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Travelers' Philanthropy Pioneers

In this section, Travelers' Philanthropy would like to recognize several tourism operators who have become worldwide leaders in destination philanthropy, and who stand as examples to us all of the power of organized giving. Following are summaries and interviews highlighting the charitable foundations they have established, and their philanthropic efforts to date.

Use the tabs below to read about our pioneer partners:

Intrepid Travel Establishes the Intrepid Foundation

Intrepid Travel

Q: Why did Intrepid Travel first become involved in destination philanthropy?Braille without Borders
A: Since Intrepid Travel began in 1989, we have always had a commitment to giving back to our destination communities. The establishment of The Intrepid Foundation (a separate entity) in 2002 was a way of bringing our many philanthropic activities under one umbrella. It was also to help our travellers support overseas projects they learn of while travelling with Intrepid; to increase the support to these projects; to give clearer accountability and transparency; and to give more consistent community support a step removed from the business.

Q: How much do you raise each year for Philanthropic goals?
A:$140,000 - $290,000 a year.

Q: What has been your greatest philanthropic success? What is your company most proud of?
A: The response to some of our special appeals has been extraordinary. Our Asian Tsunami Appeal raised AU$225,000 and our Indochina Appeal for Mike raised AU$60,000 for 5 children's charities inVillage school lunch program Indochina, in memory of former Intrepid group leader Mike Matsushita who was tragically killed in the London train bombings. We're also proud of many of the achievements of the Community Project Fund - such as the difference our English teaching project at the base of Mt Kinabalu has made for the vocational opportunities for local people; for the training of many former street kids in hospitality and life skills at KOTO in Hanoi; and for the 270 young Chinese girls who dropped out of school that have been able to return to primary school for 3 years through the Spring Bud Plan. These are just 3 examples of how funds raised by the Intrepid Foundation have brought success.

Learn more about Intrepid Travel and the Intrepid Foundation at http://www.intrepidtravel.com and at http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

Myths and Mountains founds READ Global (Rural Education And Development)

Myths and Mountains - READ

Q: Why did Myths and Mountains first become involved in destination philanthropy?
A: From its inception in 1987, Myths and Mountains sought to bring travelers “inside” a culture, so giving back to the communities where we traveled was a priority.  At first, we gave scholarships to needy students, built schools, and helped put doctors in the Amazon.  But these acts were bandaids on a bleeding artery.  Then, on one of her treks, Myths and Mountains founder and president Dr. Antonia (Toni) Neubauer asked her Nepali guide what he wished most for his home village.  “A library,” he replied.  

Nepali child reading

Thus, in 1991, READ Global (Rural Education And Development, www.readglobal.org) was established as the non-profit arm of Myths.  Eight porters carried 900 books and a card catalog over 11,800-foot Lamajura Pass down into the tiny village of Junbesi, Nepal. A library in a village with a secondary school and a hub of elementary schools was an ingenious way to leverage scarce funds and reach a maximum number of people.  READ Global’s aim was not to simply create a library, but to develop a catalyst for systemic and sustainable change in the community.  Each library thrives on community interest and participation, as well as a self-sustaining income-generating project (i.e store-front rentals, furniture-making, and ambulance services), which in turn creates more skill-building opportunities and jobs in remote villages.

Q: How much do you raise each year for philanthropic goals?
A: Last year, $1.5 million, including grant funds.

myths and mountains photoQ: What has been your greatest philanthropic success? What is your company most proud of?
A: By 2007, READ Global had established an astonishing 45 libraries in Nepal (positively influencing the lives of more than half a million Nepalis), dedicated its first Indian Library in Ullon in the Sunderbans, and started the second in Rajasthan, and plans to work in 4 more countries by 2010.. READ Global’s pilot site, READ Nepal, is the winner of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's 2006 Access to Learning Award, and READ Global itself was the 2007 recipient of a $3M, 3-year replication grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Access to magazines, newspapers, books and learning tools is helping rural students pass school leaving examinations and building a market of readers for local writers and publishers.

Q: What is most important for a successful philanthropy program?
A: Sustainability, and local ownership.

READ would be happy to consult with interested parties and share the "best practices" that it has tested and proven over its 17-year existence.

