Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) Center

A Future for Gorillas, Built on Community

Niwot, CO   |  gracegorillas.org

Mission

GRACE's mission is to provide excellent care for rescued Grauer's gorillas and work alongside Congolese communities to promote the conservation of wild gorillas and their habitat.

Ruling year info

2014

Executive Director

Tommi Wolfe

Main address

PO BOX 504

Niwot, CO 80544 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

46-2308758

NTEE code info

Protection of Endangered Species (D31)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) Center is the only sanctuary for critically endangered Grauer’s gorillas, a subspecies only found in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the world’s largest primate, and are poorly studied because field research in DR Congo has been impeded by decades of insecurity. It is both an umbrella and a flagship taxon, with populations living in some of the highest conservation value regions of DR Congo, but is suffering a catastrophic decline in population. The principal cause of the decline of Grauer’s gorillas is increased bushmeat hunting fueled by the expansion of “conflict mineral” mining and the presence of armed groups. While people living near Tayna do not hunt gorillas, they use gorilla habitat to collect wood. GRACE is working with local communities to promote the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild gorillas and their habitat.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Gorilla Rescue, Rehabilitation & Release

GRACE Center cares for critically endangered orphaned Grauer’s gorillas rescued from poaching. Despite operating in one of the most remote, poor and difficult areas of the world, GRACE has become an award-winning, GFAS-accredited facility that the local Congolese community call “an oasis of hope.”
GRACE has spent over a decade successfully rehabilitating rescued Grauer's gorillas that were orphaned from poaching and integrating them into a surrogate family group. At GRACE, these gorillas are cared for and prepared for eventual reintroduction whenever possible.

Population(s) Served

We conserve Grauer’s gorillas in the critical biodiversity hotspot around Tayna Nature Reserve through monitoring and capacity building, to enable Congolese leadership in gorilla rehabilitation and conservation.

Population(s) Served

We implement conservation education and community engagement programs that promote awareness, foster empathy, and seek to increase conservation knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. GRACE partners with communities to uplift and empower people living near priority gorilla habitats with a focus on building pride and appreciation for gorillas, forests, and conservation.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of people influenced to undertake conservation action

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People of African descent

Related Program

Conservation Education & Community Engagement

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

GRACE conducts outreach by in-person and radio programming. In the past 3 years in-person outreach has been limited by COVID-19 and Ebola in the region.

Number of animals rehabilitated

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Gorilla Rescue, Rehabilitation & Release

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

GRACE has rehabilitated and currently provides excellent care for 14 rescued Grauer's gorillas. We work alongside Congolese communities to advance the conservation of wild gorillas and their habitat.

Number of IUCN Red List species with habitats in areas affected by operations

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Gorilla Conservation

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

8 primate species identified in nearby Tayna Nature Reserve listed on the IUCN Red List category critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable and near threatened.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

GRACE's mission is to provide excellent care for rescued Grauer’s gorillas and work alongside Congolese communities to promote the conservation of wild gorillas and their habitat. The ultimate goal is to reintroduce rescued gorillas back into the wild.

More than just a sanctuary, GRACE also works with local communities on conservation education, forest protection, & sustainable livelihoods to help secure a future for orphan gorillas and their wild counterparts and to foster a peaceful coexistence between humans & gorillas.

In pursuing our mission, GRACE aims to:
• Maintain an excellent facility in the DRC for rescued Grauer’s gorillas
• Prioritize the welfare of every individual gorilla and maximize the possibility for gorilla reintroductions in
the future
• Develop and implement education programs that promote gorilla and forest conservation in North Kivu
• Invest in skill building to help Congolese become leaders in gorilla rehabilitation and conservation
• Assist local communities with developing sustainable ways to coexist with wildlife while addressing their
own development needs
• Build effective partnerships with local, regional, national, and international partners to promote a coordinated and collaborative approach to solving conservation challenges in DRC
• Lead scientific effort to determine potential release sites and assess habitat suitability of selected site
• Organize population viability analysis for selected site
• Screen gorillas for reintroduction candidacy using health, behavioral, and personality assessments
• Lead effort to develop and test remote monitoring systems for post-reintroduction gorilla monitoring
• Collaborate with partners to design and train staff for transitional holding facility at selected release site

Since we’re committed to using clean, renewable energy whenever possible, our forest enclosures and nearly all of our daily operations run entirely on solar power.

