ABU DHABI - The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, MBZ Fund, on Tuesday announced it will expand its grant-making criteria to help partners meet core emergency operating needs precipitated by the COVID-19 crisis.
The move aims to ensure the survival of small, grassroots conservation organisations whose finances have been impacted by the pandemic.
To help organisations avoid layoffs, cutbacks, or ceasing operations completely, the MBZ Fund will enable grassroots organisations on the frontlines to apply relief grants of up to $25,000 that can be used to cover core operating expenses, such as staff salaries, office rent, and other essential overhead costs, the fund said in a press statement on Tuesday.
Razan Al Mubarak, the Founding Managing Director of the MBZ Fund, said the fund decided to expand on its grant-making practices after conducting a survey in April 2020 of more than 300 of its grantees in 85 different countries.
Aimed at gauging the effects of the pandemic on its grantees, the survey found that many conservationists were very concerned about the financial futures of their organisations. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said their organisation had been negatively impacted, with 57 percent reporting their organisation was experiencing financial difficulties and 22 percent reporting their organisations planned to eliminate jobs.
Many grantees highlighted the loss of revenue for their organisations due to park, zoo, and aquarium closures, the decline in eco-tourism, and the reduction in student enrollment for courses and fieldwork experiences.
"It’s clear that conservation organisations cannot protect threatened species if they cannot meet basic needs like staff salaries and rent," said Al Mubarak. "The fund has always been dedicated to keeping conservationists in the field. Allowing conservationists to lose their jobs or their organisations to collapse would be detrimental to fulfilling our long-term mission." Al Mubarak added, "Our hope is that other foundations and philanthropists join the MBZ Fund in easing restrictions so that conservation organisations can make it through these challenging times and weather the economic impact of the pandemic."
The COVID-19 relief grants will be distributed in two rounds. The deadline to apply for the first-round of relief grants from the MBZ Fund is 31st October, 2020, with successful grants receiving funding at the end of the December 2020.
A second round of grant applications 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 endowment providing micro-grants of up to $25,000 to support in-the-field conservation projects for the world’s most threatened species.
Since 2009, the Fund has supported 2,150 projects in over 180 countries, targeting more than 1,400 different species and subspecies. Many grantees have succeeded in rediscovering lost species, discovering new ones, and reducing threats to countless others.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2020.