burn Unit in Indianapolis, IN at MEP HQ. They were in Kenya donating their time at the burn center in Eldoret and came to the Mara for some R&R after a long work week treating patients. We also had the pleasure of hosting MEP Chairman Colin Church with a group of friends involved in conservation in Tanzania and family at MEP HQ as well as a group from the Indianapolis Zoo.
The group of doctors and nurses from Eskenazi listening to MEP CEO Marc Goss.
Finally, Mara Elephant Project through our 501(c)3 the Sidekick Foundation, Inc. is now set up to receive stock donations. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or check out the donate page. We received our first stock donation in December and look forward to this new donating opportunity in 2019.