International actress, Shannon Elizabeth, has launched her very own conservation foundation right here in South Africa. We spoke to Elizabeth to learn a little more about what the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation (SEF) is and what we can expect from her in future.
Elizabeth first started a dog and cat rescue charity in Los Angeles in 2001 called Animal Avengers and, as she became more aware of the poaching crisis in Africa, she immediately wanted to help.
“So much of my work is here but I also fell in love with South Africa so I now live here for much of the time. I partnered with conservationist and writer, Peter Borchert, and combined all the lessons learned and made the decision to rebrand the organisation to what it is now, the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation,” said Elizabeth.
The SEF aims to involve people at all levels of conservation issues and the initiatives span from the original Animal Avengers focus as a youth conservation programme to a separate Wildlife Review Initiative under the curatorship of Peter Borchert.
Through its program of grants, the Foundation also supports reputable organisations such as the Rhino Pride Foundation and Flying for Freedom SA. Lobbying for just and effective wildlife laws is a central focus of the Foundation’s activities, while future goals including projects that champion responsible tourism and securing land to protect vital ecosystems.
Much of the fundraising and awareness is driven out of the USA, where they are able to create maximum awareness for the programmes and the issues they support.
“The South African chapter is where we run the programmes. This allows us to maximise our international reach, but also to focus on where the work is needed most: on the ground in Africa, working with other organisations and local communities to do all we can to save the animals and land we set out to protect,” said Elizabeth.
The SEF now works with NPO, Relate Trust, which shares the same values as the organisation.
“The ability to create real opportunity by uplifting women and youths. We believe in this. We also believe that the bracelet is a unique and authentic fundraising tool for us to use all over the world that carries a great message of our own work, but that also ensures that we are already contributing to a legacy on the ground in Africa. Everything we do, we aim to work with local organisations and to empower particularly women and children as much as possible. Relate also has a long and sustained track record and is a reliable partner in exploring how we can achieve fundraising goals both here in SA and overseas,” says Elizabeth.
The bracelets are 100% environmentally friendly, made from a selection of hemp and coconut wood.
“We want to protect the planet, not hurt it further!” says Elizabeth.
The bracelets were also made with the brand ethos in mind. It is authentic, visually appealing and inspires a sense of pride in all those who wear it.
“It allows people to be a part of something meaningful and impactful, while also looking cool and being a conversation piece,” says Elizabeth.
Funds raised will go towards developing the organisations initiatives that include:
Which aims to turn our heroes of tomorrow into the Animal Avengers of today. Through developing some exciting programmes for children to learn more about endangered and threatened animals around the world and how everyone can help to make sure South Africa’s rich natural heritage is defended for generations to come.
Wildlife Review Initiative:
The Wildlife Review Initiative aims to become a driving force by becoming the prime globally recognised hub of information, to better direct donor funds to the front line of conservation where it is needed most. The first project from this initiative is Rhino Review which will launch in the next few months and focuses on the rhino and the crises they face all over the world.
Bracelets are available at www.shannonelizabeth.org