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  • WELCOME

This nonprofit honors compassionate risk-takers, people who are largely unknown, people who have the courage to stick their necks out for the common good, in the US and around the world.

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If you want to know more, see About Us.

The Giraffe Heroes Project is an Accredited Charity of the Better Business Bureau.

The Project meets all 20 of the BBB's strict Standards for Charity Accountability.

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Recent Facebook Highlights

"I DO THIS FOR THE RIVER" #StickYourNeckOut #GiraffeHeroes Ray Proffitt is known to some people as “the river vigilante,” a man worth his weight in gold. To others, he’s a royal pain in the profit margin. A former test pilot and stockbroker, Proffitt has appointed himself protector of the Delaware River and its tributaries. His eyes are alert for any sign of trouble—the appearance of asphalt and concrete dumps in a marshland, untreated sewage outfall from a town, a new drain pipe pouring out industrial waste. He traces the pollution to the source and confronts the offender with his log notes and photographs. If they don’t cease and desist and clean up the mess they’ve made, Proffitt takes them to court under the Clean Water Act. Proffitt has sued land developers, corporations, and towns. He’s taken the EPA administrator and the U.S. Attorney General to court, charging them with failure to enforce environmental regulations. No attorney was willing to represent him against the nation’s chief attorney, so Proffitt filed suit himself. “I don’t do this for money,” he says. “I do this for the river.” UPDATE: Proffitt went right on guarding the river until his death, a man with a cause he'd lived for every vigilant day.

TELLING THE WORLD ABOUT A BRAZILIAN SUCCESS #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut [The #rio2016 Olympics are approaching, so we're featuring our favorite Giraffe Heroes in BRAZIL. Enjoy!] You might not expect a US venture capitalist like Matt Mochary to visit a Brazilian favela—slum—and get excited about Afro-reggae music as an antidote for the drug trade and gang violence. But it happened. Mochary encountered the story when he visited Rio de Janeiro’s most feared slum with a drug-trafficker-turned-social-revolutionary. When he saw that this was a community successfully using music against crime, Mochary called in a friend from film school as a director and began pulling together the financial support to tell this story. Mochary and his team had to get permission from the local police and from some of Brazil’s top drug lords. Once, the cameraman turned his equipment in the wrong direction and was slammed against a wall gun to his head; many times masked policemen with machine guns would pull the team over and demand to see what had just been filmed in case the footage in some way incriminated local law enforcement. The resulting film not only won awards, it also changed hearts and minds in a Los Angeles favela—Watts—when Mochary showed it there. “We’d been told not to expect much,” Mochary said of the Watts screening. “We’d been told people in that community wouldn’t be interested in seeing a subtitled documentary. But they connected. After the screening, I was sitting between two kids from rival gangs who had agreed to a truce for the night to see the film. The film caused them to hold the truce, so they could sit within a few feet of each other and talk and maybe realize they’re more alike than different.” Mochary added that, for him, this is the film’s real venue: the favelas of the world. Making sure that Favela Rising is seen by the people whose lives it might change is his ongoing mission. Under the auspices of the Mochary Foundation, which now provides practical education for youth in severely under-served communities, Matt Mochary also runs programs for formerly incarcerated young adults and for academically precocious youth from the poorest neighborhoods in New York City. You can follow his work at www.mochary.org, and here on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/matt.mochary Like this Giraffe? LIKE this PAGE! Giraffes should have 100 thousand Likes.

[The #rio2016 Olympics are approaching, so we are featuring our favorite Giraffe Heroes from BRAZIL. Enjoy!] A GIRAFFE ON THE WAY TO SAINTHOOD #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut Sister Irma Dulce Pontes of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, left her life in a privileged family to become a nun and serve the poor. Pontes was physically disabled and extremely shy, but labored consistently to gain support from around the world for her hospital, orphanage, and her educational and professional programs. She began caring for homeless youth by finding abandoned houses. When there were 70 children, she tried housing them in an old fish market, but couldn't get permission from the City. Then she consulted her Mother Superior and asked to use the convent's chicken yard as an improvised hostel. The Mother Superior acceded to her request, and Sister Dulce's work began in earnest. In time, the chicken yard became a building, the building became a hostel, the hostel became a hospital and then an orphanage. Sister Dulce talked to everyone she could in order to secure funds and other support for the poor people who were her patients. At one point, she stopped a presidential motorcade by blocking the street--holding hands with a line of children--until the president agreed to meet with her; he did and became a strong supporter. Like this Giraffe? LIKE this Page. Giraffes should have 100 thousand Likes. And Share! Your friends need to know there are real heroes among us.

