Concerned Washingtonians form Friends of the National Zoo to raise funds for much-needed repairs.
Retired Zoo Director Willliam Mann donates $50 and becomes the first FONZ member.
FONZ begins its first behavior watch program, then known as "preg watch," for the birth of a baby black rhino.
FONZ funds one of the Zoo's first conservation projects, conducting field studies of elephants in Sri Lanka. The $5,000 gift was a significant contribution for FONZ donors at the time.
FONZ helps fund the Zoo’s first program to release captive-born endangered golden lion tamarins into their native rainforests in Brazil.
FONZ is instrumental in negotiating and securing 3,150 acres of pastures, in Front Royal, Va.—now known as the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Over the years, SCBI has trained 4,000 wildlife and conservation professionals from 60 countries.
FONZ makes its first research and education grant to the Zoo: $30,000.
FONZ host its first fundraising event: ZooFari. ZooFari’s success encourages FONZ to create a full calendar of fundraising festivities to benefit the Zoo.
Once believed to be extinct, black-footed ferrets are released back into the North American Great Plains, thanks in large part to SCBI’s cutting-edge science supported by FONZ.
FONZ hits a fundraising milestone, providing $2.1 million in services and funds to the Zoo—$500,000 was earmarked for conservation studies.
FONZ launches a major campaign to fund the new giant panda conservation exhibit and secure the arrival of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. Thanks to the FONZ partnership with Fujifilm, the campaign raises more than $13 million.
Kandula, a male Asian elephant, is born as a result of artificial insemination, a process perfected by Smithsonian research and partially funded by FONZ.
The first annual ZooLights is made possible as a result of FONZ’s partnership with Pepco. The event has become a D.C.-area tradition.
FONZ helps keep Kids’ Farm open. FONZ members were integral to organizing fundraising events and securing long-term funding, including a $1 million sponsorship.
FONZ brings the first large-scale art exhibit to the Zoo, Washed Ashore, helping educate hundreds of thousands of visitors on the negative effects of ocean trash.
FONZ launches Conservation Nation, a new initiative to support Smithsonian conservation projects in the wild.
Friends of the National Zoo started 60 years ago with a $50 check, just a small group of D.C. residents that saw tremendous value in the Smithsonian's National Zoo and wanted to help it thrive.
With your passion, resources, energy, and love of wildlife, Friends of the National Zoo has been able to grow. Our volunteers and education programs continue to inspire the next generation of conservationists; we’re always striving to find new opportunities to fund conservation projects undertaken by Smithsonian scientists.