How The Intrepid Foundation is giving back in 2023 – so far

written by Biheng Zhang July 21, 2023
Our team in Vietnam joined Intrepid Foundation partner the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation to clean up the banks of Hanoi’s Red River in March.

The Intrepid Foundation’s half-year update provides a look at how we’re tracking on our mission to create positive impact through the joy of travel, community and connection.  

This year, we’ve set an ambitious goal to raise $2 million, supporting more partners than ever before in our over 20 year history.  

While Intrepid has an over three-decade-long track record pioneering purposeful travel to deepen our impact, this year we’ve brought our corporate strategy and philanthropy closer together than ever.  

In this way, we’re focusing our whole team on support for positive change, and we’ve expanded our own Foundation team to help us get there.  

While we publish a full rundown of our work in our integrated annual report, we felt it was important to share the details of what’s already underway – and achieved! – as we reach the halfway point of the year.  

We’d love to hear your thoughts on what we’ve been up to. Drop us a line to share your feedback.  

Supporting those who need it most in Turkey and Syria  

The most significant moment for The Intrepid Foundation and the broader international giving community this year has been the response to the devastating earthquake in southeastern Turkey and Syria in February. 

Many of us can only imagine the scale of disaster, but our Intrepid community was quick to rally around our emergency appeal, which launched within 24 hours of the first quake.  

In a little over two months, we raised $308,000, including matched donations from Intrepid, for the Australia Red Cross to provide immediate and long-term humanitarian support to victims. This helped local Red Crescent teams to distribute: 

  • Over 16 million hot meals 
  • Over 13 million bottles of clean water 
  • Over 50,000 blankets and 3,000 tents 

Intrepid also donated all profits raised through the sale of trips to Turkey in the first quarter of the year, and as always covered the Foundation’s administrative costs, ensuring 100 per cent of donations went directly where they were needed most.   

27 new ways we’re creating impact  

We’ve also welcomed 27 new partners spanning every continent and more than 20 countries. They support work in a range of areas, including conservation and wildlife, gender equality, human rights, youth empowerment, climate action and economic development.   

What’s special about this new cohort is that our local teams on the ground helped us to select them. Intrepid’s greatest asset is our people and with over 25 operations offices across six continents, we are in the fortunate position to tap into the knowledge of our local staff who know best what societal and environmental issues affect their communities. 

Many of these are small, lesser-known charities which would not otherwise receive international attention or support. They include a woman’s shelter for refugees and migrants in Greece (Amurtel), technical skills providers for Indigenous artisan weavers in rural Andean communities in Peru (Awamaki) and life-saving veterinarians caring for injured mountain and Grauer gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda (Gorilla Doctors).  

And for the first time, we’ve paired all our partners to specific Intrepid trips. This means that our global travelling community is guaranteed to either visit or learn about our partners’ inspiring work every time they travel with us. Intrepid has also committed to making a $5 donation to the Intrepid Foundation on behalf of every customer.  

Intrepid CEO, James Thornton, meeting new TIF partner Cooperativa Coraggio in Italy

Growing our team and increasing our impact  

All of this would not have been possible without the support of our growing team, which has almost doubled in just one year and includes a newly appointed fundraising lead.  

We’ve also been buoyed by the ‘all hands-on deck’ approach of our broader Intrepid team, who have dived at any opportunity to support Foundation projects, including through their own fundraising! This is a true reflection of the purpose-driven mindset across our business.  

Looking ahead 

We’ve built momentum so far, but with six months of the year still to go, I know we can achieve even more. Coming up, I’m excited for our annual flagship fundraising event, the Blue Dragon Marathon Walk, and we will be co-hosting a crowdfunding event with The Funding Network and Australian International Development Network taking place in our Melbourne HQ.  

Together with our travellers’ support, we can continue to change the way people see the world and have a positive impact where it’s needed most. Sounds like a winning combination to me.  

Our full 2023 integrated annual report will be published in March 2024. Learn more about The Intrepid Foundation and find out how you can get involved at

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