Protect the Ocean for Future Generations
Over the past 34 years, thanks to the generosity of our dedicated members and donors, we've been able to expand our education and conservation programs, and influence new generations of ocean leaders.
Unfortunately, growing threats from climate change, overfishing and plastic pollution continue to threaten ocean ecosystems — our planet's life support system. We must respond, and we will.
We're making a difference, but there is still so much work ahead of us. That's why we've made it a top priority to build our endowment, to provide permanent on-going support and ensure our programs continue far into the future.
In 2018, we launched our new Endowment Society for donors who share our passion for protecting the ocean and who want to help secure our programs through an endowment in their name, or to honor a family member or friend. Personal endowments can be established with a gift of $100,000 or more, and may be pledged over a number of years.
We're deeply grateful to the donors who created personal endowments last year as part of our Endowment Fund for the Future of the Ocean. Their generosity supports our animal care, education initiatives, exhibits and global ocean conservation programs. Their contributions included one significant gift to permanently endow our veterinary services. Another donor added a second gift to an existing personal endowment for our Children's Education Endowment Fund to help guarantee free admission for schoolchildren. In 2018, our endowment funds reached a total of $232 million.
Our Finance Committee, comprising trustees with strong business and investment expertise, oversees our investment guidelines and monitors performance on a regular basis. Our endowment, including both donor-designated gifts and our Board Designated Fund, is managed for the long term. Even with the significant downturn in the stock market at the end of 2018, the average annual return was 8.2 percent over the last 10 years — a remarkable achievement given the recession in 2008–2009.
Each year, 4 percent of the three-year rolling average market value of the endowment is released to help support our programs. In 2018, our endowment distribution provided $6.9 million in critical support toward the $40.8 million needed to fund our ocean conservation mission and programs.
As the need for our ocean conservation work grows more urgent by the day, our donors can provide meaningful and lasting support that will build our endowment and help us protect the ocean — forever.
Our first endowed position
Jane Dunaway has supported the Aquarium since we opened our doors 35 years ago. Her loyal commitment and generosity have helped us expand our exhibits and programs to inspire people to protect the ocean and ocean wildlife. Last year, with her extraordinary gift, she created the Aquarium's first-ever endowed position: the Jane Dunaway Director of Veterinary Services.
Caring for the animals at the Aquarium, as well as those we rescue and return to the wild, requires a highly skilled and dedicated veterinary and animal care staff. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Mike Murray, a prominent veterinary scientist, leading this program as our inaugural Jane Dunaway Director of Veterinary Services. We are deeply grateful for Jane's long-standing support and her endowment gift, which guarantees we can continue this vital work to ensure the highest standard of care for more than 35,000 creatures under our care, representing over 550 species, for generations to come.
The Endowment Society
In 2018, we established our Endowment Society to recognize our most dedicated donors. Their commitment to the Aquarium and to the future of the ocean is demonstrated through their generous support to permanently secure our conservation programs — now and for the future.
We are deeply grateful and honored to recognize the following supporters as founding members of our Endowment Society:
Our Ocean Legacy Circle
We also wish to express our gratitude to the 581 donors in our Ocean Legacy Circle for all they do to inspire conservation of the ocean.
If you have included the Monterey Bay Aquarium as the recipient of a gift from your estate plan, please contact Mary Mullen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 831.648.4913. We would like to thank you and welcome you into our Ocean Legacy Circle.