Michel Zwecker has been BOS Australia’s Philanthropy Manager for the past three years. He will soon be moving on, but before he leaves, we asked him to share some insights about his critical work.
How vital are philanthropists for BOS Australia’s work?
It’s important to say that every donor is crucially important for our work, regardless of the amount they can give, as it’s the collective effort that allows us to achieve significant progress in orangutan conservation. The contribution of philanthropic individuals or entities with significant capacity enables us to fund specific projects that would be out of our financial reach. Philanthropy has been instrumental in improving sanctuary facilities, carrying out ambitious reforestation plans or purchasing much-needed equipment for the orangutans’ welfare or monitoring.
What are the benefits of partnering with BOS Australia?
When a corporation partners with us, it not only contributes to the protection of the critically endangered orangutans but also allows its employees and clients to rally around this beautiful cause. We encourage the corporation to use the partnership for their own internal and external communication needs, as it all builds up to raise awareness and funds for the orangutans’ plight.
How can individual givers or corporations make an impact?
There are many ways to support us, such as giving regularly, symbolically adopting an orangutan, buying merchandise, involving a business or coming to events. An incredibly impactful way is to pledge a bequest in your will, which ensures a lasting legacy of support for generations to come. Additionally, volunteering in our enrichment program at the sanctuary in Samboja Lestari is a wonderful way to get involved and experience the benefits of contributing to a great cause firsthand.
You have joined the Volunteer Program in Borneo. What makes it so unique?
Nothing beats being close to orangutans and observing them on the pre-release islands. When you look into an orangutan’s eyes, there is a deep sense of connection and respect, and that’s when the saying that they are one of our closest cousins becomes apparent. The program is a fantastic experience shared with volunteers from all over the world, and great friendships can come out of it. However, it’s not a lazy holiday. Volunteering is hands-on work but so much fun and rewarding!
What are your aspirations for the philanthropy program moving forward?
We have made great progress in the last few years, engaging a growing number of foundations, corporations and individuals with our work in Borneo. I wish for the program to continue growing for the ultimate goal of saving orangutans from extinction.
Thank you, Michel, for your hard work and dedication. We wish you all the best.