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About Wild Africa Foundation

Who We Are

In 2018, three women in the United States developed a friendship while independently campaigning to save a rhino in South Africa from perishing in a trophy hunt. Realizing they could make more impact together than separately, Wild Africa Foundation was born. Wild Africa Foundation dedicates itself to supporting grassroots conservation and anti-poaching efforts with an understanding that changing the established patterns of wildlife genocide must occur from the ground up, beginning with the children in the communities our funded projects serve.


Our Mission

Wild Africa Foundation's mission is fourfold:

  • Enhance public awareness of the general state of and specific threats to African wildlife.
  • Raise funds to provide financial support for targeted programs that preserve and protect wildlife while promoting community welfare and engagement.
  • Target support to established groups within Southern Africa that have demonstrated success on the ground and have an adequate base of local support.
  • Operate a financially sound and accountable organization with minimal administrative costs.

Our Values

  • We insist upon transparency, measurability, and accountability for both WAF and recipients of funding.
  • We support locally-designed programs qualified in advance with agreed measurable outcomes and oversight.
  • We understand the necessity of community involvement and believe in the importance of strong local connections.
  • We focus on incremental success.

Meet the Team

Shannon Marnell - Director

From a young age, Shannon has been drawn to nature and wildlife. She was glued to wildlife documentary shows as a child; even now, National Geographic and Animal Planet remain her favorite channels.

Shannon spent twenty-four years working for a private biotechnology company in New Jersey. While the job gave her the privilege to travel the globe, her one desire was to travel to Africa. Passionate about cultural diversity and wildlife, she took her first trip to Africa in 2007. She has been awed by the continent since. Through self-education and personal experiences, she has now spent over a decade committed to raising awareness about the land, people, and wildlife inhabiting Africa. She continues to dedicate herself to being a voice for those that have none.

Despite having a love for all wildlife across the globe, her African focus remains. Shannon believes it is necessary to create awareness among humans of all ages; however, to ensure the sustainability of endangered species for future generations, she knows children need to be educated in age-appropriate ways. She quotes Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." As a Director of Wild Africa Foundation, educating the youth will remain one of her top priorities. Shannon pledges that the conservation of critically endangered species will remain her lifelong commitment


Michelle Fuoco - Director

Michelle’s interest in African wildlife was sparked by a simple video clip gone viral and is a testament to the power of social media. Learning more about rhinos and the immense challenges they face led her to strive to use any social media influence possible to positively impact the lives of critically endangered African animals. As a mother, she is drawn to educating children about these animals, helping them understand at their level the complex reasoning behind the poaching epidemic, and encouraging them to support those who work tirelessly to care for them and keep them safe. She takes her inspiration from the words of Margaret Mead, who stated: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."

Michelle comes to Wild Africa Foundation as a Director with a focus on development and public relations, bringing her expertise in community fundraising and social media. She has a MA in Communication Disorders from the University of Houston and lives in Florida with her husband and son. Along with her son, she volunteers at her local Humane Society and is the proud adoptive mom of a rescue dog. Michelle looks forward to someday seeing the beautiful animals she loves and is passionate about protecting, in-person in their natural homeland.


Lauren Alyssa Givnin - Director

Throughout Lauren’s life there had never been a time when there was not at least one pet in her home. From a very young age knowing that she was an animal lover, she always aspired to be a veterinarian. Whenever she would see an animal that had been injured, she would stop everything and safely trap the animal and bring it to the closest wildlife center in an attempt to find it the necessary care and treatment. In 2008, Lauren’s love for giving back expanded when she entered Americorps National Civilian Community Corps. As a volunteer, Lauren spent ten months helping to rebuild houses that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Working alongside migrant workers, she ran an outdoor camp for refugee children She also worked in a kitchen that fed over 1,300 volunteers daily. She even adopted a rescue, a displaced dog in need. After selflessly giving ten months of her time to total strangers, she realized that this changed her life and gave her immense appreciation and pride in giving back to her country.

After her time with Americorps, Lauren had found herself venturing down many paths, such as modeling, acting, bar management, as well as teaching at her local community college. In 2017, Lauren took her first-ever trip to South Africa. This trip awakened her soul and ignited the passion within her once again for animals and wildlife. When the opportunity presented itself to join Wild Africa Foundation, Lauren, without hesitation, leaped at the opportunity to help make a difference and help protect those that are not able to protect themselves. In addition, Lauren is eager to educate people of all ages regarding the Endangered Species of Africa.

Saving the Last Rhinos

Grant Fowlds, an ambassador for Project Rhino, and Graham Spence have co-authored the book "Saving the Last Rhinos - The Life of a Frontline Conservationist" which was publised towards the end 2019.

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