Fourth Annual Pongo Environmental Awards Honors Environmental Achievement While Celebrating Foundation's Tenth Anniversary

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The Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) celebrates its first decade as a tax-exempt organization with a mission of saving orangutans and habitat through education and innovative collaborative programs. The Pongo Environmental Awards is an OURF program that showcases global environmental achievement by organizations, media and technology as well as the conservation and understanding of the orangutan in an evening event that features celebrities, live entertainment, and camaraderie.

It will take decades of hard work to insure the long-term survival of this magnificent great ape as their population continues to decline.

The Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) will honor environmental achievement from film, science, conservation, and technology at the 4th Annual Pongo Environmental Awards to be held on Saturday, October 7, 2017, at a private residence in West Pasadena, California.

Co-hosted by actor/environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr. and voice actor Phil Hendrie, the evening is dedicated to honoring individuals, organizations and projects that have contributed to the improved understanding and appreciation of global environmental issues, endangered species, rain forest habitat, and for understanding and improving conditions for orangutans and other animals. The evening is also an opportunity for OURF to raise needed general funds to operate and provide the programs benefiting orangutan survival.

The theme of the awards and benefit program this year is: "Ten Years of Awareness, Caring & Change", acknowledging the Foundation's ten-year anniversary as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. This status enables donors to make tax-deductible contributions to the nonprofit, and the non-profit can appeal to a broad set of prospective donors, including government, business, foundations and individuals.

As OURF commences its second decade, the plight of the critically endangered orangutan continues to be a major challenge. “It will take decades of hard work to insure the long-term survival of this magnificent great ape as their population continues to decline. Working together with multiple stakeholders is critical if we are to be effective in our efforts”, says OURF President and co-founder Dr. Gary Shapiro. “The Annual Awards and Benefit program is one way for our foundation to be engaged by raising funds that help keep our successful programs in the field and to pay tribute to those who make a significant positive impact in the environment.”

Special honors and recipients of the 4th Annual Pongo Environmental Awards this year are Dr. Cheryl Knott, orangutan researcher and conservationist with the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program; Rainforest Action Network and executive director Lindsey Allen, for campaigning on behalf of orangutans and their habitat, Fisher Stevens,director of the thought provoking “Before the Flood,” and Dr. Greg Asner, director of Carnegie Aerial Observatory for a cost-effective, high-resolution remote sensing tool to determine biodiversity of large-scale ecosystems.

Previous Pongo Award recipients have included Dr. Jane Goodall; James Cameron, David Gelber and Joel Bach for the Showtime series “Years of Living Dangerously” promoting climate change awareness; Professor Michael Mann, climate scientist; Dr Ian Singleton and Panut Hadisiswoyo, orangutan researchers and conservationists; Sarah DuPont of Amazon Aid Foundation for “River of Gold”, Louie Psihoyos,of Oceanic Preservation Society for “Racing Extinction,” actor Mike Farrell and playwright George Shea for “Dr. Keeling’s Curve,” a one-man play about Dr. David Keeling, the scientist known worldwide for his work documenting global warming, Topher White for Rainforest Connection, putting old cellphones in the forest to stop illegal logging, GoPro Creative Director Bradford Schmidt for his film, “Our Orangutan Brethren,” actors Ed Begley Jr. and Ed Asner for their many years of environmental activism, business women Ronna Phelps and Alexandra Saunders, for creating palm-oil free products that insure no harm to orangutans.

As OURF continues to advance its conservation education mission. It has partnered with The Orangutan Project, an Australian-based international organization funding over two dozen projects in both Indonesia and Malaysia. OURF serves as TOP-USA along with chapters in Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Europe. OURF's own Orangutan Caring Scholarship program awarded its 130th scholarship when it provided 18 new scholarships in May 2017 to students in North Sumatra, Aceh and West Borneo. Seventy recipients have already graduated becoming advocates for orangutans in their place of employment or in their continuing academic journey.

Orangutans are only found in the wild on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra in the countries of Indonesia and Malaysia (N. Borneo). Fewer than 14,300 remain on Sumatra. Their population continues to decline due to the conversion of forest to agriculture, the illegal pet trade, being killed as pests or hunted, as well as habitat degradation from natural and human caused activities (fires, mining, logging, palm oil).

OURF is a 501(c)(3) publicly supported charity with a mission to save wild orangutans through education initiatives and innovative collaborative projects. OURF partners with Indonesian organizations and communities to promote outreach education and sustainable solutions to long-term conservation of the orangutan and its rain forest habitat. Culturally sensitive and effective education programs to foster community-based conservation actions are developed and implemented to save the forest habitat and the species. More information about OURF can be found at http://www.orangutanrepublik.org

The event will have live entertainment, including a performance by singer Haley Reinhart and the band Honey Pig. Indonesian dancing will also be featured along with some surprise appearances.

For tickets, which will include the address of the fundraiser venue, visit https://ourf2017annualevent.eventbrite.com

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