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Alumni_Magazine_Spring2017

11 SPECIES h a l f a w o r l d a w a y Lisa’s Success is Our Story s a v i n g a Lisa Groeneweg (Computer Programming – ’89) has had many titles during her life. Switchboard operator, production worker, massage therapist, farmer, trucking company manager, computer programmer. And now, philanthropist. But the unique part of her philanthropy story is how she raises funds, and to whom those funds are directed. Lisa spends much of her waking hours saving the lives of elephants in Zimbabwe and remote parts of Africa. She is co-founder and president of Chengeta Wildlife, an organization that thrives on training people to guard endangered species from poachers and poaching syndicates. However, due to a decade long battle with leukemia, Groeneweg’s ability to manage the charity widely comes from her laptop while resting in her home in Rock Valley. “When I was first diagnosed with leukemia, the prognosis wasn’t very good. When you have something like that happen, you begin to look back at your life. I realized that although I was very happy with what I had accomplished, I had never truly gave back in a way to help others,” states Lisa. While researching leukemia online, Lisa came upon some internet stories about Rory Young, an anti-poaching expert, who was sharing his personal experiences about saving lions and the tragic ways he is seeing elephants getting slaughtered for their tusks. His stories spoke to Lisa, and she reached out to him asking how she could help. A connection between Rory and Lisa emerged. Over the course of a few months, the two developed the non-profit organization Chengeta Wildlife. Rory is half a world away, training wildlife protection rangers. Lisa is in Rock Valley, IA, raising funds and managing the organization. They have a team of seven volunteer wildlife enthusiasts who serve on their board and help with the mission of the charity, including actor Josh Bowman. Through the power of technology, the team communicates frequently. Lisa’s mission is to raise at least $100,000 annually to support the mission of the charity. She mainly gets support through social media drives and grant applications. And although she isn’t employed as a full-time Computer Programmer anymore, she utilizes her knowledge in computers to help Chengeta Wildlife. She creates promotional videos, administers the website and all social media outlets, and of course, adamantly searches for more funding resources online. Lisa’s fights are a daily struggle. She is still combating leukemia and battles poaching wars from a continent away. But every day she fights on. Lisa Groeneweg Class of ’89 Co-Founder and President Chengeta Wildlife


Alumni_Magazine_Spring2017
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