Giraffe FAQ

WHO ARE YOU?

The Giraffe Project is a US national nonprofit organization, registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3), headquartered on Whidbey Island, north of Seattle.

WHY GIRAFFES?

Because they work with the motto “Stick your neck out,” because they make people smile and look again, because they’re a great way to sneak up on you with a serious messag

WHAT'S YOUR MISSION?

To move people to stick their necks out for the common good, and to give them tools to succeed. We achieve that by finding and commending real heroes, by creating and delivering Giraffe workshops, books & speeches, curricula & trainings for schools, a free database of heroes around the world, OpEds, blogs, & an e-zine, Heads Up.

An unexpected but delightful fallout of the honoring-heroes 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. Because of their responses, we can say that we are “EnCouraging Today’s Heroes & Training Tomorrow’s.”

HOW'S THE WORK FUNDED?

By private philanthropists, foundation grants, individual donations, and earned income from products and services, which include workshops, and a kindergarten-through-high-school curriculum called The Giraffe Heroes Program. We also pick up a few bucks from “Giraffenalia”—T-shirts, buttons—the usual array of stuff but cool, because there are these red giraffes on everything.

WHAT A QUICK DESCRIPTION OF "GIRAFFE HEROES?"

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. You can read the full criteria here.

HOW MANY GIRAFFE HEROES ARE CHOSEN?

As many as there are among the nominees. 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.