Addy may just be the biggest 11-year-old gorilla fan there is! She has been a fierce lover of these critically endangered animals since she read a book about them in first grade. She started raising awareness for the plight of the gorillas by making posters and holding lemonade stands and bake sales —the proceeds from which she would donate to gorilla conservation groups. In November 2017 Addy wanted to kick things up a notch. She tried to start a viral fundraising campaign similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, calling it the Pie-Face Challenge. The idea being that you get nominated, get pied, make a donation, then nominate others.

The idea didn’t really catch on beyond our immediate circle of friends and family, so she moved on to her next idea…creating her own informative and entertaining gorilla website called Gorilla Heroes. Her grandfather helped her create a logo, which led to a T-shirt fundraiser. Then the pie-face idea came back into play. For every shirt bought or donation made to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Addy got pied. She made a series of pie-face videos that you can now find on her YouTube channel (titled Gorilla Heroes). She raised quite a bit of money and caught the attention of the Board of Directors for Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (DFGF). Raising money was awesome, but Addy really wanted to get other kids as excited about gorillas as she is. So in June, she held a Gorilla Gala! The event had gorilla-themed games, crafts, information stations, a VR gorilla experience, and amazing raffle prizes. Several companies and organizations supported Addy’s event by making donations, including Gorilla Glue, Maine Beer Company, Go Ape Treetop Adventures, Eastern Motors and the Cincinnati Zoo. The Gala was a big success! There were about 75 people in attendance and $900 was raised on site. The Gala proceeds, combined with Gorilla Heroes shirt sales, Fossey fundraising page, and other direct donations brought Addy’s grand total to over $3500 raised for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Ellen Degeneres Wildlife Fund in 2018 alone. Not bad for an 11-year-old!When she’s not advocating for the gorillas, Addy is getting ready to start 5th grade in the gifted and talented program at Fox Chapel Elementary School. She loves playing with her friends, spending time with her family and Irish Dancing:)

Follow Addy in Mazu to learn more about our primate friends and how you can help!