Voice for Asian Elephants Society

Creating Sustainable Communities through Saving Asian Elephants

aka VFAES   |   Los Angeles, CA   |  http://www.vfaes.org/

Mission

OUR VISION: Creating sustainable communities by caring for and protecting endangered captive and wild Asian elephants. OUR MISSION Abolish elephant slavery by educating and enlightening people about the plight of captive and wild Asian elephants, protect them by mitigating human-elephant conflicts in captivity and in the wild, and rehabilitate the captive ones in elephant havens where they can roam freely. VFAES will utilize as an essential educational tool “Gods in Shackles", a multiple award-winning and United Nations nominated documentary produced by VFAES Founding Executive Director, Sangita Iyer. This epic film will cultivate empathy and foster mind shifts, as it reveals the truth behind glamorous festivals in which elephants are exploited for profit in the name of culture.

Ruling year info

2016

Founding Executive Director

Ms Sangita Iyer

Vice President

Mr Ganesh Hariharan

Main address

3415 South Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 1100

Los Angeles, CA 90034 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

47-3943896

NTEE code info

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

Unknown (Z99)

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

Asian elephants are an endangered species, with around 40,000 of them around the world, at least 29,000 in India. Therefore, our programs are based in India. Due to the significant human population growth, people are encroaching into the elephant habitats, and taking resources, pushing elephants out of their homes, and intensifying human elephant conflict. VFAES aims to create corridors for elephants, purchase vast swaths of land, and create habitable forestland for elephants. India also has approximately 2,500 captive elephants, mostly exploited in festivals in the name of culture and religion. However, due to congested roads and the significant human population, as well as extremely hot weather patterns, elephants are unable to withstand the heat and noise and crowded streets. They're running amok, destroying properties and killing people. VFAES aims to empower youth, bureaucrats and the general public through films and other nonconventional means the need to retire elephants.

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?

Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth of India

EMPOWERMENT
Project Asian Elephants 101 is multidimensional in scope, including practical applications that will guide the youth to delve deeper into the challenges facing Asian elephants. It is designed to enlighten the youth of India, inspire open conversations and community engagements that will spur actions. Documenting, evaluating and presenting our findings will be a key part of this project.

Population(s) Served
Students
Adolescents

The Gentle Giant Summit is an initiative that is planned by Voice for Asian Elephants Society, and as such, will be a participatory conference comprised of individual attendees from the above-listed agencies. Its purpose is to strengthen and enhance governmental interagency communication and cooperation, and empower participating stakeholders to work in a collective manner, aided and abetted by knowledge, resources, and tools necessary to protect the endangered Asian elephants.

Population(s) Served
Academics
Adults

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 free participants in conferences

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

Women and girls, Adolescents, Adults

Related Program

Gentle Giants Symposium

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

* Multi-stakeholder virtual Gentle Giant Summit for key decision makers

Number of undercover investigations/videos to uncover unethical treatment of animals

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

Adults

Related Program

Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth of India

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

200 hours of footage of wild elephants struggling in West Bengal, Assam and Odisha states of India, revealing humans encroaching into the wild habitats; construction of national highways and railways.

Number of press articles published

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

Age groups, Religious groups

Related Program

Gentle Giants Symposium

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

After the launch of Gods in Shackles VFAES' mission has been publicized in international magazines such as the National Geographic, Huffington Post, Indian Express, Times of India, London Telegraph...

Number of participants reporting greater issue awareness

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

Adults, Children and youth

Related Program

Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth of India

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Asian Elephants 101 series airing on Nat Geo WILD YouTube has garnered at least 500000 in just 15 days since its launch on World Elephant Day (August 12, 2021) Nat Geo TV India has millions of viewers

Number of youth who demonstrate critical thinking skills (e.g., reasoning, analysis)

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

Children and youth

Related Program

Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth of India

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

After the screenings in universities and higher secondary schools, during the Q&A session students demonstrated invaluable discussions, connecting the dots between culture and elephant exploitation

Number of meetings with policymakers or candidates

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

Adults, Tribal and indigenous religious groups, Academics

Related Program

Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth of India

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

At least 25 meetings with bureaucrats, including the Project Elephant Director, Director General of Forests of India, relevant people in Kerala's departments, police chief, chief willdife warden

