PLATINUM2024

Mara Elephant Project USA, Inc.

protecting elephants to conserve the Greater Mara Ecosystem

Carmel, IN   |  www.maraelephantproject.org
GuideStar Charity Check

Mara Elephant Project USA, Inc.

EIN: 45-3996413


Mission

MARA ELEPHANT PROJECT:

Protects elephants in the greater Mara ecosystem as a keystone species for conservation.

Manages human-elephant conflict by collaring and tracking elephant movement, deploying anti-poaching patrols and rapid response units.
Uses innovative techniques and technologies to eliminate the illegal killing of elephants in collaboration with partners, landowners and government.

Engages with local communities and other key stakeholders to inspire and advance conservation of all wildlife and the habitat upon which they depend.

Works to achieve best land use practices throughout the greater Mara ecosystem resulting in a sustainable economic benefit for the communities and people of Kenya.

Ruling year info

2012

Executive Director

Claire Bolles

C.E.O.

Marc Goss

Main address

4000 W. 106TH STREET SUITE 125-238

Carmel, IN 46032 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

45-3996413

Subject area info

Land resources

Wildlife biodiversity

Community and economic development

Population served info

Adults

People of African descent

NTEE code info

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (S05)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our vision is to see a stable elephant population co-existing peacefully with people in the GME. As the human footprint has grown, the space for elephants and other wildlife diminished, putting the two in conflict. We aim to find solutions that promote co-existence by combatting habitat loss, conflict and providing protection for elephants, their habitats and the communities that call the Mara home.

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?

Elephant Collaring, Monitoring and Research

Since 2011, MEP has deployed satellite collars on a total of 72 keystone elephants to track their movements. When paired with technology like EarthRanger, we can monitor at risk elephants in real-time and react when they are in danger. MEP has adapted over the last decade to focus on the co-existence crisis. In 2019, we launched the MEP Research Department to focus on monitoring elephants and evaluating the data to produce actionable outcomes that increase elephant protection. MEP launched a long-term monitoring (LTM) team to gather more field data on the entire elephant population living in the Mara, not just the collared elephants. The LTM team’s elephant monitoring has increased elephant protection by identifying injuries due to conflict early so a vet can treat the elephant. The long-term monitoring of an elephant population helps alert MEP to a resurgence in poaching, deploy rangers more efficiently and determine the makeup of the population, all to increase their protection.

Population(s) Served

To combat direct threats to elephants, MEP deploys 84 rangers alongside Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) who work tirelessly. These local men and women are the boots on the ground that prevent poaching, habitat destruction and promote co-existence. MEP has a vast intelligence network that alongside our government partners has been at the center of many arrests and seizures. Our anti-poaching patrols and intelligence gathering raises the opportunity cost for poachers and increases security for not only elephants but other wildlife. MEP’s well-trained rapid response ranger units mitigate conflict between elephants and communities to protect them both.

Population(s) Served

MEP is developing bespoke technology that has applications for global conservation. The data the MEP LTM collects on the Mara’s elephant population is being analyzed in a bespoke technology called ElephantBook, a system for human-in-the-loop elephant re-identification. Our system can be linked to EarthRanger which helps us efficiently monitor elephant populations and locations from elephant sightings in the wild. MEP also developed Ecoscope, an open-source analysis module for tracking, environmental and conservation data analyses. Ecoscope contains many of the tools needed to get from data collection to a finished report in a quick and easy streamlined workflow. The conservation tech we've developed can be applied globally to combat conservation challenges, and we're sharing it with other organizations.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adults

MEP rangers protect critical habitats in the GME by combatting illegal logging and charcoal production and arresting culprits and confiscating assets. We work closely with partners in the Mau, Loita and Nyakweri forests to effectively use our boots on the ground to deter habitat destruction and monitor illegal activities by collecting them in EarthRanger to show trends over time.

We evaluate forest loss by taking Google Earth Engine’s satellite images and using Esri, a GIS mapping software, to compare the forest year-to-year to show forest loss over time. These actionable outputs are used to develop policy, guide demarcation of the forest and protect boundaries from incursions.

