Support the Society with a Grant
The Zoological Society of Milwaukee seeks support in the form of grants, defined as money gifted to the Society by individuals, foundations, or corporations. Grants help the Society fulfill our mission to conserve, educate, and support the Milwaukee County Zoo. Many of our grantors support the Society year after year, helping us continue to deliver our mission-based work.
Grants to the Society typically fall within one, or a combination, of these categories:
Capital Campaign Support
General Operating Support
Make It Possible by Making a Grant
The best way to learn more about making a grant to the Society is to contact our grants coordinator at 414-918-6152. Our Development Department is available to meet with interested grantors to discuss how your philanthropic goals might coincide with the Society’s greatest needs. With at least 10 grant-supported programs in our Conservation Education Department alone, we’re certain we can identify the right fit for any grantor!
Grant Funding for Education Programs
Our flagship conservation education programs focus on career development for high school and college students and expanding educational opportunities for underserved Milwaukee-area youth. The Society partners with public schools, local community organizations, and high school and college students to educate thousands of children from economically challenged neighborhoods who otherwise may not have access to the Zoo due to financial and transportation limitations. Grant funding to the Society’s flagship education programs is allocated based on the greatest need.
Check Out Our Flagship Programming
Through grant funding, underserved youth populations have the opportunity to participate in life-changing education programs like:
The Society’s life science school program with a 30+ year standing in the community, opens up the world of animals, conservation, and the environment to hundreds of 2nd, 3rd, and 4thgrade children in the Milwaukee area. Animal Ambassador fosters students’ curiosity about wildlife and conservation through in-classroom visits and Zoo field trips, encouraging students to see themselves as “ambassadors” speaking for the animals who can’t speak for themselves. Through explicit teaching of empathy, and the inclusion of social-emotional learning concepts, Animal Ambassador helps students develop an empathic connection to wildlife, increasing the likelihood that they’ll take conservation action.
Summer Camps for Underserved Youth
Summer Camps for Underserved Youth partners with six local youth community centers to bring science and conservation education to children in a fun and interactive manner at no cost to the center or families. Children attend Zoo Summer Camps, participating with peers in full-day immersive experiences that include Zoo tours, hands-on learning opportunities, and art activities. Developmentally appropriate curricula provide interactive and interdisciplinary learning opportunities that foster children’s curiosity about animals and scientific concepts. To round out their learning, each child receives a Zoobook which integrates a literary component that extends the memories from this experience beyond the summer months.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee’s REACH
The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee’s REACH (Recreation, Education & Careers, Arts & Culture, Civic Engagement, and Health & Fitness) program which provides education to matches (“Bigs and Littles”) with the goal of building long-lasting relationships while growing understanding of the natural world. Staff from both organizations work together to develop hands-on, partner-focused experiences that increase exposure to educational, cultural, and community-based activities. Matches are provided with an opportunity to see the Zoo as a place to learn and discover ways they can work together toward stewardship of the natural world.
Nature Play Partnership with Milwaukee Public Schools
Nature Play Partnership with Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) brings K4 and K5 students from approximately 10 MPS schools (primarily located in underserved neighborhoods) and their trusted adults to Zoo grounds for an engaging, outdoor, nature-based experience. The intent is to provide hands-on learning, problem-solving, and free play while promoting an appreciation for the outdoors through adult-to-child engagement.
Conservation Education Internship Program
The Conservation Education Internship Program provides professional experience to 20 college students every summer and fosters professional growth and career development, giving students real-world experience in conservation education. For 10 weeks, paid interns work with children ages 2-14 in classes and summer camp sessions, assisting instructors in classroom activities, leading groups of children on Zoo tours, and supervising high school assistants.
Our high school programming is furthered by hosting Career Days designed to educate youth about animal science and conservation and support students’ connections between their education and career choices. Working with local community centers and the Milwaukee County Diversity Committee, this collaborative outreach event offers underserved youth in the Milwaukee area an interactive career-focused summer learning opportunity. Participating youth are transported by bus to the Zoo for an all-day, free-of-cost event that includes presentations by zookeeper staff and members of the Diversity Committee, the chance to feed a giraffe, and behind-the-scenes tours – all while learning more about careers at the Zoo.
Teens Grow Greens
The Society and Zoo co-host a Teens Grow Greens (TGG) graduate apprentice from spring through fall within our education and horticulture departments. This apprenticeship program provides beautification of and learning opportunities in the education building’s backyard through the expansion of pollinator habitat on Zoo grounds, along with immersive career development and horticulture opportunities for Milwaukee youth involved in TGG.