The Campus: 7 Things You Should Know
The Ellen Fund’s first goal is to help secure a future for wild mountain gorillas by building The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund a permanent home. It’s officially called “The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund,” and we thought we should tell you more:
What? The Campus will sit on 11 acres in Rwanda, with 50,000 square feet of state-of-the-art laboratories, a library, meeting space, interactive exhibits, classrooms, and housing. Buildings include student housing, an education center, research center, conservation gallery, and researcher housing.
When? The Campus groundbreaking was February 12, 2019 with a completion goal of 2021, depending upon the weather and many other factors.
Why? The goal of the campus is to provide the tools to The Fossey Fund to help save the gorillas, while inspiring everyone who visits to cherish gorillas and their conservation.
Why else? In addition to saving the gorillas, we aim to train the next generation of African conservationists. (Did you know that most scientific reports on Africa come from outside of Africa — we want to help change that!) We also aim to inspire millions of people to care not just about gorillas, but to take action towards a lifetime of conservation.
Helps the local community: Yes, people matter, too! This Campus will be a huge investment in the local community, with about 1,500 local jobs as part of the construction — half for women! — and nearly $5 million spent on local labor and materials. In addition, the funds from responsible tourism will support the local community for generations to come.
Not a Sanctuary: The Campus has lots of living space for students and researchers… but none for gorillas. We’re going to help the gorillas stay wild, while we humans learn and get inspired on the Campus.
Fossey Fund: The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has been doing amazing work for over 50 years to assure Dian’s mission of saving the gorillas. Not only do they address all threats to the gorillas — from human illnesses to habitat loss — but they also work closely with the surrounding communities to help assure locals and the gorillas can live together in harmony. This Campus is for the Fossey Fund — a separate organization — and it will serve as their first permanent headquarters.
You can follow the journey to build this Campus via Ellen’s Journals, social media, and The Ellen Show updates. And as always, we could use your help via donations, sponsorships, and spreading the word.