Sky’s the Limit for Philanthropic Opportunity Offered to Small, Global Environmental Non-Profit ‘Rare’: “The Wilson Challenge”
NEW YORK, June 10, 2009 — The Arlington, Virginia-based environmental non-profit, ‘Rare’ (www.RareConservation.org) – considered by many to be “global conservation’s ground game” and named “one of the best charities you’ve never heard of” by Motley Fool – calls it “the Wilson Challenge”…
Legendary, retired Wall Street Hedge-fund Manager, Robert Wilson -- a BusinessWeek Top 25 Donor, and one of the largest environmental philanthropists in the U.S. in recent years -- is betting his dollars on the rapidly-growing, but relatively small international conservation organization, Rare, and will match the highest 2009 Rare donor 1:1, with no ceiling on the amount of the match.
As the close of the second quarter of 2009 approaches, a pledge for $6.1 million has been made by long-time conservation advocate and Rare Board Chair, Wendy J. Paulson. “While we’re thrilled with the generous Paulson pledge, we’re also very excited about the possibility that Bob Wilson’s unique, unlimited challenge may still pique the interest of other donors as well,” says Brett Jenks, Rare’s CEO. Jenks adds, “We’re honored by the Wilson Challenge because it’s based on the belief of a savvy investor that Rare is a ‘smart bet’; that there should be creative opportunities for philanthropists looking for maximum return and leverage during tough economic times, in order to have their money make a measurable, positive impact in the world.”
Over the last several years, Wilson has offered several environmental challenge grants -- donations dependent upon recipient charities raising matching funds -- via his Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust, for up to $100 million each. The funds raised went to some of the country’s largest and most prominent conservation organizations, including the Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the World Monuments Fund.
Rare(www.RareConservation.org) is the leader in social marketing for global biodiversity conservation -- with a successful track record in more than 50 countries to date. The non-profit based in Arlington, Virginia, trains and supports leaders from the world’s top environmental organizations, local grassroots groups, and governments.
To date, Rare has trained 158 local leaders in the developing world, whose campaigns have influenced more than 6.8 million people living in over 2,400 remote communities.
Rare’s proven model used to change attitudes and behaviors about conservation at the local level is called a “Pride” campaign, so-named because it inspires people to take pride in the natural assets that make their communities valuable and to take action to protect them.
In conjunction with the “Pride” campaigns, a Master’s Degree in Communications for local environmental leaders from biodiversity-rich areas around the world has been established by Rare. All graduates receive an accredited Master’s Degree from the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication at the University of Texas-El Paso. The Master’s is administered by regional university partners in Mexico, China, Indonesia and -- as of this year -- Georgetown University in the U.S.
Many of the world’s largest conservation groups, as well as nations in the developing world, have requested Rare’s services to help build stronger local community support for their work. They include The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Audubon, the United Nations Environment Programme, the national governments of China, Mexico, Peru, Indonesia, and many others.