Empowers Africa Annual Event 2016
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 - The Explorers Club, NYC
Born To Be Wild – Saving Africa’s Lions
Empowers Africa, a non-profit foundation that supports programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, held its annual gala dinner at The Explorers Club in New York City on April 21st, 2016. The event raised over USD 173,000 for human empowerment and wildlife protection programs in Africa.
Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Richard Wiese, Host and Producer of ABC series “Born to Explore”. The auctioneer was Eliza Osborne, Executive Director at the Centre Pompidou Foundation. Guests included Donna Corbat, Event Chair, Michael Corbat, Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup; actress and conservationist Shannon Elizabeth; Nina Griscom, Event Vice Chair; Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, Event Vice Chair; Adam Roberts, CEO Born Free USA & Born Free Foundation; Richard Ruggerio, Chief of the Division of International Conservation for U.S. Fish and Wildlife; Felicity Twort from Stop Ivory and Stephen Ham from the African Wildlife Foundation.
100% of the proceeds from ticket sales and auction items will be granted to Empowers Africa supported programs that include rural feeding programs, anti-poaching initiatives and income generating projects. The auction consisted of prints by Andy Biggs and trips from Africa’s top operators including Singita, Asilia Africa and Wilderness Safaris.
In keeping with the “Born to Be Wild” theme, the evening’s honorees are instrumental to African lion conservation:
- Dr. Craig Packer, Director of the University of Minnesota Lion Center
- Pippa Hankinson, “Blood Lions” Producer
- Ian Michler, “Blood Lions” Consultant
- Dr. Andrew Venter, “Blood Lions” Executive Producer & Wildlands CEO
Dr. Craig Packer has spent four decades conserving Africa’s lions and has published numerous books and articles based on his field research. His conservation work at the Lion Center addresses large-scale challenges across all of Africa.
The Blood Lions documentary and campaign exposes the captive lion breeding and canned lion hunting industries in South Africa. Pippa Hankinson, the producer of Blood Lions, has devoted the past twenty years of her life to wildlife conservation and high-end ecotourism. Ian Michler is the lead investigator in the film and his investigative work into the canned predator breeding and trophy hunting industries spans more than 15 years. As CEO of Wildlands, Andrew Venter has grown the organization into one of South Africa’s most significant environmental NGOs, employing over 1,300 staff and impacting the lives of 7,000 rural residents while conserving and rehabilitating tens of thousands acres of land.
Empowers Africa is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on funding programs in communities that surround protected conservation and wildlife areas or World Heritage sites; programs in urban communities where tourism is a strong source of development; and programs that support the protection of wildlife and land conservation.