Tuesday the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ Fund) announced of expanding its grant-making criteria to help partners during the Covid-19 crisis. The move will ensure survival of small, grassroot level conservation organizations who are facing impacted finances have been impacted due to the pandemic. The MBZ Fund will help frontline grassroots organizations to apply relief grants of up to $25,000. This will help them cover core operating expenses, such as staff salaries, office rent, and other essential costs.
Razan Al Mubarak, the Founding Managing Director of the MBZ Fund, said that fund decided to expand its grant-making practices after an April 2020 survey of more than 300 of its grantees in 85 different countries. The survey was aimed to determine the effects of pandemic on its grantees.
Survey established that many conservationists were concerned regarding the financial futures of their organizations. 68% of participants said their organization had been negatively impacted, with 57% reported that their organisation was experiencing financial struggles and 22% said that their organizations were planning on job cutting. Many grantees also said that there was a loss of revenue due to closing of park, zoo, and aquarium, decline in eco-tourism, and decline in student enrollment for courses and fieldwork experiences.
Al Mubarak said, “It’s clear that conservation organizations cannot protect threatened species if they cannot meet basic needs like staff salaries and rent. The fund has always been dedicated to keeping conservationists in the field. Allowing conservationists to lose their jobs or their organizations to collapse would be detrimental to fulfilling our long-term mission.”
He added, “Our hope is that other foundations and philanthropists join the MBZ Fund in easing restrictions so that conservation organizations can make it through these challenging times and weather the economic impact of the pandemic."
The Covid-19 relief grants will be distributed among organizations in two rounds. For first round of relief grants the deadline to apply is 31st October 2020, and grants receiving funding at the end of the December 2020. Grant applications second round will be accepted before 28th February 2021, with successful applications receiving funding before the end of April 2021. For grant application guidelines and criteria, visit www.speciesconservation.org/grants/
The MBZ Fund is a philanthropic benefaction that provides micro-grants of up to $25,000 that supports in-the-field conservation projects for the world’s most threatened species. Since 2009, the Fund has extended support to 2,150 projects in over 180 countries, that has targeted over 1,400 different species and subspecies.