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Bowness Family Foundation gives 1 million reasons to support zoos

19 July 2017
Zoos Victoria has received a $1 million gift establishing an Endowment Fund which will strengthen its long term position as delivering world-leading zoo experiences.
This leadership gift has been made by the Bowness Family Foundation, created by philanthropist and businessman Bill Bowness AO. The Bowness Family Foundation has previously made significant donations to education, the arts and social inclusion initiatives.
Chair of the Foundation and Zoo Board member, Natasha Bowness, says the gift is an investment in the long term future of Zoos Victoria. “The endowment will build the financial sustainability of one of the state’s strongest and most loved public institutions. It will further cement the Zoo’s position as one of the world’s leading zoo-based conservation organisations,” Ms Bowness said.
In welcoming the gift, Zoos Victoria CEO Dr Jenny Gray is humbled by the support and the affection people express for Melbourne’s Zoos. “While we are experts in animals and conservation, it is the support of Victorians that enable us to deliver world class experiences for both animals and visitors at our three iconic venues,” Dr Gray said.
The Bowness family have inspired the creation of a Zoo Endowment Fund, which is a gift to the future and to zoo visitors for years to come. The interest from the Endowment Fund will be used to develop the capacity of the organisation, deliver high quality education programs, improve animal welfare and fight the extinction of endangered species.
Ms Bowness says the strength of a public institution is always dependent on its financial sustainability. She says she hopes this gift encourages others to provide much needed support for one of Victoria’s most visited and valued public icons. “The Bowness Family Foundation has sown a seed that will grow in substance over time and benefit the people of Victoria for many future generations,” Anne Ward, Zoos Victoria Chair said upon accepting the gift at Melbourne Zoo’s Photo Ark exhibition.
“Zoos Victoria has 155 years’ proud tradition of engaging the community of Victoria with amazing animals; this gift will ensure that work continues for another 155 years,” Ms Ward said.