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From Cocktail Conversation To Kenya Conservation

Topics: Clean & Green | Add A CommentBy admin | May 18, 2010

Lori Bergemann made the leap from food service to conservation work ten years ago. It’s probably time she started drawing a salary. Help make it happen as Amara Conservation begins its tenth year.


This woman has run a non-profit
for ten years without taking a salary.
Let’s try to change that.

The woman pictured at left – Lori Bergemann, of Amara Conservation – is an American who lives in Kenya devoting her life to educating rural Kenyans about how conservation of their wildlife and resources is one of the most powerful keys to a better future for themselves. That alone would be kind of interesting. But what’s even more interesting to me is that just ten years ago, she was a bartender at a fine dining restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Back then she had a dream – but no concise plan – for doing something to help animals. Today, she lives in Kenya, committing all of her time to the education and conservation work that is the core of what Amara does. Lori also happens to be an old friend of mine. We have definitely had our ups and downs. Like all humans, she has some personal flaws, and she’s quite a character in some ways, as am I. But she remains an inspiration to me. Not because I want to be like her, but because she’s proof of a belief that I hold dear, which is that ANY of us can do ANYTHING if we keep our heart open and work hard for it. All of which makes it kind of exciting for me that it’s been more than ten years since Lori served me a drink, and that now I find myself serving her, by supporting her dream in any way I can. Part of that means asking YOU to support what she does. I’ve been a supporter of Amara since its inception; I started my own business about two years before Lori launched Amara, and provided almost all of her original media services and “brand” in one way or another. Her organization has outlasted mine by a couple of years though, and I’m impressed (as I think YOU should be) that Amara still adheres to a steadfast belief in directing donated funds as directly as possible to projects they’re involved in. Their overhead is lower than any NGO that I’m aware of, and one reason for that borders on the absurd: Lori has not taken a salary in the entire ten years of Amara’s existence. If that sounds as crazy to you as it does to me, be a part of changing that. Who knows what she’ll pull off if she could earn a living from what she does. If you want to help, one of the simplest ways is to simply make a donation on their site. If you are anywhere near southeastern Michigan in the next couple of weeks though, consider getting out for one of the fundraising events that are kicking off their tenth year of operation. I’ll be at both, and would be delighted to see you there!