Arcus Foundation and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries Partner for 2016 Great Apes Giving Day

September 29, 2016

Andy Marra,
Communications Manager
Arcus Foundation

Kellie Heckman,
Executive Director
Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Third Annual Day of Giving on October 4 to Benefit Thirty-Four Ape Sanctuaries and Rescue Centers in Africa, Asia, and North America

Washington, DC – Arcus Foundation and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) are pleased to announce this year’s Great Apes Giving Day, a global day of giving in support of 34 qualified sanctuaries and rescue centers that provide rehabilitation and long-term care for great apes and gibbons throughout Africa, Asia, and North America.

Great Apes Giving Day, a multi-year pilot project of the Arcus Foundation, was conceived as a means to address the need of great ape sanctuaries and rescue centers to build financial support for their critical work. It is modeled after popular giving days such as Give Out Day, Giving Tuesday, and Give Local. Participating organizations are provided with training and support to create a fundraising strategy for the event, which includes building online fundraising pages. They are encouraged to contact existing donors, reach out to potential donors through social media and other means, and seek the involvement of their volunteers.

In its inaugural year, 2014, Great Apes Giving Day raised and awarded nearly $85,000 to nine African sanctuaries; in 2015, it raised and awarded nearly $200,000 to eight North American sanctuaries. This year’s event seeks to raise and award over $300,000, including $40,000 in prize money, for sanctuaries and rescue centers in Africa, Asia and North America that have worked to put capacity building lessons into practice.

For 2016, the Arcus Foundation is partnering with GFAS, a non-profit organization whose international accreditation program for sanctuaries and rescue centers recognizes high standards of animal care and certifies that these organizations do not commercially exploit animals through purchase or sale of animals, captive breeding, or invasive research. GFAS also provides educational and outreach support to sanctuaries and rescue centers seeking to better their animal care and operational practices.

“Partnering with Arcus Foundation on this year’s Great Apes Giving Day has been valuable for GFAS in promoting our updated mission to improve the quality of care for animals requiring sanctuary,” remarks Kellie Heckman, GFAS Executive Director. “With our accreditation program, we strive to help sanctuaries and wildlife centers meet our Standards of Excellence, and this event is a unique opportunity to provide them both with much needed financial support and tools that each center needs to become more sustainable.”

This year’s Great Apes Giving Day is being staged over three continents; for the first time, participants in Africa, Asia and North America will compete during the same 24-hour period to raise donations and win prize funding. “This event presents an exciting opportunity to highlight the incredible work being done worldwide by rescue centers caring for apes,” says Jackie Bennett, GFAS Director of Accreditation for Africa and Asia. “The participating sanctuaries and rescue centers are a diverse group representing 16 countries. Yet they share common goals, often in very challenging environments, to provide excellent animal care and implement important conservation initiatives. Each of these wildlife centers has a unique story to tell about the apes in its care, and this event gives them the platform to do so and to raise needed funds.”

“The Arcus Foundation is pleased to sponsor the third annual Great Apes Giving Day in partnership with GFAS, which is the leader in maintaining the highest standards of care and facilitating financial and operational resources to sanctuaries and rescue centers worldwide,” said Linda May, Arcus’ Captive Apes Program Director. “This day of giving is not only meant to increase support and build capacity, but also to increase awareness for the sanctuaries and rescue centers devoted to the long-term care for thousands of apes in need.”

This year, the Arcus Foundation has co-sponsored Great Apes Giving Day with the American Anti-Vivisection Society and Maria Norbury Foundation. To maximize online donations within the 24-hour time period, the three groups are making available $40,000 to be awarded among the participating sanctuaries and centers.

Great Apes Giving Day will take place on October 4, 2016. To learn more about the event and this year’s participating organizations, visit

About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries:
The Arcus Foundation is dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. Arcus believes that respect for diversity among peoples and in nature is essential to a positive future for our planet and all its inhabitants. For more information, visit

About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries:
The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries was formed in 2007 for the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries worldwide. The GFAS mission is to continuously improve the quality of care for animals requiring sanctuary. To this end, GFAS accredits sanctuaries based on worldwide Standards of Excellence, facilitates operational and financial support, and enhances effectiveness, recognition, and collaboration. The GFAS Board of Directors guides the organization’s work in a collaborative manner. They represent top leadership from American Anti-Vivisection Society, Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, and Tigers in America. For more information, visit