Rainforest Trust, a U.S.-based conservation nonprofit organization, protects vital habitat around the world for species, communities and the planet. The organization’s SAVES (Safeguarding Areas Vital to Endangered Species) Challenge is an ambitious initiative to drastically reduce deforestation at the global level.

Strategically launched at the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress in September 2016, Rainforest Trust made a commitment to raise $50 million as a challenge match that will direct a total of $100 million to establish new protected areas across the tropics. By creating new partnerships and sustaining current collaborations, the goal is to safeguard 50 million acres by the year 2020.

Rainforest Trust empowers its local partners through the SAVES Challenge, allowing them to take direct conservation action without being over-constrained by costs. The largest hurdle to conservation efforts is often a lack of financial capacity. This quandary is especially true across the tropics, where funding is limited but the need for habitat protection is immense. Rainforest Trust firmly believes this should not be a barrier to safeguarding areas at high-risk of being destroyed, as deforestation is taking place around the world at an alarming rate.

Another hindrance to conservation can be a lack of coordination between among researchers conducting essential biological studies and established nonprofit organizations that can scale up and sustain projects. If a researcher is aware of an important site but does not have the capacity to develop a protected area, Rainforest Trust can connect him or her with one of its local partners. If a conservation group wants to engage more with current investigative fieldwork, Rainforest Trust can help it build connections with the research community. Pairing thorough project reviews with a streamlined approval process, the SAVES Challenge provides an avenue for funding to be efficiently dispersed on the ground at project sites where it’s most needed. One hundred percent of gifts to the SAVES Challenge are used to support the creation of new protected areas across the globe; these donations do not fund Rainforest Trust’s overhead or operating costs, which are supported by its board of directors and a few key foundations. Rainforest Trust has also repeatedly received a 4-star rating (the highest possible rating from the independent evaluator Charity Navigator) and maximum 100 percent overall rating, highlighting that donations to the nonprofit are used efficiently and effectively.

“The challenge is to respond to the urgency of saving the last great wildlife habitats on Earth,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Dr. Paul Salaman. “We need to act now to ensure these areas are protected while they still exist. We are determined to do so through the SAVES Challenge, and we invite all conservationists and philanthropists to join us.”

To learn more about Rainforest Trust’s SAVES Challenge, please visit:
www.rainforesttrust.org/saves-challenge

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