The Innovative Solutions Grants+ Program

Leading the charge for conservation impact in the aquarium and zoo community

visitors at an aquarium

The Grants+ Program evolved from The Ocean Project’s efforts to help our partner organizations (e.g., zoos, aquariums, and museums) to more effectively advance conservation action; it allowed us to invest in community innovators by providing not only financial resources, but also free strategic communications services and evaluation help for stronger conservation impact. Thanks to funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we awarded approximately $400,000 in grants of up to $30,000 that also came with pro bono strategic communications coaching and technical expertise to catalyze peer-to-peer sharing and learning. While these grants were only available to US-based and AZA-accredited aquariums and zoos–due to stipulations from NOAA– the lessons learned continue to benefit the aquarium and zoo community as a whole, both in the U.S. and throughout the world. In addition to the links below, you can read about more recent examples on our blog. We update the blog regularly so keep coming back for the latest!

Why Aquariums and Zoos?

Aquariums and zoos are increasingly exploring opportunities to advance conservation by encouraging their guests to join them in taking action. The Ocean Project has supported our partner aquariums and zoos since 1997 with public opinion research, and other tools and resources aimed at understanding how we can effectively engage visitors and the public for conservation outcomes.

Public opinion research has shown that visitor interest in environmental issues tends to spike during a visit to an aquarium or zoo. Moreover, it tells us that visitors not only trust aquariums and zoos, but also expect and appreciate information from them about ways to help protect the animals and the environment. When considering the hundreds of millions of visitors to aquariums and zoos each year, there is a huge potential for conservation impact!

Updates from past grantees