The Ellen Fund Team


Ellen DeGeneres is well-known for her comedy, but what isn’t as commonly known is her passion for protecting our wildlife. In fact, her hero since childhood was Dian Fossey, the legendary figure featured in the book and movie Gorillas in the Mist. With this in mind, Portia de Rossi (Ellen’s wife and fellow actor) surprised Ellen with the birthday gift-of-a-lifetime: an opportunity to follow in her hero’s footsteps by establishing a home for The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund through the newly established Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund.

This gift gave Ellen — and the millions who love her — the opportunity to be a champion for an endangered species, just like Ellen’s hero Dian Fossey.

And while it happens to be Ellen’s name on the Fund, one person alone can’t do this without the help, support, funding and love of a large community. The Ellen Fund is and always will be a team effort. It is, in fact, the only way that we can save these animals… with your help.

And so it is today that The Ellen Fund is led by Ellen and Portia, with an amazing team keeping all the pieces moving together, as well as an incredible partner in The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. 



The Ellen Fund supports global conservation efforts for endangered species. Founded in 2018 by Portia de Rossi as a gift for Ellen DeGeneres, our immediate focus is to secure a future for wild gorillas by building a permanent home for The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.


Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

Our Partner

“Dian Fossey is someone I’ve admired my whole life. Her work with the mountain gorillas in Africa is one of the things that inspired me to be an animal advocate.”

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund continues the work begun in 1963 by Dian Fossey in the forest of Rwanda. And now, 65+ years later, The Fossey Fund is the world’s leader for gorilla protection and study. In fact, most of what is scientifically known about gorillas has come from research conducted by their scientists, and that data continues to play a critical role in advancing science today. The Fossey Fund’s motto is “Helping People. Saving Gorillas” because of their integrated approach to conservation. It is in fact, the main reason that the endangered gorilla species of great ape is increasing in number. Their approach includes daily protection, scientific research, educating conservationists and helping communities, and we are proud to partner with them to create The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of The Dian Fossey Fund.


The Ellen DeGeneres Campus

of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

The Ellen Fund was initially started with one very clear purpose: to continue Dian Fossey’s journey and help save mountain gorillas in the wild. We are 100% focused on making this first project a success.

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund was created to continue Dian’s legacy after her untimely death. In the 40 years since, they have been doing amazing work to assure her 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, where each helps the other.

But they were missing a critical component: a permanent home. The Ellen Fund is supporting The Fossey Fund as it works with the local population, gorillas experts, local and world-class architects, technology sponsors and many others to create a campus that will support (a) the longterm health and care of the Dian Fossey Fund, (b) gorilla science, (c) responsible tourism, and (d) the needs of the local population.

It’s officially called The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, and we hope you can visit some day.

Donations to The Ellen Fund will help build The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. This is The Ellen Fund’s first project and main priority. The goal of the campus is to inspire everyone who visits to cherish gorillas and their conservation. We met with an architect when we were in Rwanda and it’s going to be fantastic. We can’t wait for you to see it.

The Campus aims to inspire all who visit toward a lifetime of gorilla conservation: tourists, scientists, government partners, students and community members.

The Campus will feature:

  • 11 acres adjacent to Volcano National Park in northern Rwanda, with more than 50,000 square feet of building space,

  • The best in sustainable architecture, local resourcing, and environmentally-responsible practices,

  • State-of-the-art laboratories, a scientific conservation library, and meeting space for large groups,

  • An interactive exhibit that focuses on Dian Fossey’s story and the conservation of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and

  • Indoor and outdoor classrooms with a range of experiences for everyone from young children to scientists to tourists.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for early 2019, with completion targeted approximately 2 years later. We invite you to follow and support our journey along the way via Ellen’s Journals, social media, and The Ellen Show updates.

There are many ways to support the Campus, from donations to sponsorship opportunities. Contact us for further details.


Kids and The Ellen Fund


The Ellen Fund has been proud and incredibly honored to have the support of children from Day 1. We’ve seen lemonade stands to birthday parties supporting the Fund…and we realize that kids understand that animals need help. Kids get this!

In seeing all the support, we decided we had to do something to support them in return, and so we’re in the process of creating a website just for kids, with games, learning, and some special ways that they too can help the gorillas.

When kids help, they make a big difference. They raise awareness and inspire their adults to act, and they will also grow up with an awareness of environmental conservation, knowing that that they can make a difference.

Kids are smart. And so we’ll be open to their new ideas on how to help, as we too continue to learn from them.