Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) established WCN Australia in 2018 with an initial focus on providing funding to preserve the Great Barrier Reef. WCN Australia will issue grants to vetted Australian-based projects that promise the best return on investment. This granting program, supported by donations from Tiffany & Co., builds off of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation’s longtime history of support for coral conservation and preserving the health of marine ecosystems and WCN’s leadership in conservation philanthropy and investing in impactful conservation solutions. WCN Australia was developed using the principles of WCN’s Crisis and Recovery Funds model.
Board of Directors
WCN Australia has a three-member Board of Directors. All directors are independent voting members of the governing body.
Les retired from the law after 25 years practicing as a barrister, specializing in labor law, and 15 years on the bench of federal and state industrial tribunals. He is a keen skier which has led to his appreciation of the environment and the necessity to preserve it. Les met Charles Knowles, president and co-founder of WCN, in the 1980’s and has followed the growth of WCN with interest. He is delighted to have been appointed to the board of the Australian affiliate and is excited at the prospect of developing it. He has served on committees and boards of several organizations.
Charlie is the President and Co-Founder of the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), which has advanced a powerful new model of wildlife conservation. Charlie retired early as a successful Stanford-educated entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. He founded software company Rubicon Technology in 1989 and sold it in 1994. His retirement lasted six days, until he launched full-time into applying his business acumen and experience to wildlife conservation. In the 1990s, Charlie helped the Cheetah Conservation Fund and the Snow Leopard Conservancy grow into world-class conservation programs, which led to the formation of the Wildlife Conservation Network in 2002. The synthesis of creativity and practicality in Charlie’s’ approach has inspired thousands of passionate donors, as well as a rising generation of conservation pioneers.
Growing up on Sydney’s iconic northern beaches, Kirra grew up appreciating the fragility of her natural surroundings. Kirra’s connection to nature drives her passion to communicate the necessity for collaborative change and adaption to make the world a better place to live. Her passion to generate positive change drove her to help establish a mental health charity, batyr, in Sydney before heading overseas to work at Ceres, a leader in corporate sustainability. Working in the start-up space in both San Francisco and Sydney, Kirra uses her marketing background to harness entrepreneurial energy in order to help build a better future for generations to come.
Governing Principles of WCN's Crisis and Recovery Funds
- One Goal. Funds focus all resources on one conservation goal—such as preserving the Great Barrier Reef.
- 100%. Every cent of every dollar raised goes to the most effective partners and projects that can achieve the goal, with zero overhead taken.
- Ideas, Not Institutions. Funds seek the best return on investment for the goal, regardless of who presents them and no matter if delivered by the world’s largest institutions or a tiny grassroots operation, thereby democratizing philanthropy.
- Collaboration. We believe no single organization can achieve the Funds’ goal, so we unite the efforts and investments of multiple funders and diverse actors.
- Data-Driven. Investments are made and evaluated based on the best available science.
- Pioneering. Funds support conservation innovation, and share and scale successful concepts with other partners and projects.
- Range-Wide. Investment are made across the species’ distribution and are concerned about the conservation of small extinction-prone populations as well as large ones.
- Maximum Efficiency. We use unparalleled knowledge and advisors to find the best partners to support. We rely on field-based due diligence to solicit vetted, targeted projects.
- Minimal Bureaucracy. Early, strategic, and careful engagement of vetted partners helps minimize operational procedures and ensure paperwork is streamlined so that conservationists can do what they do best: conserve endangered wildlife.