Here’s why The Intrepid Foundation just gave away $60,000

written by Danielle McDonald November 9, 2023
a man cutting silks with scissors for a craft he is creating

The Intrepid team has voted; the results are in. The Black Mambas and Vun Art are the recipients of The Intrepid Foundation’s first-ever Innovation Grants worth $30,000 each. 

Our entire global team got involved in The Intrepid Foundation’s latest initiative to help power some of their partners’ big ideas and create even more positive impact in their communities.  

The assignment was straightforward: 40+ Intrepid offices around the globe were asked to nominate local Intrepid Foundation partners to receive the grants and our entire global team voted for the two recipients. 

In early September, nominations began to roll in from around the world. From Italy to Mexico, there were seemingly countless pitches from Intrepid offices worldwide, paired with seemingly countless reasons why every one of our Intrepid Foundation partners was so deserving of this helping hand. 

Intrepid Foundation partner, Awamaki, teaches women in remote Peru how to start and run their own businesses. 

Fernando Rodriguez, Intrepid country manager of Peru, told us why Awamaki and their work empowering women artisans in Quechua communities should take home one of the $30,000 grants. Mike Stewart, Intrepid country manager of Thailand and Laos, explained what EcoThailand – helping local people better understand how to protect the environment – could do with a bonus of $30,000 of funding.  

But ultimately, there could only be two Innovation Grant winners. With an impressive list of nominations, the Intrepid Foundation team short-listed nine Intrepid Foundation partners, and our global team went to a vote. 

Many from our Melbourne office team watched the nine shortlisted nomination videos together.

We were encouraged to vote on the following  criteria:  

  • Innovation: The creative idea or initiative that our Intrepid Foundation partner could use these funds towards.  
  • Implementation: How their initiative would be delivered. 
  • Impact: How they’ll help to create even more positive change within their community. 

It was a tough call and one we didn’t take lightly. The polls opened to our entire global team, after much deliberation – which included a viewing party in the Melbourne office where the team sat down to watch nomination videos.

Intrepid Foundation partner, The Black Mambas, are on patrol 24/7 to protect the wildlife in their area.

One of the two $30,000 Innovation Grants was awarded to The Black Mambas, the world’s first all-female anti-poaching unit that patrols 20,000 hectares of nature reserve near Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Clinton Els, Intrepid general manager of Southern Africa explained in his nomination video how ‘The Mambas have achieved phenomenal success with really limited resources but they need to become more independent and self managed and they need to grow.’ 

This grant will help them to do just that. It will allow them to grow their operations by updating the technology in their ops room. This will allow the team to analyse threats better and invest in solar power to keep their team online at all times (combatting regular power outages in the region).  

Intrepid Foundation partner, Vun Art, provide skills training for local people which helps preserve traditional art practices.

The second Innovation Grant was awarded to Vun Art, who empowers people with disabilities in Vietnam by providing employment opportunities and skills training in traditional textile art.

During his nomiation video for the team, Tan Ngo, Intrepid operations manager for Vietnam proudly said ‘VunArt are doing good and doing it for good,’ urging our votes.

Vun Art will use the additional funds to open a bubble milk tea shop in the silk village in Vietnam, where Vun Art is located. This shop will provide more job opportunities for local people while continuing to challenge the negative stereotypes that people with disabilities face.  

Intrepid makes a donation to The Intrepid Foundation on behalf of every traveller on multi-day Intrepid trips. Plus, they cover all of the admin costs so that 100% of donations go where they’re needed most. Find out how you can help and discover all 40+ partners via The Intrepid Foundation 

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