FIGHTING FOR BRAZIL'S INDIGENOUS PEOPLE #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut Gilberto Macuxi is in the middle of a fight that's gone on in Brazil for decades. He represents the people—the tribes—who have lived in Roraima, a region in what is now northern Brazil for centuries, fighting for their rights to minerals, agricultural products, water, and land. He founded the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Roraima (AIPR), an organization that now has 90,000 members. He walks across the region to visit many of those people, and he also flies across the world to lobby foreign powers for support and to forge alliances with indigenous peoples in other lands. The problem is that in Brazil, natives have no legal standing; they are considered wards of the State and have no rights. Because of that, and because of the fortunes to be made from acquiring mineral rights in Roraima, Macuxi’s work is extremely risky. He has been shot, stabbed, and beaten, and his wife and children have been abducted and beaten. On the lobbying front, Macuxi paid a visit to U.S. Senators with the goal of bringing pressure on Brazilian parliamentarians when they were writing the definition of “Indian” into the Brazilian constitution. On the alliance front, Macuxi traveled to northwestern Washington and met with leaders of the Yakimas, Lummis, Squatin, and other tribes to raise awareness of the tragedies unfolding in the Amazon. Despite all attempts to silence him, neither he nor his family has submitted. Macuxi remains dedicated to the cultural, physical, and economic health of his people. Like this Giraffe? Yes, LIKE the post but LIKE the Page too! Giraffes should have 100 thousand Likes.

[The #rio2016 Olympics are approaching, so we are featuring our favorite Giraffe Heroes from Brazil. Enjoy!] STANDING TALL FOR HIS PEOPLE #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut The people who live in Roraima, a region in northern Brazil, have not had an easy time of it. Because of its rich mineral reserves, the region has been claimed over the years by the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the English. It became a Brazilian state in 1988. But that doesn’t mean that the fighting stopped. Gilberto Macuxi is in the middle of that fighting. He represents the people—the tribes—who have lived in that land for centuries, and he fights for their rights, including rights to minerals, agricultural products, water, and land. He founded the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Roraima (AIPR), an organization that now has 90,000 members. He walks across the countryside to visit many of those people, and he also flies throughout the world to lobby foreign powers for support and to forge alliances with indigenous peoples in other lands. Despite all attempts to silence him, neither he nor his family has submitted. Macuxi remains dedicated to the cultural, physical, and economic health of his people. Like this Giraffe? LIKE this Page. Giraffes should have 100 thousand Likes. And Share! Your friends need to know there are real heroes among us.

#GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut Before he retired, Duke Oxford was a teacher, coach, US Army sports coordinator, and the athletic director at Harvard University. He’s selling artificial turf now, when he’s got time from the work that has taken over so much of the energy and cash that he and wife Toni Oxford have— getting wholesome food to hungry people in South Charlotte NC. It all started at a party in 2001, when the Oxfords decided to use the old TV show “Alice” as the theme for a holiday party. They hung a huge “Mel’s Diner” banner in front of their house, made a menu board, and decorated the rooms with lines from the show like, “Kiss My Grits!” The party sparked an idea for the couple: What if they fed people who were really hungry? Everyone signed on, and within a month a new Mel’s Diner was in business: delivering food to the needy. In the beginning they worked primarily with the Sisters of Charity, a group of nuns who would accompany them on their rounds, pointing out the houses where people really needed food. “The sisters took us into homes where people had nothing,” Duke said. “No furniture. No food in the refrigerator.” They’ve been warned that it’s not safe for outsiders to go into low-income neighborhoods, but the main risk the Oxfords have incurred is financial. They’ve come close to losing their home, but they continue to expand the reach of Mel’s Diner. Mel’s Diner soon had 30 to 40 volunteers, a delivery truck, and three refrigerators in the Oxfords’ garage. There are deliveries about five days a week. The stops include a low-income retirement home, a soup kitchen, a women’s shelter, Youth and Family Services, some small churches and a spot next to Interstate 77 where the homeless gather. The final stop on Saturdays is at a low-income apartment complex where they put up a table and set out food potluck-supper style. Dozens of residents come outside to help themselves to this impromptu buffet. The menu at Mel’s Diner changes daily, usually running to rib-sticking casseroles, sandwiches, fruit, cakes, and cookies. “We don’t deliver just bread to anybody,” Duke has said. “Sweets are key, especially for the kids. We like them to have a little something extra.” Much of the food is donated by individuals and by restaurants and markets. “The food is all still good,” Toni said. “It just has to be used quickly.” Students from the local Montessori School have joined the volunteers. Mel’s Diner became a school-wide project for the school, giving the kids a way to learn about nutrition, measurement, chemical reactions, cultural influences, and gardening. “There are people who say we shouldn’t give food to the homeless,” Duke has said. “They say, ‘You just perpetuate it.’ We don’t perpetuate anything. These people are hungry. We all get hungry, every day.” Duke and Toni Oxford are determined to make sure fewer people are hungry in South Charlotte, North Carolina. You can follow their work at http://www.mels-diner.com. Like these Giraffes? OK, Like this post. But also LIKE this Page! Giraffes should have 100 thousand Likes. And do Share with friends. Everyone needs to know there are heroes among us.

