ELEI's Mission

Our mission is to help mitigate human elephant conflict through education initiatives for local communities around the world.

 
 
 

ELEI's Vision

Our vision is to live in a world where elephants are no longer endangered and young people are offered the opportunity for higher education. 

 
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Current Projects

Our immediate goal is to offer wildlife inspired scholarships to the Maasai young people surrounding Amboseli National Park in Kenya. There are currently 6 communities, Group Ranches, surrounding the park. ELEI plans to pick one person from each community and send them on a full scholarship to university for three optional majors: veterinarian, international tourism, or ranger school. 

The benefits of each degree would be as follows: an international tourism degree would allow the Maasai to be qualified to be employed at the local lodges and the non-profits in the surrounding the park; by sending the Maasai to ranger school, there would be more rangers in the area which means rangers could begin to work inside and outside of the park boundaries to help mitigate conflict where the Maasai live; by employing veterinarians in the area, the veterinarians are not only able to take care of the elephants but they are also able to do local house calls to assist with livestock care. ELEI hopes that with a wildlife inspired scholarship, the Maasai will then start seeing the benefits of having conservation in their area. 

ELEI’s long term goal is to expand to any part of the world where there is human elephant conflict and providing long term sustainability for conservation through the hope and promise that education provides.  

 
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Meet our Board Members

 

Heather Kasey

Heather Kasey is the founder and director of ELEI, Elephant Education Initiative.

Through her extensive travel and volunteer work in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Peru, Namibia and South Africa - ELEI was born.  Heather  began to see the intricate connection between saving a species from going extinct and the investment of education through our next generation.  Not only does Heather believe education is the key but she believes that offering engaging, high quality, education that leverages compassion and connection is the biggest step we can make to preserving the elephants and all remaining species on the planet. 

Heather is working on her master's degree in journalism with a focus on conservation from Prescott College in Arizona.  She received her BA in Communications and a minor in English at Western Carolina University. She plans to continue furthering her education with a PH.D in social anthropology.  


Marc Liu s the co-founder of FTW, a public relations and digital marketing agency specializing in the lifestyle sector. Marc is also the co-founder of Gourmet Marketing, a digital marketing agency focused on restaurants, bars and hotels. Born in China, raised in Australia, educated in France and now residing in Chapel Hill, NC.


Aaron Gard is an attorney in Research Triangle, NC with Forrest Firm, P.C., where his areas of practice include corporate formation and governance, commercial contracts and strategic transactions. His transactional background includes deep experience in mergers and acquisitions and leading complex contractual matters in healthcare and life sciences. During his nearly 15 years of legal experience, he also served as in-house counsel for the global investment bank Credit Suisse in their Center of Excellence in Raleigh, NC.  

 

In addition to his role at the Forrest Firm, Aaron is partner and general counsel for Durham-based multimedia company GreatestFan. As partner and General Counsel, Aaron is responsible for generating business development and fundraising opportunities, providing general counsel, strategic business guidance, and negotiating all legal and other documentation related to the business.

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Kirsten Kincade is an executive in the non-profit field, triathlete, travel blogger and Forbes magazine featured extreme endurance fundraiser. She serves as vice president of IronMatt.org, a leading foundation combatting pediatric brain cancer. She is also a 12 time Ironman, with 7 appearances in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Before entering the non-profit field she worked in the fixed income department at Salomon Brothers in NYC. Kirsten is a mother of 4 children and currently resides in Franklin Lakes NJ.