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Foundation News

Janet's Second Market

Chris Rico

It certainly turned out to be Christmas in July with over $330 generated for AES from Janet’s second sale at the Rochester, NY Public Market on July 15. Janet, along with her friends Marie Niedermeier and John Frontuto, rent a stall once a month at their Public Market to sell their unwanted household items.


They picked ‘Christmas in July’ as their July theme to select items from their homes to sell, such as ornaments, snow globes and figurines. They created a festive mood stringing Christmas lights in their stall, wearing Santa hats and playing carols. A table was set up in front displaying AES merchandise and information. It generated many opportunities to spread the word about the projects AES supports.

Another of Janet’s friends, Carol Conant, is using Janet’s sales as an opportunity to also clear out some of her house with the proceeds going to AES. One of her contributions was 2 large containers of beanie babies. After the June Sale, only one container remained. At the July sale, with a bit of encouragement from Baby Amelia a very nice family bought the whole tub of beanies. It was hard to tell who was happier – them or Janet.

August's theme is glassware and September will be “anything and everything goes”. There’s always another closet or shelf to clean. The Public Market offers the advantage of being held at a public location with parking, no advertising necessary, and always has a variety of shoppers.

Do you know where such sales markets are held in your neighborhood….just in case you get the ‘cleaning out’ urge? Great way to help elephants by supporting AES!

Janet's Market

Chris Rico

Looking for a motivator to clear out some of your home clutter? Selling unwanted home items with the proceeds going to Asian Elephant Support is helping AES Director Janet Dray get rid of lots things that were just taking up space.

Janet and a couple of her friends have rented a Sunday stall once a month for four months at their local Public Market. The sun gods were smiling on their June sale and brought a large crowd resulting in over $120 for AES and, as Janet points out happily, a much neater kitchen and bar area at her home! A small table was also set up at their stall entrance with AES info to help spread our message.

On Sunday July 14, Janet and her friends Marie Niedermeier and John Frontuto had a Christmas in July sale at the market with at least 7 big totes ready to go - including donations from several friends also clearing out their closets in support of AES!

See if your community hosts a Public Market Community Garage Sale. Get some friends together and have fun getting rid of (AKA recycling!) your clutter in support of Asian elephants. We would love to share your events and the elephants will benefit from your effort.

2019 Director's Meeting

Chris Rico

June 7 - 8, 2019
Cincinnati, Ohio

Val Nastold and President Linda Reifschneider

Since in existence, AES has traveled its annual in-person board meeting among various directors’ homes. As our board grows, having our meeting in any one home is becoming more complicated and so earlier in the year, President Linda Reifschneider suggested we start selecting our annual meeting site to coincide with the location of one of the several zoos that have been consistent supporters of our work. This would provide an opportunity to say "thank you" in person for that institution’s support. As director Christine Del Turco would be visiting friends in the Cincinnati area around our annual meeting dates, she suggested Cincinnati Zoo. That was a solid choice as we have benefited for multiple years from their zoo’s fundraising for Asian elephant conservation with their behind-the-scenes-tours in their elephant barn.

AES Board Members: Barbara Davis, Linda Reifschneider, hippos Fiona and her mother Bibbi, Janet Dray, Christine DelTurco

Linda reached out to Cecil Jackson,Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Elephant Manager, and while he would be out of town on our meeting dates, he was delighted we had selected Cincinnati Zoo and Val Nastold, Jr. would take care of us. Our idea was simply to say "thank you" in person and Linda would treat the board and barn crew to dinner. (Funds donated to AES are used only for projects that benefit Asian elephants and those who care for and/or must live their lives among the elephants.) Val and the Cincinnati crew had other ideas! 😊

Vanessa Gagne and Christine DelTurco

Val helped set up our lodging reservations to ensure we were close to the zoo. He also secured a conference room on zoo grounds for the two days of our meeting; saw that we benefited from the staff’s 50% discount at the cafeteria at lunch; gave us a wonderful visit to their barn (always a very special time for all the AES board); set up a meet and greet for zoo staff and volunteers; and, with Friday night just happening to be the Zoo’s “Zoo La La” gala, secured an attendance lanyard for each board member. Talk about Friday evening dinner! The weather was resort quality, the food, and drinks were excellent, and delightful entertainment made for an unexpected and most humbly appreciated ‘perk’ we certainly never expected.

AES board members and Cincinnati Zoo elephant crew

Saturday night, Linda finally got to treat AES board and Cincinnati Zoo elephant barn team to dinner at A Taste of Denmark. And what a fitting venue for we ‘elephant folk’ – their signature brew, Delerium has a logo of a pink elephant and the stem is shaped to represent an elephant’s trunk!

Of course we visited the gift shop for a remembrance of this special year’s annual meeting location and gifted each elephant crew member with an AES tee shirt.

Not only did we have a productive board meeting, we had the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ in person to those who care for and about Asian elephants passionately – and the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company in a social setting.

Thank you, Cincinnati! We came to say thank you; we leave also saying thank you – Val, you sure did set that bar ‘way up there’! THANK YOU!!!

Helium Comedy Club Fundraiser

Chris Rico

As mentioned in our previous newsletter, a fundraiser for AES was held last month at The Helium Club in Buffalo, NY.

Since there are no California Pizza Kitchen restaurants (or even Asian elephants) in western New York, some of us were feeling left out of the AES Annual April ‘Pizza for Pachyderms’ fundraising event. Mindy Ussrey, former Buffalo Zoo Elephant Manager thought of an alternative that resulted in raising $535 for AES on Saturday May 18, 2019. Mindy worked in conjunction with a local Buffalo, NY comedy club ‘The Helium’ to host an event before one of their performances. The Helium allowed us to receive a portion of the tickets sales that we sold as well as provided a table for us to promote and raise more funds for AES.

So even though the two Buffalo Zoo Asian elephants Jothi and Surapa had relocated to New Orleans earlier in the year, their former manager Mindy initiated, organized, and set up a very successful fundraiser for AES. She had support from a very generous Seneca Park Zoo (SPZ), SPZ Assistant Curator Lindsay Brinda, and the four SPZ African elephants – Chana, Moki, Genny C, and Lilac. Lindsay not only helped in selling an amazing number of tickets to the event but also provided elephant paintings for sale to the public. AES Board member Janet Dray supported the event by sewing and selling embroidered laptop cases and recycled tote bags as well as provided items for an AES gift basket raffle. We also sold AES bumper stickers and handed out AES brochures.

Including the entertainment it was a very fun evening with friends, family and coworkers supporting AES through ticket sales, 50/50 raffle, gift basket raffle, item sales and donations. As an additional benefit – Mindy created a wonderful AES information display which we plan to reuse for more outreach opportunities. Huge thanks to Mindy Ussrey and Lindsay Brinda along with Buffalo zookeepers Steve Ussrey and Gary Steele for making this a wildly successful evening. Your enthusiasm and commitment in supporting AES is inspiring, contagious and very much appreciated.

Thinking outside of the box, there are many ways to support AES fundraising efforts and have fun even if there are no CPKs in your location. We are looking forward to seeing more ideas on how people are raising funds in support of AES efforts.