Proposals submitted to the AZA Conservation Endowment Fund (CEF) are classified into two of the following categories: animal health, animal welfare, conservation education, field conservation and/or reintroduction, management and/or breeding and research. The AZA Conservation Department verifies that all proposal application instructions and requirements have been met and returns those that were not. Verified proposals are then subjected to a rigorous two-tiered review process that determines which proposals will be funded.
Once classified, each proposal is sent to the two corresponding AZA Committee Chairs who coordinate the first tier review. These AZA Committees include the: Animal Health Committee, Animal Welfare Committee, Conservation Education Committee, Field Conservation Committee, Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee, and Research Coordinators Committee. Taxon Advisory Groups, Species Survival Plan® Programs, and Scientific Advisory Groups may be called on to provide expert input on relevant proposals. The Committee Chairs then distribute each proposal to at least three Committee reviewers who provide required comments and rank the proposals in a specified manner.
The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) then meets to review the top-ranked proposals, with each Committee Chair acting as an advocate for the top-ranked proposals in his/her category. The goal of the SAC review is to select the best mix of high quality projects, representing various topics, disciplines, and taxa. The SAC also reviews the project budget and may recommend that the award amount be accepted as is, increased, or decreased. Most awards fall in the $10,000-$20,000 range. However, larger awards are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Membership on the SAC is determined by position in the AZA network and may change with the appointment of new Chairs by the incoming AZA President and the election of new Board members. SAC members can designate individuals to represent them at meetings. In the event of a conflict of interest (i.e., the member, his/her institution or a conservation program s/he chairs is being considered for a grant), Chairs must excuse him/herself from the discussion of that particular proposal.
Because the amount of funds requested is typically larger than the amount of funds available, only the highest ranked proposals are recommended for funding. The AZA Board of Directors makes final decisions regarding all CEF awards. All applicants are informed of the Board's decisions in early September. Public announcements of awards are typically made at the AZA Annual Conference in September.
2012 Scientific Advisory Committee
Pam Dennis; Chair, AZA Animal Health Committee
Nadja Wielebnowski; Chair, AZA Animal Welfare Committee
Carrie Chen; Chair, AZA Conservation Education Committee
Steve Burns; Chair, AZA Field Conservation Committee
Tamara Bettinger; Chair, AZA Research and Technology Committee
Bob Wiese; Chair, AZA Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee
Pat Simmons; President, AZA Board of Directors
Candice Dorsey; Scientific Advisor, Conservation Endowment Fund
Shelly Grow; Chair, Conservation Endowment Fund