Be the Change: Allie Boyer – A Passion For Primates


Most kids have a favorite type of animal. Some are dog people, some are cat people. Others are, well, orangutan people. By the age of 7, Chico teen Allie Boyer knew she had a passion for hairy red apes.

art-1113-btc4In elementary school, Allie discovered that palm oil plantations and deforestation harmed orangutan habitats, and this spurred her passion for primates. In fact, she and her mother, Pam, have written and published a children’s book about her experience called Allie and the Orangutan, available at Lyon Books in Chico, the Made in Chico store, and online at the Orangutan Outreach website; book sales benefit Orangutan Outreach.

Allie says Orangutan Outreach founder Richard Zimmerman has been very supportive since day one. “When I was seven, and was first wanting to get into this cause, I emailed a bunch of different organizations. Rich took so much interest and it was amazing to me to find an adult that cared what a 7-year-old had to say. That is one of the reasons I donate 100% through them. Rich is definitely one of my heroes!”

In junior high, a visit to some resale boutiques gave her an idea: “I thought,  ‘If they could do so well selling gently used items, why couldn’t I?’,” Allie explains.  Since then, with the help of her best friend Natalie, along with both of their moms, Allie has run “Purses for Primates,” collecting donated purses and other items (like belts and scarves) to resell at events and purse parties, and she gives all money raised to Orangutan Outreach.

“The funds we donate go directly to the releases of orangutans back into the wild from rehabilitation centers,” Allie says. She’s raised over $8,000 so far. Purses for Primates operates under the umbrella of North Valley Community Foundation. “They help with all money given to us, making sure it gets to Orangutan Outreach.”

“What I love most is that I am able to make a difference and help these amazing creatures, by doing something here in the US. Knowing that I’m playing a big part in pushing the cause in the right direction makes me very happy!”

Allie and her brother Ben.

Allie and her brother Ben.

Now 15 years old and a sophomore at Pleasant Valley High School, Allie plans to earn a business degree at Stanford. “I hope to one day be able to transfer my non-profit to an LLC and continue working on it. I believe that this organization has the potential to be my career,” she says.

Allie was also named Youth Ambassador for Orangutan Outreach, is a youth leader on Jane Goodall’s National Youth Leadership Council, and is a member of the “A-Team,” a children’s conservation group started by Jungle Deep podcast creator Ken Jones. She is also a member of her high school swim team and loves to draw.

“My family is very supportive,” Allie says. Her mom helps her with the business aspects, and her dad helps with set-up. She even involves her “amazing” little brother, Ben. “We have three dogs, a cat and two hamsters. Being an animal lover I had to own my own zoo.”

Allie says Jane Goodall and Richard Zimmerman are her inspiration.  “Jane, with her pure passion alone, got into her cause with chimpanzees and made a huge impact world wide, even though she started so small. And Rich has such a passion for saving orangutans that he quit his job at UNICEF just to start Orangutan Outreach. I hope that I can grow to be as successful with my cause as they are.”

art-1113-btc3Look for Purses for Primates at events and fundraisers in the Butte County area, such as farmers markets or at school events. Allie is always looking for venues to have a booth at, and is also available to give lectures about orangutans and the environment, at schools, businesses or events. “And if anyone is interested in hosting a purse party at their home, we do that too!” she says.

“I find that getting more connections in my community goes a long way,” Allie adds. “Social media helps once you’re well known, but personal connections go very far.”

Purses for Primates will be at the Sacramento Zoo for National Orangutan Awareness Week in November. To donate items, funds or find out more, visit Purses for Primates online at and, or contact Allie by email at

[sws_blue_box box_size=”590″]The mission of our Be the Change column is to feature a community member from the North State who is actively making a difference in the lives of children and families. If you would like to nominate someone who is making a difference, please write to [/sws_blue_box]

Desiree Gonzalez
About Desiree Gonzalez

Desiree Gonzalez is an author and a mother of two in Chico.


  1. Something says:

    Sammy, I’m the person in your class that has the first name initials of JK

  2. Something says:

    Sammy! You reallly did that!

  3. Allie Boyer you are my inspiration. Thank You.

  4. christine olle says:

    so nice to see such a lovely young lady taking up such an important cause – she is a true inspiration and outstanding role model – keep up the great work

  5. Richard R. Boyer says:

    This young lady has what it takes to become a very bright star in life. Her parents have done a great job bringing her up in life. I hope her understands.

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