To learn more, visit www.readnepal.org, or www.readglobal.org

Lindblad Expeditions Founds the Galapagos Conservation Fund

Lindblad Expeditions

Q: Why did Lindblad Expeditions first become involved in destination philanthropy?
A: Destination philanthropy has always been at the heart of Lindblad Expeditions' operations. To take guests to remote and pristine corners of the world, and expose them to the wonders of the place's natural and cultural beauty, inspires committed travelers who then care about these regions and want to help protect them for future generations.

whale breeching

Q: Do you work through a local NGO or through your own foundation?
A:Both. We recently launched a joint fund with National Geographic to further our already in motion philanthropic efforts of the Galapagos Conservation Fund, Gulf of California Conservation Fund, and support of NGOs such as Alaska Whale Foundation, Oceanites, MarViva and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.

Q: How much do you raise each year for philanthropic goals?
A: In 2007, we raised - together with our guests - more than $820,000 across all the regions where we have travel philanthropy programs in place (Baja, Galapagos, Antarctica and Southeast Alaska).galap

Q: What has been your greatest philanthropic success?
A: Our work to support the Galapagos Islands, in the arenas of conservation, education and community development. In 10 years of the Galapagos Conservation Fund (GCF), we have raised more than $4 million to support on-the-ground projects and initiatives. We have also, separate from the GCF, initiated and launched programs to support local teachers and students, and local artisans in the Galapagos Islands.

lindblad expeditions photo

To learn more, we invite you to visit the Travel Philanthropy Page of Lindblad Expeditions' website.

All photos are courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions and protected by copyright. Unauthorized use prohibited.

CC Africa founds Africa Foundation

Q: Why did you first become involved in destination philanthropy?
A: It’s a fundamental belief of ours that the viability and sustainability of any conservation area relies on the buy-in and sense of mutual benefits shared by the surrounding community. In many cases CC Africa’s landlords are the traditional communities, such as our Masaai landlords in Tanzania. But our responsibility to the community doesn’t stop there. If conservation and the rich wildlife is to be respected and protected by communities, then it must act as a true social citizen and the benefits must be reciprocal. So CC Africa actively engages with communities on an ongoing basis and seeks to address the needs and priorites identified by the communities themselves. To do this, CC Africa founded and continues to run a not-for-profit organisation called Africa Foundation which specifically focuses on projects to empower communities in or neighbouring the reserves, which ultimately assures the future of the wildlife and the land as a conservation entity.

Q: How much do you raise each year for Philanthropic goals?
Approximately $1 million a year.

Q: How do you encourage your guests to donate?
We are very careful about approaching guests to be donors - we respect their holiday and leave it very much to the guest to indicate their "appetite" to learn more about our community work and projects. However, we give every single guest a full orientation when they arrive at each lodge about the approach and philosophy of the /company and how they link with the communities, so guests are automatically exposed and are given further reading material in their rooms. We do not impose any pressure to donate - we rather find that our guests are much more motivated through their genuine, personal interaction with their guides and the staff, who very often are members of the local community. The guests relish dialogue about local communities as part of the interpretive experience they get at CC Africa and then are offered visits to the communities and projects.

Q: What is most important to include in a successful philanthropy program?
The reason "why" and genuine interaction. Also, the consultation process is vital as well as the ongoing engagement. It is important to avoid imposing your own priorities.

For more information on CC Africa, Africa Foundation, or projects currently underway, please visit: www.ccafrica.com, www.africafoundation.org, or www.responsiblesafaris.net.

Micato Safaris Founds America Share


micato america share logoAmerica Share was founded by Micato Safaris as a way to give something of lasting value to the poorest children in East Africa. Micato’s guests have for years proven themselves as more than just tourists on holiday: they have turned America Share into an organization that currently assists over nine hundred children in orphanages East Africa. With their donations of clothing, new shoes, infant care items, medicine, blankets, school supplies, and toys, these committed travelers have given hope, joy and increased opportunity to generations of East African children.

micato america share photoFully funded by Micato Safaris so that 100 percent of all donations go directly where they are needed, America Share has now designated five institutions for their support. America Share has recently expanded their operation to allow Micato’s guests an even more personal involvement, with a sponsorship program to underwrite the cost of school fees, school uniforms, room and board for the neediest children who have demonstrated a commitment to rise above the devastation into which they were born. The remarkable children are placed in reputable boarding schools in Nairobi and, for the first time in their lives, begin to thrive both academically and emotionally.

With the increasingly obvious difficulties for developing countries in today’s world, Micato and America Share feel more than ever the need to give something back, to make a positive difference for people living in the areas where we bring visitors.


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