Q&A with Andy Wright, Donor
“If you want my money you have to spend it wisely and there’s no better way to find out this information than to be involved.”
On any given day in British Columbia, Canada, Andy Wright is helping wire remote digital cameras in the Great Bear Rainforest, or inspiring elementary school students to take up science. Andy’s cheeky accent is unmistakably British, but it’s his enthusiasm for photographing wildlife that got him engaged in one of the biggest conservation projects in North American history.
Tides Canada works with Andy Wright to help identify where his gifts can have the greatest impact.
How did your charitable giving start?
I’ve always had a notion of sharing because I grew up in an impoverished neighborhood of England where things were always shared. I went on to start a successful semi-conductor company called Datum Telegraphic with co-founder Laurence Wallace. After we sold the business it took my partner Helen and I about ten seconds to decide to set up our giving plans.
Why are you interested in the environment?
My interest comes from nature photography. On traveling the British Columbia coast, I had the chance to see the work of environmental groups. In the end I decided to support the Great Bear Rainforest initiative through Tides Canada. I was donating to a conservation idea on a mass scale, not only for the BC coast, but a model that can be picked up around the world.
The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest intact coastal temperate rainforest remaining on earth. A$120 million conservation financing package helped preserve the ecosystem and helped to develop a sustainable economic base to support the people within the region.
View Andy’s spectacular photographs of the Great Bear Rainforest, Antarctica, and the Arctic at www.cold-coast.com.
How involved are you with the projects you fund?
Very. I don’t see any difference between a charity and a startup company. If you want to make sure sure your hard-earned charitable dollars are invested wisely, you need to be involved. I’ve done a few trips up to the Great Bear Rainforest with Tides Canada, and am on the steering committee of Tides Canada’s Pacific Wild project.
Why does Tides Canada work for you?
Tides Canada is important especially in the environmental arena, when you can’t be a hands-on donor on a regular basis. A central point of governance is key. It allows you to invest in many worthy projects, and Tides provides the all-important foundation, so that startup projects can get off the ground with embryonic endeavors
Tides Canada linked Andy to the conservation groups Pacific Wild and Save Our Salmon. He sits on their steering committees and offers technical advice on a remote video project which documents wildlife behaviour in the Great Bear Rainforest.
On rigging cameras…
Working on the technical side of the Pacific Wild project was hard work. But when I watch rare footage of a pack of wolves feeding on salmon at night, and realize how that footage can raise the profile of conservation work, I think, that’s pretty incredible.