The Disney Conservation Fund Names the Recipients of its 2016-2017 Grants

DCF has now awarded more than $65 million in its ongoing commitment to reverse the decline of wildlife and increase the time kids spend in nature

BURBANK, Calif., April 20, 2017 – The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF), Disney’s granting program focused on protecting the planet and helping kids develop lifelong conservation values, has announced its 2016-2017 grant recipients.

More than $7 million in grants have been awarded to leading nonprofit organizations, including the Jane Goodall Institute, National Wildlife Federation and Panthera, working across the globe to protect wildlife and provide experiences that will help inspire a lifelong love for nature in young people.

These grants are a part of DCF’s new, targeted philanthropic strategy announced last Earth Month, called “Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time,” focused on reversing the decline of 10 threatened animals through scientific research, community collaboration, and increasing the time kids spend in nature to inspire hope for the future of the planet and foster a desire to protect the environment.

“We are pleased to be supporting some of the world’s leading conservation organizations to protect threatened species and ecosystems and help reverse the decline of wildlife,” said Kevin Callahan, vice president, Corporate Citizenship, The Walt Disney Company. “We also know that nature plays a meaningful role in the happiness and wellbeing of children, and these grants are key to our commitment to help inspire people around the world to experience the magic of nature.”

As part of the Increase the Time component of its initiative, Disney is supporting programs that engage young people in discovering the wonder of the natural world, in their backyards, their communities and other places that inspire their sense of discovery and hope for the future of the planet.

Organizations selected include:

  • Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots: Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is the youth action program of the Jane Goodall Institute. The program builds on the legacy and vision of Dr. Jane Goodall empowering young people to create community-based solutions to big challenges facing other people, animals and the environment we share. Disney’s grants to Roots & Shoots support programs in 12 countries to empower the next generation of environmental stewards.
  • National Recreation and Park AssociationMeet Me at the Park – With support from Disney Citizenship, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN, the National Recreation and Park Association will engage the public to vote for local park improvement projects in 16 communities. These park projects will connect kids to nature, inspire kids and families to live healthier lifestyles, and increase kids’ access to sports.
  • National Wildlife FederationButterfly Heroes – The National Wildlife Federation encourages kids and families to pledge to be Butterfly Heroes and commit to creating backyard garden habitats that benefit pollinators and offer opportunities for outdoor discovery.

Disney’s Reverse the Decline efforts provide funding to leading conservation organizations to drive collaboration, scientific research and community engagement in an effort to save wildlife and their habitats. As part of this initiative, Disney is contributing funding and expertise to protect ten at-risk animals, while also providing more than 100 strategic conservation grants to support the worldwide protection of wildlife and ecosystems.

Organizations selected include:

  • Panthera: Snow Leopard Conservation in China – China is home to an estimated 60 percent of the global snow leopard population. In China’s Tibetan Plateau, Panthera is conducting outreach to monasteries and herders to prevent potential human-wildlife conflict and empower local people to help support the conservation of snow leopards and other wildlife.
  • San Diego Zoo Global: Ocean to Table – Vaquita porpoises are the most endangered marine mammal in the world, threatened by accidental catch in gillnets when fishing for commercial species or for illegal fisheries. San Diego Zoo Global is collaborating with the local nonprofit organization Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans to work with local fishing communities in the upper Gulf of California, Mexico, to explore economic alternatives and provide hands-on education experiences, including a student competition to propose models for bringing responsibly sourced seafood to consumers.
  • Coastal Plains Institute: Building Communities that Conserve Wetlands – Florida’s ephemeral wetlands provide an important habitat for a diversity of plants and animals, including reptiles and amphibians. The Coastal Plains Institute is protecting rare striped newts and other wetland wildlife by providing hands-on learning and citizen science opportunities for students and other citizens to collect ecological data and help to detect future declines of amphibian species.
  • Wildlife ACT Fund Trust: Mkuze Community Conservation Project – Both black and white rhinos face unsustainable rates of poaching in South Africa, which is home to an estimated 74 percent of Africa’s remaining rhinos. The Wildlife ACT Fund Trust is leading education and awareness initiatives among communities living around South Africa’s Mkuze Game Reserve to improve the survival of black rhinos through art projects, bush camps, conservation clubs and educational games. The team is also collaborating with the provincial parks and wildlife authority to monitor black rhino populations and measure the conservation impact of community education efforts.
  • World Parrot Trust: Conservation of Tasman Parakeets – The critically endangered Tasman parakeet is the rarest forest bird on Australia’s Norfolk Island and currently faces threats of habitat loss from invasive plants. The World Parrot Trust is conserving the Tasman parakeet through research to identify the most suitable habitat for the birds on Norfolk and nearby Phillip Island. World Parrot Trust is additionally educating local people and visitors about the cultivation of native plants and the importance of this parakeet species.
  • Zoological Society of London (ZSL): Conserving the Pygmy Sloth in Panama – Pygmy sloths are critically endangered and only found on the tiny island of Escudo de Veraguas in Panama. With sloths’ habitat threatened by increasing human pressures on the island, ZSL is developing a participatory conservation management plan to protect pygmy sloths while respecting local customs and culture. The team is working with key stakeholders to raise awareness, encourage sustainable resource use, and monitor the sloth population. This project forms part of ZSL’s pioneering EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) of Existence programme.

With the 2016-2017 grants, the DCF has now awarded more than $65 million to reverse the decline of wildlife and increase the time kids spend in nature. Since 1995, this support has:

  • Helped to conserve more than 400 species around the world.
  • Funded protection of 143,400 square miles of habitat—an area greater than 2,400 Walt Disney World Resorts.
  • Helped to provide tens of millions of kids with nature experiences.

The majority of funding is provided by Disney and supplemented by guest contributions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, The Seas and Land at Epcot, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club Resorts and select Walt Disney World resorts.

For a complete list of 2016-2017 DCF grant recipients, visit

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