[The #rio2016 Olympics are approaching, so we are featuring our favorite Giraffe Heroes from Brazil. Enjoy!] DANCING INTO A NATION'S HEART #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut Dora Andrade teaches poor kids in Fortaleza, Brazil to dance—with their bodies and with their hearts and minds. She sold her jewelry and used the cash to create EDISCA (School for Dance and Social Integration for Children and Adolescents), where she not only teaches dance and self respect, but provides access to meals, medical exams, dental care and computer training. In many societies, including Brazil’s, formal ballet training is for the children of the middle class and the wealthy. Some Brazilians were appalled by the idea of barrio kids performing ballet in theatres, even telling Andrade that her “poor little creatures” would get nice theaters dirty or break things there. The doubters certainly weren’t interested in attending a performance. Now, Andrade’s dancers are so renowned they play to sold-out audiences and are favorites of the nation’s press. Their prominence helps them bring national attention to the plight of the poor, and their work with Andrade brings the kids not only dance training but also meals, medical exams, dental care, vaccinations, computer training, etiquette lessons, confidence in their own abilities and hope for bettering their lives. EDISCA’s kids get such great care that wealthy families have tried to fake poverty go get their kids in! Like this Giraffe? LIKE this Page. Giraffes should have 100 thousand Likes. And Share! Your friends need to know there are real heroes among us.

Love What Matters - Animals

"Baby giraffe loves to smile! Born on July 10th 2016 at Touroparc Zoo (Macon, France)" :) :) Photo courtesy of callilol via reddit

#GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut Well, sometimes there's such a funny photo of a small-g giraffe (We call our human heroes capital-G Giraffes), we just have to post it. This baby was born a few days ago in France. Bienvenue au monde, petit cherie.

More Giraffe Heroes

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This is Sister Megan Rice, a nun for most of her 80+ years and a peace activist since the 1980s. She had been arrested more than three dozen times and had done time twice when she and two other peace activists performed what was called the most serious security breach in the history of US...

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Andy Hall, a Brit, works for Finnwatch, a world-wide nonprofit that spots human abuses around the world and works to stop them. When Hall called out Thailand's National Fruit Company for the way it treats its workers, he asked to work...

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This is Catherine Hamlin MD, who left her home in Australia in 1959 to provide gynecological care to poor women in Ethiopia. At 90, she's still doing that, focusing on one of the most distressing medical/social issues imaginable: obstetric fistulas.

This is an injury that women can...

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This is Hanna Hopko. She braved snipers' bullets in Kiev during a citizens' uprising that brought down a corrupt government there. Now she's leading a rapidly growing citizens' movement that's doing more than rising up and demanding...

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Imagine you're 11 years old and your body is twisting from scoliosis, causing you constant physical pain and making you look very different from other kids. You're scheduled for surgery to straighten your spine and your mom takes a "before" picture so you'll have a history of how you once...

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Bob Bajek, a reporter on a small-town newspaper in Illinois, came up with a Big Story: the town's recreational lake, where residents fished, swam, and boated, was highly toxic--a now defunct military base had dumped Agent Orange in the water....

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There were no protections for whistle-blowers in South Africa when businesswoman Wendy Addison reported her own corporate bosses for breaking the law. She was fired, got death threats, and was blacklisted, even in England, where she took her...

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This is veteran environmental activist, Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez. He's 12. And he's been working to save his beloved Colorado for half of his life. It started when he saw that the forest near his home was changing. Trees were dying, plants...

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Allan Adam is Chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan nation, whose lands lie within Alberta, Canada. These First Nation people have formal treaty rights that protect their lands from being taken or used by outsiders, but that treaty has been...

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Sangduen Chailert, known as "Lek," puts in 18-hour days caring for sick and injured elephants in a protected reserve she co-founded, the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand.

The dwindling elephant population is a world-wide...

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Nobis Est - It's Up To Us

Meet people who stick their necks out for the common good, all of them commended by the Giraffe Heroes Project, the nonprofit that's "EnCouraging today's heroes - training tomorrow's." Check out http://www.giraffe.org for more stories, and for a way to honor your own hero.

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