Number of meetings held with decision makers

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

Adults

Related Program

Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth of India

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Held meetings with numerous Central and State Governmental levels. India's Minister of Environment Forest and Climate Change; Kerala's Chief Minister, Forest Minister, and other decision makers

Number of policy guidelines or proposals developed

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

Adults

Related Program

Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth of India

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We provided the Chief Wildlife Warden a revised set of Kerala Captive Elephant Management and Maintenance Rules and guidelines to create rescue and rehabilitation centers in Kerala

Number of Facebook followers

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

Adults, Ethnic and racial groups

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our FB following has grown significantly since the release of the multiple award winning film Gods in Shackles

Number of educational screenings

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

Women and girls, Adolescents, Adults

Related Program

Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth of India

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We had more than 80 screenings around the world, including key cities in the USA - LA, Boston, Baltimore, San Diego, in Canada - Toronto, in India - New Delhi, Bangalore Mumbai, Trivandrum, and more.

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.

Our mission is to protect endangered Asian elephants of India by preserving corridors for wild elephants and restoring their habitats, while providing basic knowledge and tools to the people living near the forest fringes to alleviate human elephant conflict, thereby fostering peaceful coexistence between people and wild elephants.

In realizing our vision and mission:
1) Create elephant corridors and restore their lost habitat to protect Asian elephants in collaboration with the state forest departments
2) Alleviate HEC through capacity building and training programs for the local communities living on the forest fringes, and creating sustainable communities
3) Provide the native people near the forest fringes basic necessities and survival tools like flashlights, the first line of defense to protect themselves and elephants
4) Organize youth empowerment programs to cultivate empathy and compassion for elephants, and empower them to pursue ecological studies and elephant conservation
5) Conduct sensitization workshops for bureaucrats, law enforcement authorities, religious institutions, and decision makers, to advocate for legislative changes in tackling wildlife crime and ending elephant capture
6) Provide capacity building and hands-on training for elephant handlers (mahouts) to foster compassionate treatment of captive elephants, in collaboration with forest departments across states that house captive elephants

1) Build broad public awareness through film, education, nature immersion, and multi-media campaigns, to foster thoughtful shifts in ethical and cultural attitudes
2) Provide basic necessities, starting with flashlights, to people living on the forest fringes in order to help mitigate human-elephant conflict
3) Install elephant friendly fencing in villages to prevent electrocution deaths of elephants
4) Install large road signage to prevent elephant deaths as they cross major highways to reach the adjacent forest patches
5) Purchase a one-acre plot of land to create a permanent nursery and grow elephant friendly saplings, which will then be transplated in forests
6) Collaborate with Forest Departments to create corridors, and promote biodiversity, so elephants have enough land to sustain themselves
7) Gentle Giant Summit Project helps foster collaboration and communication between various governmental agencies to build consensus and work together in protecting wild elephants, while enhancing the living conditions of captive elephants
8) Conduct town-hall meetings with communities near the forest fringes to build awareness of the rescue program and engage them as partners in mitigating human/elephant conflict
9) Project Asian Elephants 101, a 7-day nature immersion program for the youth has been launched to help the younger generation reconnect with the natural world

We have a robust team of highly qualified Board of Directors and an Advisory Committee from versatile backgrounds. Our board was formed in November 2017.

VFAES has recently recruited a digital strategist to harness the power of social media, especially during the COVID lock down. We also depend on talented and dedicated volunteers, who are assisting with social media, graphics, and other fundraising tools

The VFAES board holds quarterly “virtual" meetings, and is working to establish a governance structure and put financial and other controls in place and to create and implement a fundraising plan. The VFAES Board of Directors currently stands at five, and the five Advisory Board members are world-renowned elephant and animal welfare experts, and we will continue to seek qualified candidates until we have at least ten Board of Directors. VFAES is staffed by a small but passionate, highly educated and efficient Board of Directors from various walks of life.

Sangita Iyer, Founding Executive Director of Voice for Asian Elephants Society, based in the United States is a highly experienced award-winning nature and wildlife journalist, an independent documentary filmmaker, and a biologist. Sangita is holds a Masters' degree in Environmental Education and Communication, a B. Sc. in Biology, and a post-graduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism (Dean's Honorary Role).

