1 September 2012 - Santa Monica, CA - In an effort to support one of its most successful education programs, the Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) initiated a 77-day crowd source funding campaign today to support six scholarships. The Orangutan Caring Scholarship is a collaborative program between OURF and two Indonesian organizations in Sumatra and Borneo. Since its inception in 2006, 47 multi-year awards for tuition support have been given to deserving undergraduate students in the schools of biology, forestry and veterinary science. OURF raises the funds and the Orangutan Information Center in Sumatra and the Palung Foundation in Borneo administers the program locally. Each scholarship provides the students four years of tuition and research write up support. 

OURF has traditionally obtained funding support from organizations such as The Australian Orangutan Project, Orangutan Outreach, Animal Health Foundation and other public and private foundations. OURF will continue to appeal to such organzations but the current campaign is utilizing a crowd source funding platform called indiegogo.com that allows for a wide range of participation options. Such crowd sourcing is not new. Kickstarter is another example of a social funding website that has been supporting primarily artistic projects for years. With such funding platforms, donors participate at a comfortable level and receive a small benefit for their participation if the project obtains the pledges that meet or exceed the target goal. They improve their chances of success by letting others know in their network of friends and contacts about the project.

OURF President Dr. Gary Shapiro was inspired to launch the campaign in order to expand the sources of support for a program he would like to see expand. Shapiro stated, "Giving donors of all economic levels an avenue of involvement to make a difference in the academic lives of others will benefit orangutans and families. It is an investment in long term sustainability. We need to magnify our impact by providing more scholarships".

OURF hopes to provide at least as many scholarships in 2013 as what they provided for 2012. Students in Sumatra and Borneo received fourteen Orangutan Caring Scholarships in 2012. That Shapiro mentioned, "depends on our success in raising the funds needed to support the four-year scholarships- about $1500 each." 

For more information about the campaign, visit http://www.indiegogo.com/orangutan-caring-scholarship


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