Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and WCS Announce New $4.9 Million Dollar Grant

New Funding and New Climate Adaptation Focus for Grants Program Supporting Conservation Projects Nationwide

New York, NY (January 12, 2011) - The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has made a $4.9 million grant to the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in support of the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund, through which WCS will re-grant more than $4 million over the next two years. This funding will support nonprofit conservation organizations working to ensure the ability of wildlife to adapt to a changing climate through applied, on-the-ground projects that demonstrate effective conservation actions.

“The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation recognizes the serious threat posed by climate change to biodiversity in the U.S.,” said Andrew Bowman, director of the foundation’s Environment Program. “This new focus for the WCS grants program will provide critical resources to the wildlife conservation community as it grapples with how best to address the growing climate challenge.”

This new strategic focus represents a significant shift in funding priorities for WCS’s grants program, which was previously called the Wildlife Action Opportunities Fund and was launched with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Over the past four years, the Opportunities Fund awarded more than $7.2 million for 81 wildlife conservation projects in 45 states working to restore habitat, protect movement corridors, incorporate wildlife into land-use planning decisions, reintroduce endangered species, and implement priorities of State Wildlife Action Plans. While the Opportunities Fund supported a number of climate adaptation projects in the context of its previous funding priorities, WCS staff and the grants program’s advisory committee will be applying an adaptation lens and strong climate science to evaluate all future grant proposals.

“We are excited for the opportunity to re-focus our grants program to better serve conservation practitioners as they strive to gain concrete experience in increasing the capacity of wildlife to adapt to climate change,” said Darren Long, Program Officer for the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund.

Grants awarded through the Climate Adaptation Fund will support wildlife adaptation projects that are designed to implement landscape-scale strategic habitat conservation plans and achieve the following types of results:

  • Demonstrate land management techniques to assist wildlife adaptation to climate change;
  • Protect or expand core habitat areas;

  • Create new protected areas or change land use designations to secure intact habitat;

  • Assure connectivity for wildlife between core habitat areas; and

  • Protect keystone species at risk from the impacts of climate change.

WCS plans to release a Request for Proposals in spring 2011 which will include detailed information on this year’s climate adaptation funding priorities and instructions for applying for support from the Climate Adaptation Fund. Support will be available for projects taking place anywhere in the United States or its six territories.

In addition to funding for the Climate Adaptation Fund, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s $4.9 million grant includes $250,000 in support for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s climate adaptation field projects.

Wildlife Conservation Society - Darren Long 406-556-7203;

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and the prevention of child abuse, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

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