June 11, 2009
The Bay Institute Acquires Aquarium of the Bay, Completing Dramatic Turnaround
The Bay Institute's Acquisition Transforms Financially Successful Aquarium of the Bay Into a Nonprofit Center for Science, Education and Conservation for San Francisco Bay
As part of its acquisition strategy, The Bay Institute formed The Bay Institute Aquarium Foundation, a 501(3)(c) nonprofit, to purchase the Aquarium from
"This acquisition creates a new model of social entrepreneurship that partners a leading science-based nonprofit with a successful, public aquarium," stated
"Today's acquisition was the final step in a very long, but fulfilling, journey to nonprofit status," stated
Originally opened as Underwater World in 1996, the Aquarium declared bankruptcy in 1999, was acquired by BNP Paribas in 2000, and then underwent a massive renovation and repositioning led by Frawley in 2001. Over the next three years, the Aquarium was accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and reached profitability. In 2005, Frawley approached The Bay Institute to acquire the Aquarium and turn it into a nonprofit center for education, science and conservation.
When The Bay Institute was unable to complete a capital campaign in time to purchase Aquarium of the Bay in
"As a fourth-generation San Franciscan, I wanted to ensure that the city had a waterfront aquarium where people would both have fun and leave with a sense of purpose to protect the San Francisco Bay," Anderson commented. "I believe that restoring the health of the Bay is a critical environmental prerogative, and feel privileged to have been part of the aquarium's evolution to a nonprofit marine nature center that inspires people to conserve one of the most ecologically rich places on earth."
The Bay Institute's acquisition of the Aquarium of the Bay is an impressive feat for the small nonprofit in trying economic times. The Bay Institute's capital campaign to acquire the aquarium attracted contributions from many individual donors, donations from corporations and foundations, and major funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Marin Community Foundation and the Dean Witter Foundation. Notable individual donors included
The Bay Institute and The Bay Institute Aquarium Foundation will continue fundraising efforts to secure additional support for expansion of their science, education and conservation programs, as well as new joint programs with other education and environmental organizations.
"Raising the capital to acquire Aquarium of the Bay through traditional fundraising during the most serious economic downturn in our country's recent history was an uphill battle," stated
About Aquarium of the Bay
Aquarium of the Bay is unique nature center dedicated to inspiring conservation of the San Francisco Bay and all marine environments. It is the only aquarium featuring exhibitions focused specifically on the rich and diverse aquatic life and distinctive ecosystems of the Bay and its surrounding waters. The aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and certified as a Green Business by the city of
About The Bay Institute
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SOURCE Aquarium of the Bay