We also established a farm in 2015 to ensure the gorillas in our care have a steady supply of food that doesn’t deplete the environment around GRACE. We grow natural gorilla vegetation, such as elephant grass, to supplement what the gorillas forage for themselves in the forest.

GRACE is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization in the U.S. (EIN 46-2308758) and operates in the DRC.
Six employees are based in the U.S. and 38 are based in DRC. GRACE has an U.S. office in Colorado and an office in Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu. The Goma office is staffed by an administrator. All other DRC employees are based in Kasugho region at GRACE Center, located in Lubero territory, North Kivu. GRACE’s entire DRC staff are Congolese nationals.
The organization is governed by Boards of Directors. Technical expertise and training support are provided by volunteer advisory groups and outside volunteer and hired consultants.

GRACE has 3 strategic program pillars that support our vision:
1. Rescue, Rehabilitation & Release: We maintain an award-winning sanctuary in DR Congo to care for Grauer’s gorillas rescued from the illegal wildlife trade, and we are working to release suitable candidates back into the wild.
2. Gorilla Conservation: We conserve Grauer’s gorillas in the critical biodiversity hotspot around Tayna Nature Reserve through monitoring and capacity building, to enable Congolese leadership in gorilla rehabilitation and conservation.
3. Conservation Education & Community Engagement: We implement education and community engagement programs that uplift the communities around gorilla populations and promote local understanding of and appreciation for gorillas, their habitat, and conservation.

Our sanctuary already provides a wonderful second chance for gorillas rescued from wildlife trafficking.

Our 14 rescued gorillas have formed a surrogate family group considering their early start.
They continue to be evaluated individually to determine who are good candidates for reintroduction.

In regard to Conservation, in early 2021, GRACE and Réserve des Gorilles de Tayna (RGT) completed the first-ever great ape survey of the entire 900 km2 Tayna Nature Reserve. The successful completion of the survey represents far more than an assessment of the great ape populations in the reserve – it is a milestone for community-led conservation in the region. The GRACE team worked hand-in-hand with local communities to address past challenges of working in this remote area, in the face of hardships brought about by years of insecurity, disease outbreak, and travel restrictions.

In regard to Conservation Education and Community Engagement, after conducting a pre-assessment survey of community members, GRACE distributed solar-powered radios to 21 Barazas (families of traditional landowners) and launched a special 4-week radio campaign focused on the connection between human health and gorilla health. After GRACE distributed radios, listenership increased among the Barazas. In addition, post-assessment data showed a significant increase in conservation knowledge, including the connection between practicing good hygiene and keeping both gorillas and people healthy. We are excited to report that radio is effective at sharing conservation messages, and we are using this data to plan future campaigns!

In addition, in May 2021, GRACE hosted a five-day workshop led by invited guest Joseph Zambo, from Projet Équateur at Woodwell Climate Research Center. Attendees from GRACE and Réserve des Gorilles de Tayna (RGT) learned participatory methods in community engagement and management of natural resources.

This year, GRACE DR Congo Director Jackson Mbeke and our farm managers Louise and Faustin traveled to Bukavu in South Kivu province to meet with Dr. Augustin Basabose and his NGO, Primate Expertise. GRACE team members learned about their community conservation efforts, including their program called “Ape Trees,” in which seeds from gorilla feces are used in reforestation projects. This experience provided an excellent exchange between the two organizations.

Financials

Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) Center
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) Center

Board of directors
as of 05/27/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Laura Maloney

Adisa

Term: 2020 -

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/30/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data