Our Vision – To lead collective funding to solve the world’s critical conservation projects.
Most of us are aware of the increasing conservation issues facing our planet and, at least in the western world, many people would happily give $1/month if they really thought it would make any difference.
The problem is that everyone feels powerless: “What difference do I make?” is a common question. Guilt-tripped by heart-wrenching campaigns, we may donate to a few of the countless charities – although usually it’s more to fulfill an ethical obligation than because we really expect to see change.
Regrettably, this fragmented approach means individual charities rarely raise enough to actually fulfill their objectives. On the rare occasion they do, good news is bad for donations, so they typically just focus on the next depressing tragedy.
Pondering this back in 2009, Chris Bray realised that this traditional approach is not only discouraging but also ineffective, and only compounds everyone’s feeling of helplessness. Instead, what he felt the world needed was a positive organisation, uniting everyone. Some kind of over-arching charity, able to gather vast amounts of even the most trivial donations worldwide, which together would wield serious funding – enough to start fully-funding projects and getting things done.
The first of its kind, Conservation United was founded in 2014, with a vision to lead collective funding to solve the world’s critical conservation projects.
After negotiating a revolutionary breakthrough partnership with Bank Australia – who not only agreed to slash their percentage-cut of any online credit card donation from 3% down to just 0.5%, but also astonishingly waive the usual 30c ‘per transaction fee’ entirely – Conservation United is now uniquely poised to accept contributions of even less than $1, yet still have 99.5% of that donation reach us.
Better yet, through a unique and efficient business model including gathering bank interest earned on donations as they are collected, Conservation United’s own expenses are financed independently, allowing 100% of donations reaching us to be passed on to those critical conservation projects put forward by our round table of Conservation Partners!
Affordable and simple enough to hopefully create a positive social movement of participation, the inspiring, feel-good success from each completed project will be communicated back, finally empowering everyone with the realisation that actually “Yes, we can make a difference!”
Chris Bray (Director, Founder, CEO)
I grew up sailing around the world and then leading world-first cart-hauling expeditions across the arctic before becoming an award-winning Australian Geographic photographer, Lowepro ambassador and Canon’s Australian ambassador for five years. Chris’s work has appeared in National Geographic (along with Australian and Canadian Geographic) as well as TIME Magazine and Discovery Channel. He’s written a successful book ‘The 1000 Hour Day’ (now an award-winning documentary ‘The Crossing’), sits on the advisory committee for The Australian Geographic Society and is also founder and CEO of Conservation United, crowd-funding the world’s critical conservation projects. Besides running 1-day photography courses and photo safaris to the world’s most wonderful places, Chris and his wife Jess recently became the first people to sail a junk-rig boat through the Northwest Passage over the arctic.
Jess Bray (Director)
Jess Bray has a bachelor degree in Social Science and is an experienced wilderness guide, photographer & videographer, widely published in the likes of Australian Geographic Outdoor, in-flight and wedding magazines. Jess is Operations Manager for Chris Bray Photography, organising and running photography safaris to many of the world’s most spectacular places, often seeking out rare and endangered species in their natural habitat. All this, combined with cycling around Tasmania and New Zealand with her husband Chris and becoming the youngest couple to sail through the infamous Northwest Passage in the arctic on their small wooden yacht ‘Teleport’, Jess has experienced first hand the fragility of many of these remote environments and has developed a keen passion for these wild places and the wildlife within them.
Rebecca Baker (Director, Co-ordinator)Rebecca Baker has a degree in Journalism and began her career running Australian Geographic’s not-for-profit arm; the Australian Geographic Society. This meant getting her hands dirty managing scientific expeditions to the remote East Kimberley, facilitating sponsorships and running national fundraising campaigns for endangered animals. Whilst at the AG Society Rebecca also published children’s books for AG Education, and spent time trekking, writing and photographing for AG Outdoor magazine. Rebecca grew up in rural NSW and from her very first butterfly catcher to studying endemic species of the Kimberley, Rebecca is passionate about protecting the natural world and it’s wildlife and has spent her life trying to get as close as possible to these remote and special places.
Trish Kelly (Director, Company Secretary)Trish Kelly has a Bachelor Degree in Veterinary Science and currently works in the business world with her family group of companies. Her earliest memories are of her passion for all animals and their welfare. From triaging insects in the family pool as a small child to caring for injured wildlife, her love for all creatures has been instrumental in her purchase of properties in Australia containing remnant vegetation in order to protect the fragile ecosystems from further development through legally binding Conservation Covenants. Her passion has taken her to many countries to witness and photograph first hand the thoughtless and often illegal destruction of pristine wilderness. It is her lifelong dream to be able to help solve some of the world’s most critical conservation issues.
Amy Russell (Director)Amy Russell has worked as a journalist and storyteller for almost 10 years, and is currently Australian Geographic magazine’s Chief Sub-editor. During the past decade, she’s travelled to many wonderful, far-flung places to report on a wide variety of subjects – from ancient flowering plants and Greenpeace’s campaign ship, the Rainbow Warrior, to the revival of ‘lost trades’ and the idea of ‘slow travel’ according to a cameleer who spends much of his time walking across Australia’s arid interior. These experiences have fostered an appreciation for the environment and endemic wildlife; Amy has seen first-hand the value of native species within their ecosystems and how important it is that they are protected.