SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund: Grants for Animals and Wildlife

OVERVIEW: The SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund supports wildlife conservation across the world and invests in species research, habitat protection, conservation education, and animal rescue and rehabilitation.

IP TAKE: The fund supports both small and large organizations. It prioritizes wildlife and marine life. 

PROFILE: Since 2003, the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has sought to support and protect animals and wildlife. The fund was established as a way to help guests of SeaWorld become involved with wildlife conservation, and it functions mostly as a clearinghouse that aggregates and distributes small donations from members of the public. The fund invests in species research, habitat protection, conservation education, and animal rescue and rehabilitation. 

In its desire to support research, habitat, education, and rescue and rehabilitation, the fund names highly specific funding priority areas. Its funding emphasizes research, education, protection, rescue, and rehabilitation of iconic fish and mammals like sharks, penguins, and rhinoceros, among many others. Grantseekers should research the fund's priority areas prior to applying since its focus evolves often. 

Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000; however, the board occasionally considers proposals beyond that range. The fund operates without an endowment and does not receive any revenue from investment income, but it also spends little to no money on overhead as board members are volunteers. As a result, the vast majority of donations the fund receives go directly towards grantmaking for organizations on the ground. Past grantees include large, well-established organizations like the Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, and Conservation International, but it also makes room for small organizations. The Red Panda Network, a grassroots group with less than $50,000 in annual revenue, received a grant for its work training villagers in Nepal to monitor and save the elusive red panda. About half of the groups the fund sponsors are small and have not received a great deal of public attention. 

Additionally, the foundation offers a number of “animal crisis grants” throughout the year to organizations that need emergency funding following natural or manmade catastrophes. Past grantees include the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, which received a grant to increase ranger patrols in critical areas after the illegal killings of four mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park.

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