SouthState Supports the Work of Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Project Chimps
If you’ve ever stood at the chimpanzee habitat at your local zoo, you know how incredible it is to watch these intelligent, fun-loving creatures.
A nonprofit in Blue Ridge, Ga. is working to offer a unique chimpanzee population the home they deserve – not at a zoo, but at a stunning sanctuary.
Project Chimps partners with the University of Louisiana’s New Iberia Research Center to care for retired research chimpanzees. The need to provide a home for these animals came after a decades-long fight to end the use of chimpanzees in laboratory research.
After spending years of their lives in a cold, sterile environment, the chimps can fully enjoy retirement in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of north Georgia. Members of SouthState Bank’s Blue Ridge branch often visit on volunteer days at the sanctuary.
Project Chimps’ 230 acres of forest habitat are home to 99 chimpanzees, with future plans to bring in more than 90 chimps remaining at the research center.
“Without sanctuary, the chimps would have to stay at the labs, albeit retired from research, for the remainder of their lives,” adds Executive Director Ali Crumpacker. “As they can live into their 60s and the youngest at the lab is only 7 years old, that would be a very long time without knowing the beautiful life that sanctuary can offer.”
From Buttercup to Gertrude to Eddie, the chimps are treated like family by the staff. They receive festive holiday meals, specialized medical care, and enrichment activities such as cognitively stimulating puzzles and an engaging outdoor environment.
SouthState’s Blue Ridge bankers often help prepare meals for the chimps, like the recent Thanksgiving meal complete with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. They plated meals and distributed them around the habitat, later watching from above as a family of chimps ventured out to explore and enjoy the tasty treats.
Bankers have provided Financial Wellness education to Project Chimps employees, while also adding value to their organization as a trusted financial partner.
“Knowing that the chimps are enjoying a forever home here in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains makes me proud to join my fellow bankers in serving Project Chimps,” says FSR III Monica Payne.
Project Chimps is in the midst of a capital campaign to add more housing and accommodate the remaining retired chimps. Helping as its local banker, SouthState provides financial services that allow the nonprofit to wisely manage donors’ dollars and the daily caretaking costs. Crumpacker praises the “big bank services with a small town feel.”
“We have loved the relationship so far and looking forward to growing together,” she adds.
Follow the chimps’ journey on social media and donate to their care on the Project Chimps website.