We are pleased to announce that we have officially launched our Future Rangers Scholarship Fund. With our initial funds, provided by generous donations from GCC supporters and board members, we have been able to sponsor twelve new students from communities surrounding the Kruger National Park to train to become qualified field rangers at the Southern African Wildlife College.
Over 600 individuals submitted their applications for a scholarship, from which 36 were selected to go through a ranger selection process. This four-day selection process put candidates through a series of physical and mental tests to determine their eligibility to become wildlife guardians. From these 36 candidates, 12 have been chosen to take part in the six-week training course at the Southern African Wildlife College. This six-week course is designed to equip learners to become fully-qualified wildlife guardians.
“It is vital to GCC that the students who receive the training can be directly employed into the local economy,” shares GCC Founder and Executive Director Matt Lindenberg. “GCC is working with local reserves to ensure that all 12 graduates are placed into jobs in the region and get to use their newly acquired skills immediately.”
GCC believes that learners with the most passion, talent, and ambition to pursue conservation careers should be granted further education and learning opportunities once completing high school. The Future Rangers Scholarship Fund aims to provide opportunities for a range of career paths within the greater wildlife economy.
We are thrilled to be able to share our completed 2019 Annual Report with you, our donors and supporters. Personally, I find that the true value of an annual report is that it forces you to look back to a specific set of dates, in this case 2019. As with any business, and especially conservation (where the clock is always seemingly racing against you), you are always concerned with either the present or future; the past is very rarely reflected on or celebrated. If you likened the growth of a nonprofit to the construction of a house, the first 3 years of GCC’s journey were laying the foundations. We dug deep, we built processes, we attracted incredible talent and staff, we hustled hard. When looking at 2019, however, this was the first year that we started constructing the walls of our organization. This is where the strength of our foundations allowed us to finally grow vertically, to defy gravity, to be a defined shape above the horizon. During this year, we brought on our first full-time paid staff members, traveled to and established relationships on 4 continents, signed partnership agreements with 3 pioneering corporations, were empowered to establish an autonomous base in South Africa and most importantly, meticulously refined our conservation mission. For those of you who have been with me since the beginning, I think you will all agree that 2019 will forever be known as the year GCC found its feet. We now stand at a higher level, where the challenges increase, the stakes get higher, but the rewards and impact become closer to being realized. I’ll always remain firm in the belief that no one ever achieved anything great on their own. This year of exponential growth and success was made possible by our international group of dedicated, loyal, fierce, committed and brave individuals; the likes of which the world needs now more than ever. To our GCC team, friends and supporters, I am humbled, inspired, and grateful beyond words.
Ecosystem Entrepreneurs: Empowering Students to Change the World
A Message from Robert Ludke, Advisor to the GCC Board
I recently published Transformative Markets, a book about how we can – and must – harness the power of markets to transform how we innovate, make, market, and use goods and services every day in our lives so they are sustainable and add value to society rather than deplete our precious human, natural, and social capital.
Scaling a Small Idea into a Game-Changer
An idea that stayed with me throughout writing the book is one I discussed in Chapter 8 – the “polycentric approach” to scaling change. The premise is that the best way to scale an innovative solution into something transformative is to create a network of individuals and organizations working in partnership. As the idea becomes reality and achieves success it will grow into something bigger thereby expanding its impact and outcomes.
That is exactly what Ecosystem Entrepreneurs is all about.
The Ecosystem Entrepreneur curriculum will be taught as part of the GCC Future Rangers program and target a diverse group of students in 10th – 12th grades. Students who have a genuine interest in entrepreneurship and are passionate about wildlife conservation will be invited to participate in the curriculum. Ecosystem Entrepreneurs will be educated on how to build and operate a business that adds value to society, restores ecosystem health, and generates a profit.
The focus of the program will be in high schools near Kruger National Park – a series of ecosystems that must be protected for future generations while giving young entrepreneurs an opportunity to increase the region’s social and economic development.
Expertise: Geologist, business leader, and consultant Currently working on: Connecting people and building partnerships between GCC and the private sector Favorite animal: My border collie called Neve, and the Elephant
Michele has had an illustrious career in the private sector, holding CEO positions for luxury brands such as Girard-Perregaux, Gucci Group Watches & Jewelry, Omega and more. Looking at his resume, you would be forgiven for thinking that he had studied business studies or economics, but he is actually a professional geologist by training.
Even though Michele’s career path took him away from geology, his love for the Earth and nature has never left him. He is now combining both his expertise in business leadership with his passion for protecting the environment by connecting people from both worlds. He believes that the private sector needs to step up to the challenge and is working hard to start conversations with global companies. To date, he has brought Garmont, Swiza, and Tissot on board as GCC partners.