Ganesh is a vegan and passionate animal rights activist, involved in various outreach and awareness events. Having been aware of the acute issues & plight of elephants in India for some time now, Ganesh is committed to provide a meaningful contribution and support, to end the practise of capturing elephants and their use in religious festivities and human entertainment. Ganesh is a business and IT strategy professional with over 20 years of experience. His talents, energy and passion is invaluable to VFAES.

Nancy Lee Ma, CPA is the CEO and Founder of Crystal Clear Profits, Inc. She comes to VFAES with over 30 years of experience as a CPA and working with non-profit organizations, including small local non-profits and a national wildlife animal sanctuary with $3M in revenue. She has served in various financial capacities for the non-profit organizations as a board member and volunteer. Her passion is to raise human consciousness of the planet, and to educate the public on caring for our environmental resources and preservation of all endangered species.

Growing up in Hawaii, Alex was immersed in and developed an appreciation for wildlife and the environment from an early age. This passion developed into a lifetime of volunteering and advocacy and inspired her to work with wildlife organizations in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Sumatra, and in Los Angeles, where she currently lives. Alex brings with her a background of marketing, community development, and project management which, along with on the ground experience, allows for a broad perspective on issues pertaining to elephants.

1) We have delivered 1000 flashlights thus far, despite the COVID restrictions. Our goal is to deliver 4000 additional flashlights so tea plantation workers and elephants become alert of each other's presence (in West Bengal)
2) The first phase of elephant friendly fencing is underway in three villages. Solar electric fencing, glavanised wires (not electrical) fencing, an eco friendly concoction that emanate potent odour to deter elephants are the specific methodologies we are using (in West Bengal)
3) For the first time ever reflective signage alerting drivers to slow down will be installed in elephant crossing areas along major roads that connect to the highways
4) One Gentle Giant Summit has been conducted so far with more than 200 stakeholders participating from various faculties, including forest, power supplier, works & engineering, railway authorities and conservationists
5) Project Asian Elephants 101 for youth involved 100 participants who graduated after a 7-day nature immersion program as Elephant Ambassadors
6) $50,000 has been earmarked to purchase land in Kerala and to create corridors. Our efforts have been thwarted because of COVID lockdowns across India
7) Sangita Iyer's 26-part short film series on Asian elephants was recently released on Nat Geo with almost 100,000 views in some of the films in a matter of two weeks.
8) Additional workshops at Kerala's police headquarters resulted in the creation of a Wildlife Crime Unit by the state police chief.

Founding Executive Director, Sangita Iyer is constantly on the ground, providing numerous workshops to the forest department, alerting the authorities of the abysmal conditions that captive elephants suffer. Among numerous awards, Sangita received the 2017 Nari Shakti Puraskaar (Woman Power Award) - the highest award for women - from India's President, for her courage to expose the plight of Asian elephants.

Since 2009, Sangita Iyer has been tirelessly exposing atrocities against Temple Elephants in the southern Indian state of Kerala. In 2016, she produced a United Nations-nominated and multiple award-winning documentary, Gods in Shackles, to heighten awareness of the plight of Indian elephants exploited in glamorous cultural festivals.

As a biologist, journalist and filmmaker, it has been natural for Sangita to integrate science in her documentaries. She is the Executive Director and Producer of Gods in Shackles documentary that exposes the truth behind the glamorous cultural festivals, where temple elephants are exploited for profit behind the veil of culture and religion. The film, has won 13 Awards, and was nominated at the United Nations General Assembly by the prestigious International Elephant Film Festival and Convention on the International Trade for Endangered Species (CITES).

Financials

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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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Voice for Asian Elephants Society

Board of directors
as of 9/1/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Ganesh Hariharan

The Northern Trust Company

Term: 2020 - 2020


Board co-chair

Ms. Nancy Lee Ma, CPA

Crystal Clear Profits Inc.

Term: 2018 - 2021

Nancy Ma

Crystal Clear Profits Inc.

Alex Ward

Self employed

Ganesh Hariharan

Northern Trust

Gina Scavera

Costco

Sangita Iyer

self employed

Ann Heatherington

Self employed

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/20/2020,

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:

Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Gender identity
Male
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability