Ellen DeGeneres and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International has been one of Thanksgiving Coffee’s longest partnerships, and we’ve had the pleasure of donating over $40,000, with the help of our customers and wholesale partners.

The DFGFI has been working tirelessly for fifty years to continue the legacy of Dian Fossey, in protecting the magnificent mountain gorillas of Africa. First in Rwanda, and now expanding into the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International has changed the way the world thinks about gorillas, and has preserved and documented five decades of gorillas in the mountains of the Virungas.

Now, they are going to be able to do even more, with the extraordinary donation from Portia De Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres. On January 26, Ellen’s 60th birthday, Portia gave Ellen the gift of furthering Dian Fossey’s legacy and joining the DFGFI by establishing a permanent research center in Rwanda.

Ellen and Portia for Dian Fossey

You can see the video on YouTube, of Portia surprising Ellen on her show with this spectacular gift.

This is a huge step forward for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, allowing them to expand their research in this specially-designed facility. President and CEO Tara Stoinski, Ph.D. said this about the gift:

“It’s impossible to overstate what this remarkable news means for the protection of these magnificent animals. We have continued Dian’s legacy for 50 years, and this new campus will serve as a brilliant focal point for our efforts to protect wild gorillas over the next decades.”

Dian Fossey in Rwanda

We are so excited to be able to watch as this new partnership grows and matures. Portia De Rossi also set up a Wildlife Fund in Ellen’s name: the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund. This fund will begin by supporting the Karisoke research facility, and will continue to take on projects for other wildlife preservation causes in the future.

Thanksgiving Coffee wants to give a huge thank you to Ellen and Portia for this amazing donation to the future of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas.


About the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

The DFGFI was established in 1967 by Dian Fossey. She set up a research facility in the country of Rwanda, dedicated to the preservation and documentation of the mountain gorillas living in the Virunga wilderness. After her death in 1985, the organization continued her work in monitoring and protecting the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, and later the Grauer’s gorillas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Thanksgiving Coffee and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International partnered in early 2004 to create the Gorilla Fund Cause Coffee, using Fairtrade Rwandan coffee. In 2017, we launched our Grauer’s Gorilla Coffee, using Organic and Fairtrade coffee grown in the Congo. Through the fourteen years we’ve worked with the DFGFI, we’ve raised over $40,000 to support these gorillas.

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