Client Spotlight: The WILD Foundation

At Altruic Advisors, we work exclusively with nonprofit organizations. After spending time with so many amazing people every day, we can’t help but want to share their stories! Placing these organizations on firm financial footing is a meaningful and rewarding task, and our Client Spotlight series demonstrates how each of our nonprofit clients is special in their own way.

The WILD Foundation is a wilderness organization headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. With a number of far-reaching environmental initiatives and a track record that spans more than four decades, this organization is a powerhouse in the global wilderness community. Read on to find out how the WILD Foundation is changing the world, and what YOU can do to help them create good!


What is the WILD Foundation’s core mission? How are you trying to “create good” in the world?

As the heart of the global wilderness community for over 40 years, the WILD Foundation protects wilderness while meeting the needs of human communities, working across cultures and boundaries by collaborating with local peoples, organizations, the private sector, and governments to create dynamic practical projects, inspiring solutions and communications initiatives.

WILD’s work advances a reciprocal, balanced relationship between people and nature – our Nature Needs Half vision. Our aim is to ensure that enough wild land and seascapes are protected and interconnected (scientifically estimated to be at least half of any given ecoregion) to maintain nature’s life-supporting systems and the diversity of life on Earth. The vision supports human health and prosperity, and secures a bountiful, beautiful legacy of resilient, wild nature. Nature Needs Half recognizes that we are part of nature, not separate from it. The “half” also suggests a planet that is respectfully shared, where the needs of all living things are considered and protected equally, for the good of all.

When was the WILD Foundation founded? How did this organization become a leader in the global wilderness community?

WILD was founded in 1974 in South Africa by a man named Ian Player. During the early years, WILD focused its efforts on wilderness experiences. Dr. Player and his Zulu mentor Magqubu Ntombela knew that taking people into wild nature to experience wildness is the best way to connect people to one another and to foster relationships between people and nature. We continue to advance the human-nature relationship today through a variety of on-the-ground projects, art and culture for nature conservation, publishing, training, and our World Wilderness Congress.

Ian Player, one of the world’s outstanding conservationists, was perhaps best known for saving the white rhino from the brink of extinction. He was a ‘man of many reasons’ for wilderness: African game ranger, international diplomat, writer, lecturer, wilderness guide, and a man of culture. His goal was to assure that wilderness remains a constant reality and a source of spiritual inspiration, prosperity, and fundamental physical life on this planet.

WILD has proudly grown from the strong foundation that Ian laid down and has become successful thanks to its interdisciplinary, intergenerational approach to conservation in which ecological, economic, social and cultural concerns are interwoven. We focus on wild nature as the foundation upon which all else is sustained. WILD has a long history of successfully designing and leading new movements, projects and collaborations to restore and protect the wild, and to reconcile and enhance the relationship between human communities and the wildlife and wild places of the world.

What are some of your current projects and programs?

Our Mali Elephant Project protects the desert elephant population in the Gourma region of central Mali, West Africa, by empowering local communities to manage resources sustainably, restore degraded ecosystems, and thereby coexist peaceably with elephants.

The WILD Cities project is a collaborative campaign to regenerate wild nature in urban areas to improve quality of life for all.

CoalitionWILD is a global movement of rising leaders creating a wilder world.

Our flagship World Wilderness Congress is an ongoing conservation project, focused on practical outcomes in policy, new wilderness areas, new funding mechanisms, trainings for communities and professionals, and more.

What is the biggest struggle you face as a nonprofit organization today?

As a nonprofit organization, ensuring that we can raise enough money each year to keep all operations running is a huge concern. An increasing worry is witnessing society’s overall lack of connection with nature. Baba Dioum, a Senegalese forestry engineer has this wonderful quote that says, “In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” Since the day the WILD Foundation was born, our team continues to work nonstop to connect people to, and demonstrate the importance of wild nature. BY 2040, 80% of the global population will live in cities. As the world becomes increasingly urban, human connections to wild nature are eroding, and we need to find new ways to create enduring connections between people and nature so that all living beings, including humans, will thrive.

How can people support the WILD Foundation?

People can support WILD in a variety of ways- by simply donating to our core operations, joining our new Giving Circles, or finding ways to support our mission with their own unique skills. There are many opportunities to get involved and we welcome other suggestions!

Social media is an important vessel for spreading our mission of protecting through connecting: wilderness, wildlife and people. We encourage everyone to join the conversation with us on Facebook and Twitter and help start a broader dialogue for wilderness, worldwide.