Population(s) Served

MEP’s vision is to see a stable elephant population co-existing peacefully with people across the GME and in areas where they are struggling to exist in Kenya. There is a limited understanding of the complexity of crop raiding behavior because of the difficulty in obtaining detailed movement data from elephants that actively crop raid. Answering the “why” about crop raiding in elephants varies based on individuals, seasons, opportunity and more. Destruction of crops is economically ruinous to small-scale farmers and leads to harmful human-elephant conflict as elephants often sustain injuries while raiding and it stokes negative human perceptions leading to conservation challenges.

We launched the Co-Existence Farm to determine elephant selection for agricultural crop types in order to trial low-cost solutions to make a traditional subsistence farm elephant friendly.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adults
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.

Percentage of Illegally Killed Elephants (PIKE)

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

Anti-Poaching Patrols & Rapid Response Units

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

PIKE = percentage of illegally killed elephants. This number is no longer released externally but used internally with stakeholders.

Number Rangers Deployed

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

Anti-Poaching Patrols & Rapid Response Units

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We work in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service. We have nine ranger units in total and all rangers are recruited from the local community and trained in house.

Number of Poachers Arrested

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

Anti-Poaching Patrols & Rapid Response Units

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Since 2012, MEP alongside government partners has arrested 525 total ivory or bushmeat poachers, raising the opportunity cost for poachers in the Mara.

Kilograms of Ivory Seized

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

Anti-Poaching Patrols & Rapid Response Units

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

All resulting in 2,540.85 kg (5,601 lbs.) seized.

Number of human-elephant conflict incidents responded to

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

As poaching declined, human-elephant conflict increased. We started tracking incidents in 2016 and collecting data on property damage and the effectiveness of our mitigation techniques.

Kilometers of chili fences built

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

Co-Existence

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

38 km of total chili fences built and 540 farmers trained in how to maintain and build chili fences. This practice discontinued in 2018.

Number of Poached Elephants

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

Anti-Poaching Patrols & Rapid Response Units

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

MIKE = Monitoring of Illegally Killed Elephants, which indicates carcasses found and cause of death, we list poaching death only. We were proud to celebrate zero poached elephants in 20, 21 and 22.

Number of Collared Elephants

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

Elephant Collaring, Monitoring and Research

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This reflects the numbers of elephants being monitored through the MEP, KWS and WRTI collaring program.

Number of Habitat Destruction Suspects Arrested

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

Habitat Protection

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The number of suspects arrested by MEP and government partners for habitat destruction activities (logging, charcoal).

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.

MEP was developed to fill a gap in protecting elephants outside of conservancies and protected areas in the Mara. Elephants that are “safe” in the Mara have been in the formally protected Maasai Mara National Reserve and the informally protected conservancies. As a result, most of the illegal killing of elephants, and hence the work MEP does, is concentrated in an unprotected area of 11,500 km2 outside these areas. We aim to eliminate poaching in the Mara, build solutions that promote co-existence and see a stable elephant population co-existing peaceful with the people of the Mara.

Our approach is to Monitor, Evaluate & Protect, or the “MEP” Method. MEP deploys innovative techniques and technologies to monitor our four pillars of protection: elephants, habitats, communities and connectivity. MEP builds bespoke technologies that evaluate conservation data and produce actionable outputs to influence policy, landscape planning and deployment of resources. MEP deploys Kenyan rangers and researchers to protect our four pillars.

Since 2011, MEP has trained, deployed and managed over 70 community rangers and trained deployed and managed a vast intelligence network to combat poaching, habitat destruction and mitigate conflict. Our research department continues to grow and diversify in capacity to address the threats to elephants and their habitats. Adopting technology and remaining adaptable as an organization is key to achieving our goals. Expanding our fundraising efforts as well to find sustainable revenue streams will ensure MEP is here to secure a future for elephants.

Over the last decade, Mara Elephant Project’s approach of monitor, evaluate and protect has had a significant impact on the four pillars, elephants, habitats, communities and connectivity.

• Zero poached elephants in the GME in 2020 and 2021
• 462 total ivory or bushmeat poachers arrested
• 2,192 kg (4,833 lbs) of ivory seized
• Eight rapid response ranger teams
• Over 80 Kenyan men and women employed in conservation
• A cutting-edge research department
• A MEP Experimental Farm to find solutions to promote co-existence
• Movement data from 72 collared elephants
• Three field researchers mapping over 5,337 km (3,316 miles) of fences
• Over 1,000 snares removed, 700 kilns destroyed, 49,000 illegal posts, pieces of timbers and trees confiscated
• 857 conflict incidents mitigated
• Operating the only helicopter dedicated to wildlife in the GME
• Sponsored the education of over 100 staff member’s children

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

Mara Elephant Project USA, Inc.
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
NET GAIN/LOSS:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

21.55

Average of 11.40 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

3.3

Average of 1.7 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

0%

Average of 2% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Mara Elephant Project USA, Inc.

