Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and Friends of the National Zoo Dissolve Formal Partnership

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZP/SCBI) and the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ), an independent nonprofit organization, announce the dissolution of their partnership.

For nearly 63 years, FONZ has been a valued partner of the National Zoo, with a team dedicated to support the Zoo's mission, providing educational and fun experiences, such as Boo at the Zoo and summer camps, and managing a number of support services, from greeting guests to running the retail stores.  Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has had continued financial impacts on both FONZ and NZP/SCBI, which required a re-assessment of the longstanding relationship. 

Both organizations are committed to a seamless transition of the responsibilities FONZ has held for Zoo visitors and members. Transitioning at this time will enable both NZP/SCBI and FONZ to directly oversee mission-critical aspects of their work and sustain the financial health of their organizations during these challenging times as we continue to endure the financial impact of the pandemic and, for the Zoo, a prolonged public closure.  

Committed to its vision, mission and team, FONZ will continue its work to protect endangered wildlife and continue its long legacy of working with the community to provide engaging and inspiring educational opportunities.

FAQ on the transition to the Smithsonian National Zoo membership program