Keith LaChappelle, Founder
In May of 2002, Keith LaChappelle read an article in Discover magazine about the lives of chimpanzees in biomedical research and the need for sanctuaries to care for them once they were released. Keith had always cared deeply about all life on this planet, and learning about the plight of these chimpanzees was a life-changing experience for him. He wondered if he could apply his professional skills of managing major construction projects to build a sanctuary home for chimpanzees. Keith carefully researched the feasibility of starting such a project. He spoke to many people and traveled to several sanctuaries - learning everything from policies and procedures to the gauge of steel used for caging. On one of these trips, he met Billy Jo, a chimpanzee who had finally found sanctuary after a lifetime of abuse in entertainment and research. Looking into Billy's eyes transformed Keith's desire to "do something" into the realization that he had found his calling. Keith has worked diligently not only to build the physical structures for the sanctuary, but also to build a sustainable non-profit that will carry the organization into the future.