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Mara Elephant Project USA, Inc.

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Mara Elephant Project USA, Inc.

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Mara Elephant Project USA, Inc.’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$62,185 $82,513 $154,346 $24,497 $455,200
As % of expenses -2.6% 4.2% 6.6% 0.7% 10.9%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$62,185 $82,270 $153,982 $23,866 $454,480
As % of expenses -2.6% 4.2% 6.5% 0.7% 10.8%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $2,326,182 $2,109,043 $2,702,317 $3,524,138 $4,335,690
Total revenue, % change over prior year 122.1% -9.3% 28.1% 30.4% 23.0%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.9%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% -0.6% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 100.0% 99.4% 100.5% 99.8% 99.0%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.6% 0.1% 0.2% 0.1%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $2,369,843 $1,953,637 $2,356,069 $3,333,454 $4,194,326
Total expenses, % change over prior year 136.0% -17.6% 20.6% 41.5% 25.8%
Personnel 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Professional fees 6.9% 7.6% 7.5% 6.8% 18.7%
Occupancy 0.4% 1.1% 0.3% 0.4% 0.0%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 87.7% 86.6% 89.1% 91.8% 79.6%
All other expenses 5.1% 4.7% 3.1% 1.1% 1.6%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $2,369,843 $1,953,880 $2,356,433 $3,334,085 $4,195,046
One month of savings $197,487 $162,803 $196,339 $277,788 $349,527
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $1,819 $0 $1,070 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $2,567,330 $2,118,502 $2,552,772 $3,612,943 $4,544,573

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 0.3 0.9 3.5 3.6 3.3
Months of cash and investments 0.3 0.9 3.5 3.6 3.3
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets -0.2 0.2 1.0 0.8 1.9
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $61,203 $151,088 $690,175 $999,173 $1,138,062
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $500,000 $307,087 $100,000 $0 $118,000
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $0 $1,819 $1,819 $2,889 $2,889
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 0.0% 13.4% 33.4% 4.3% 67.8%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 102.5% 6.4% 1.9% 3.2% 3.3%
Unrestricted net assets -$46,069 $36,201 $190,183 $214,049 $668,529
Temporarily restricted net assets $32,072 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $32,072 $0 $588,213 $754,400 $878,083
Total net assets $13,997 $432,512 $778,396 $968,449 $1,546,612

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors Yes Yes No No No

Operations

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

Documents
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Claire Bolles

Claire joined the Mara Elephant Project USA, Inc. (formerly Sidekick Foundation) in 2016 as a communications consultant to tell the MEP story through an expanded social media presence, an updated website and more focused fundraising efforts. Her journey has carried her into the position of executive director at the Sidekick Foundation, Inc. d/b/a Mara Elephant Project USA. She studied journalism at Purdue University and previously owned her own consulting company that provided marketing and social media management for businesses in Indianapolis, IN. You’ll find her there running the Mara Elephant Project USA office. Email her, [email protected].

C.E.O.

Marc Goss

Marc has worked in the greater Maasai Mara for 10 years, starting as manager for Olchoro Oiroua Conservancy and then Mara North Conservancy. Marc assembled the first Rapid Response Unit for MEP in 2011 and in 2013 started working full-time with MEP. Before Marc moved to the Mara he completed his bachelor’s degree at The Evergreen State College, Washington. During this time Marc started sustainable woodlot cycles and tracked the bongo antelope in Kenya’s Aberdare National Park under the guidance of Richard Leakey. He is also the current Kenya Wildlife Service Honorary Warden for the Maasai Mara.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Mara Elephant Project USA, Inc.

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Compensation
Other
Related
Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Mara Elephant Project USA, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 01/16/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Marc Goss

Claire Bolles

Marc Goss

Jake Wall

Kevin Rodrigues

Erica Dillow

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/16/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

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

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/03/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.

Contractors

Fiscal year ending

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser