Guerrilla Marketing Takes New Meaning When it Involves Chimpanzees and Orangutans at the Center for Great Apes

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Series of grassroots events from friend-raisers and art exhibits to hotel packages and a pizza partnership raise awareness and funds for the Center For Great Apes.

Resident chimpanzee walks along the mile of raised walkways at

It takes nearly $20,000 a year to care for a single ape.

A series of grassroots events from friendraisers to hotel packages are raising awareness and funds for the Center for Great Apes, a non-profit sanctuary for chimpanzees and orangutans in Florida. For the entire month of April, the Pinecrest Gardens Gallery in Miami will feature an exhibit of ape portraits, Lemon Tree Inn of Naples will be making donations, and friendraisers will be occurring throughout the year. To learn more about events and special deals that benefit the sanctuary, become a member to receive the newsletter and become a friend on

“We are approaching our 20th anniversary of providing an enriching, healthy sanctuary for chimpanzees and orangutans in need of lifetime care,” said Patti Ragan, Founder of the Center for Great Apes, “Grassroots fundraising and marketing plays a critical role in increasing awareness and raising funds. It takes nearly $20,000 a year to care for a single ape. These events and partnerships really make a positive impact.”

In March, Dr. Lindsey Matheson of Fisher Island, Florida hosted “Cocktails for Clyde”, a special party to raise awareness and funds for Clyde, a chimpanzee that had been caged in a basement for 40 years until the Center for Great Apes rescued and welcomed him to the 120-acre sanctuary. “Clyde was taken from his mother after poachers killed her in the 1970’s in Africa,” stated Patti Ragan, “He was sold as a pet, and like all great apes, he quickly became too strong for his owners and as a result, he suffered.” Clyde, who was unable to walk without difficulty and was emaciated when he arrived, is now gaining weight and exploring the sanctuary with delight. The “Cocktails for Clyde” party was supported by Miami Club Rum, a new rum crafted by Destilería Canéca.

In April, the Gallery at Pinecrest Gardens in Miami, Florida will be featuring a series of portraits of the apes by award-winning artists including Disney illustrator Frank Armitage, Joe Zammit-Lucia, James Fox, Brian Kennedy, Jessie Johnson, Marilyn Magill, and Alan Li. Select works will be on sale and will benefit the Center for Great Apes. Patti Ragan, the Founder of the Center for Great Apes, will discuss each artist and their subjects during the opening reception on April 12 from 6-9pm in the Gallery.

On April 19, California Pizza Kitchen located on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, Florida will donate a portion of the proceeds when guests present their special coupon. To get the coupon, download it at

Also in April, Olivia Dingman, a kindergartener, is having a different kind of birthday party. Instead of bringing gifts, she invited her friends to bring money for games and “adopt” an ape toy at her party. “When we asked Olivia what she wanted to do for her birthday party, she said she wanted to raise money for the Center for Great Apes,” said her father Darrin Dingman, “So we’ve planned games that her friends can play for 25 cents and win prizes. It should be great fun, and her mother and I are so proud of her philanthropic spirit.”

In Naples, Florida, Lemon Tree Inn, a boutique hotel walking distance from shops, galleries and restaurants in the popular Fifth Avenue area, is offering 10% off regular rates and will donate $10 for every new GreatApe reservation of two nights or more from April 15 through October 2012. The special offer is subject to availability and blackout dates. The donations will go to Center for Great Apes once the stay is completed. To book a stay and support the Center for Great Apes, use the reservation code GreatApe on

“We need to raise $200,000 to care for three new arrivals - two orangutans from Iowa and Clyde, the chimpanzee,” said Patrick Harris, a board member of Center for Great Apes. “We are looking for strategic partners for a series of events planned for Miami. We feel that by partnering with Miami-based companies, both they and the Center will benefit.” The Center for Great Apes, founded in Miami in 1993, has members across the country, and more than 6,000 fans on Facebook.

About the Center for Orangutan and Chimpanzee Conservation
The Center for Orangutan and Chimpanzee Conservation (dba Center for Great Apes) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides a permanent sanctuary in a safe and enriching environment for orangutans and chimpanzees in need of lifetime care. Founded in 1993, the Center for Great Apes is one of 9 chimpanzee sanctuaries and the only orangutan sanctuary in North America. The sanctuary was established to provide a safe and enriching home for chimpanzees and orangutans that are in need of care for the remainder of their lives. The great apes at CGA have been rescued from roadside zoos, circuses, labs, basement garages, and other unnatural situations. Many of the apes have come from the entertainment industry and several were admitted to the sanctuary by request of the owner. For more information visit

o    Center for Great Apes is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
o    Center for Great Apes is an accredited sanctuary by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
o    Center for Great Apes is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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