Wild Philanthropy: Sustainable African Tours

© Hilary Hurt; Courtesy Tropic Air

Wild Philanthropy offers a new way to give back while traveling the continent.

Investing in the conservation of African ecosystems is daunting without all the right connections. It’s always bothered Will Jones, founder of luxury African-tour operator Journeys by Design. So Jones, who grew up in Africa, devised a solution. This fall, he launched Wild Philanthropy, a member’s club that helps charitable travelers to invest in countries like Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. “We’re aiming to elevate the classic luxury safari to a travel club that helps us build conservation legacies for members,” Jones says.

Travelers can join Wild Philanthropy by selecting from three tiers of annual fees ($10,000, $25,000, or $50,000) in exchange for different levels of at-cost Journeys by Design trips to parks and reserves that aren’t currently available through mainstream tours, such as Ethiopia’s Chebera Churchura National Park and Chad’s Zakouma National Park. One hundred percent of the membership fees is used for investments in and donations to the enterprise’s core conservation projects and partners in Africa, such as initiatives in sustainable tourism, microfinance, and rangeland management, as well as administrative costs and strategic services like impact reporting. Nonmembers can also book trips through Wild Philanthropy, which will allocate 20 percent of the profits to these affiliated projects. 

Those who want to invest outside of the organization's purview can work with its consulting arm, Wild Philanthropy Bespoke, which helps donors identify and implement programs on the ground. 

For Jones, who trained as an environmentalist scientist before founding Journeys by Design, the fact that less than two percent of institutional and private grants are allocated to conservation globally is personal. "It's a time to start reinvesting in the assets we've depended on hugely," Jones says. wildphilanthropy.com