Started in 2014 by Scout Dingman, an eight-year-old girl, the goal of the Ape Ambassadors is to provide kids an opportunity to make a difference. Scout first began raising funds for the Center for Great Apes on her 6th birthday. She has held lemonade stands, encouraged her class to pick the sanctuary for the class charity (they did - two years in a row!), encouraged friends and family to enter Art4Apes - an art competition that supports the Center for Great Apes, and continues to explore new ways to raise funds and awareness for the Center for Great Apes. It is thanks to her friends, family, school, and the Center for Great Apes that this went from an idea to a crew of kids who want to make a positive impact! Thank you!
Ape Ambassadors is a club for kids and teens. Anyone can join and there is no cost to be a member.
The club is designed to involve kids in raising awareness and funds for the Center for Great Apes, a non-profit sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees rescued from undesirable living situations. (Meet some of the apes on the Meet the Apes page.) The club strives to help build basic skills for lifelong learning which can be applied to future careers and occupations. We want our members to enjoy learning, expand their creativity, engage their entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit and simply do something to make a difference.
Club members get to do a lot - what they do is only limited by their creativity and what their parents and guardians will allow.
Where Do Donations Go?
The Ape Ambassadors club follows the Direct Project Model. Contributors to the Project (Ape Ambassadors) make their gifts (donations) directly to the Sponsor (the Center for Great Apes). So that means - when Ape Ambassadors raise money, their parents simply write the check to the Center for Great Apes and in the note section of the check, write "An Ape Ambassadors contribution." That way, we can track how much each Ape Ambassador has raised and overall, how much the Ape Ambassadors have helped the sanctuary.
About The Beneficiary
The beneficiary is who benefits from the efforts of Ape Ambassadors or, simply put, who gets the money. Ape Ambassadors raise funds for and awareness of the Center for Great Apes. The Center for Great Apes is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit sanctuary for chimpanzees and orangutans. The sanctuary, which has received Charity Navigator's 4-star rating, was founded in Miami and is now located in Wauchula, Florida. It is the only sanctuary for orangutans in North America and is fully accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
There are 15 orangutans and 30 chimpanzees rescued and living at the Center. Some have been in movies, others were once kept as pets and others were rescued from laboratories. To meet the resident apes of the Center for Great Apes, click here. Each of the apes' past history is often sad and sometimes scary. Many were treated terribly, others were nearly starved to death and most were left in small cages with nothing to do but stare at the walls. For these incredibly intelligent animals, this is a horrible situation. Imagine being stuck in your room for decades with nothing to read, watch, or play with and having to eat the same awful food every day. That is what it was once like for many of the apes before they came to the sanctuary. But the good news - actually - the GREAT NEWS is that they have been rescued and are now at the Center for Great Apes where they live in spacious habitats, with more than a mile of aerial walkways, medical care, a healthy diet and enrichment programs. Funds raised by the Ape Ambassadors ensure that the Center for Great Apes continues its great work!