Going For The One

In the summer of 1998, I asked Bill Gates for $35 million to save the endangered mountain gorillas. Getting to that point took three years of planning, standing on the shoulders of giants, and a business plan forged in the white heat of the Internet revolution. Douglas Adams made all the introductions, opened the doors to the titans of tech. I was the parrot on his shoulder. How could we fail with such an A-list of advocates and advisors as Eckart Wintzen, who donated $50,000 to prepare the plan; Ian Charles Stewart, who honed it to a standard that suited the mindset of the Microsoft CEO; and Mike Backes who travelled around the world in eight days asking our gorilla gurus to commit to camera why these great apes needed to be saved? This is the story, in 12 parts, of how, with instinct, serendipity, and a stack of celebrity endorsements, I, a self-taught fundraiser, pitched an eight figure appeal to the world’s richest man.


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