Industry stalwart Derek Moore, chairman of The Specialist Travel Association (Aito) and founder of operator Explore, has set up an independent charitable foundation to help struggling communities.

The Derek Moore Foundation gained charitable status in August and currently has five projects to help communities, in Guatemala, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Sri Lanka.

“I set up Explore in 1981 and decided maybe it’s time I gave something back, so I set up the foundation,” said Moore.


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“The idea is to look after smaller community projects that bigger charities overlook, particularly in developing countries where companies like Explore make a living.

“During my 13 years as a tour guide, I can remember leading trekking groups in the Atlas Mountains and staying in small villages and being careful not to ‘invade’ these villages. Now I’m in a position to do something more formal to help.”

The foundation aims to partner with projects that are already up and running. Examples include funding medical supplies for 71 midwives working with indigenous people in the Quetzeltenango area of Guatemala and setting up a library in a school in Uganda, and providing the books and staff training.

Moore has funded the creation of the charity and said “100% of the funds will go directly to the projects”.

He is keen to work with operators to find and fund between 10 and 15 projects a year.

The charity has three trustees and has a project advisory board of three volunteers: Chris Rowles, treasurer of Aito; Fiona Jeffery, founder of Just a Drop; and Lyn Hughes, editor-in-chief of Wanderlust magazine. Find out more about the foundation at thederekmoorefoundation.org.

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Aito rebrands as The Specialist Travel Association