A handful of years ago, I was hit smack in the face with a news story. It changed the course of my business. I’m going to tell you that story below. But more importantly, I’m going to tell you how partnering with leading conservation organizations was the key to creating impact in my business for good.
There are so many ways for photographers and entrepreneurs to tie charitable giving into their business model. My hope is that my story might inspire you to find more ways to give back to the causes you are most passionate about.
In 2016, I had been photographing weddings for nearly a decade. I was busy catching layovers between JFK and Lake Como. I was building a luxury brand and working like crazy to be the best photographer possible. Trying to extend my reach and arrive at the elusive land of “success.”
One April morning, while doing my daily scan of online news, I was greeted with an image of a northern white rhino named Sudan. His picture covered the homepage of CNN.com, and in it, he was surrounded by armed guards. The article that accompanied it explained that he was the last male northern white rhino in the world. And therefore, he needed to be protected 24 hours a day.
At that moment, I realized that the issues of extinction, conservation and the sustainability of our planet weren’t waiting for me to be “successful.”
They were happening here and now. And so that’s when action was needed.
In that moment I thought about running off to Africa and dedicating all of my time to saving animals. But at the end of the day, I would only have the effect of one person.
So instead, I thought about how I could have the most impact. And how I could leverage the skills, connections and the resources I had.
I created Render Loyalty, an online gallery of fine art prints, to partner with the world’s leaders in conservation and multiply my impact. These are organizations with ‘boots on the ground.’ They’re the experts at what they do. And because of that, they could put my solitary contribution to much more significant effect. I aimed to not only create a way to generate vital financial support for them, but to create awareness and connection. I wanted to bring their mission to people around the world.
Today, I’m proud to be partnered with three incredible organizations through Render Loyalty. Together, we have created fine art, photographic print series featuring the wildlife they protect.
20% of each print sold is directly donated to that print series’ organization.
By combining my art, with their mission, we expand the reach of awareness, philanthropy and impact on these animals and the planet. We’ve created a business for good.
Here are their stories:
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is one of the leading elephant conservation organizations. They have successfully raised 263 orphan elephants through their rescue and rehabilitation programs.
My SWT fine art print series features some of the orphan elephants that started in the Nairobi Nursery at just three years old or younger. Because of the care and recovery provided by the Nursery’s keepers, most of the elephants graduate into their reintegration units.
When you purchase a print from the SWT Series, 20% of the sale is directly donated to the Sheldrick Trust and this life-saving work that they perform.
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya is an award-winning model for community conservation. They are home to 11% of Kenya’s rhinos. Lewa also holds the world’s single largest resident population of the endangered Grevy’s zebra.
Both of these species, along with others that thrive on the conservancy, are featured in the Lewa Series of fine art prints. Over 70 other mammal species, including elephant, lion, giraffe, leopard, cheetah and buffalo, as well as an estimated 50,000 people, directly benefit from Lewa’s conservation and development programs.
20% of all print sales from the Lewa Series are directly donated to this UNESCO World Heritage Site and their incomparable work.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy spans over 90,000 acres in central Kenya. They are the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa and home to the only two remaining northern white rhinos on the planet, Najin and Fatu.
Under the watchful eye of a dedicated, 24-hour security team, these last survivors are kept safe from the savagery of the poachers responsible for decimating their species.
My Ol Pejeta fine art print series features Najin and Fatu, the closely bonded mother and daughter pair. The future of their species now depends on scientists, as they race against the clock to save the northern white rhino through in vitro fertilization and stem cell technology.
A rhino named Sudan was Najin’s father and Fatu’s grandfather. He was the last male northern white rhino on earth. Before his passion in 2018, he was guarded 24/7 by the keepers. It was a CNN news story of his plight that first ignited my journey to create Render Loyalty.
20% of sales of these prints are directly donated to Ol Pejeta and their protection of Najin and Fatu.
What happened on that spring day in 2016 led me to the charitable partners I work with now. These organizations have allowed me to integrate giving into my creative business because of their outstanding work and the partnerships we’ve created.
Inside my signature course for photographers, The Abundance Plan, I support my students in finding creative ways to integrate the issues and causes they care about into their business models.
Just this week, we are hosting a “Passion Project Week.” The students are digging deeper into creating a ‘business for good’ that gives back to their communities and the world at large.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to do that yourself, join the Waitlist for The Abundance Plan here.
I also love to give back to animals in my local community by fostering.
've spent the past decade capturing love and chasing beauty across the globe, and I believe every story like yours is different and special, and deserves to be told exceptionally.
Drawing on years of experience in the fashion and editorial photography industry, my photographs are graceful, honest and boldly natural, while completely intentional. Whether it’s the opportunity to narrate the retelling of once-in-a-lifetime wedding days, or the ability to communicate issues of global importance, or all the stories in between, I look at photography as the method by which I get to leave the world a little better than I found it.
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