Virginia Aquarium Foundation Receives $1 Million Grant

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation was recently awarded a $1million grant from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation’s Batten Educational Achievement Fund to establish an endowment.

The endowment will create a Virginia Aquarium Batten Fellowship for Professional Development. This will enable Aquarium staff members to further their knowledge and professional engagement in support of the Aquarium’s conservation mission. The fellowship will also assist talented undergraduate and graduate college students to acquire valuable education and work experience through internships with the education, animal care, research and technical divisions of the Aquarium.

“Thanks to our talented and highly specialized staff, the Virginia Aquarium has established a 25-year record of accomplishment in the areas of marine education and conservation,” said Virginia Aquarium Executive Director Lynn Clements. “The Batten Fellowship strengthens existing collaborations with local universities and marks a major step in the Aquarium’s development to national prominence in conservation education.”

The Batten Education Achievement Fund is a donor-advised fund designed to help young people in southeastern Virginia develop the knowledge and skills needed to become productive, self-sufficient citizens. In 2003, Frank and Jane Batten gave the community foundation $20.5 million to create the fund. Over the years, the Batten Fund has given $1million grants to various nonprofits in the region, totaling $14 million to date. “The Virginia Aquarium Foundation is honored to be one of its recipients,” Clements said.

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring conservation of the marine environment through education, research and sustainable practices. It was formed in 1981, three years before construction of the Aquarium began. Over the years, the foundation’s role in supporting the Aquarium has included garnering financial support to pay for the Aquarium’s exhibits and has expanded to include funding education programs, and research and conservation efforts through the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program.