If you're writing a news story, a book or an article—if you're a producer, an editor or a program director — welcome. The Giraffe Heroes Project has been working with the press since the ‘80s, placing Giraffe stories (and calling ourselves Free Flacks for Heroes, since we don’t charge Giraffes for our work. The Project is an international nonprofit organization, registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3), incorporated in New York, with a staff of six in offices on an island north of Seattle and eight affiliates overseas
To spread Giraffe heroes’ stories as a way of inspiring more people to become active citizens, thereby fostering the health of our democracy. We believe that—
“Nothing is so contagious as an example. We never do great good or great evil without bringing about more of the same on the part of others.” —La Rochefoucauld
A delightful fallout of the process is finding how inspired the Giraffes themselves often are, telling us that being acknowledged has given them the boost they need to keep going.
People who stick their necks out for the common good. They’re young and old, near and far, rich and poor, and every skin color there is. And they’re working to help solve every problem under the sun, from poverty, corruption and gang violence, to environmental threats and crimes against women.
Giraffes tend to be involved in long-term efforts they’ve initiated. We send the stories of in-the-moment physical heroism to the Carnegie Heroes Commission, which specializes in such stories.
The “sticking their necks out” factor means there’s an ongoing edge to what Giraffes do. People who are fulfilling their job descriptions or people who selflessly volunteer at the local foodbank don’t make it through the Giraffe choosing process—Giraffe Heroes have got to face some level of risk; it doesn't have to be physical, but it does have to be a risk. People who are just famous, talented or gorgeous don’t make the cut either.
A volunteer jury of friends of the Project that meets three times a year.
As many as meet the Criteria of Giraffedom. If all the nominees qualify, all are commended; if none do, none are chosen. There are no quotas involved and each nominee is considered in relation to the criteria, not to each other. This is not a competition—there are no bigger or best Giraffes. You just are one or you aren’t.
Somewhere around 1,400 and counting. Because commendations have gone to groups, naming each member a Giraffe, we can’t give you a precise head count. Some Giraffes have died since being commended and every once in a while we lose touch with one, so our active files are fewer than the number of commendations that have gone out.