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Established in 1908 through the foresight and subsequent endowment given by founder Annie Alexander, the MVZ has become a leader in research and education on terrestrial vertebrate diversity and the steward of the premier collection in the western United States. Over the past decade State funding of the MVZ has declined by 40% and worse is to come. To sustain our leadership in discovery and understanding of vertebrate diversity, and to protect the collection for future generations, we now depend on donations. Any gifts, large or small, will make a difference.

If you wish to support our program, you can choose among several museum funds. Read more about these funds below, and by clicking on each fund’s link, you will be directed to the University’s secure on-line gift form. If you are uncertain about how best to support the MVZ, or are considering a large-scale gift, please contact the Director, Michael Nachman, at

Our core needs, related to the funds described below, are:
  • To develop and protect the collections;
  • Using creative development of Biodiversity Informatics, to enhance our research and share the knowledge derived from faculty and student research;
  • To develop our capacity to apply new tools, e.g.  from genomics research, to long-standing questions about the evolution and dynamics of vertebrate diversity;
  • To support student education, including access to our collections and facilities by researchers from developing countries; and
  • To protect and develop the Hastings Reserve as a site for long-term research on ecological and evolutionary dynamics of vertebrate populations.
Friends of the MVZ Fund

Though our primary aim is to build endowments as the key to future financial viability, giving to the Friends of the MVZ Fund will enable us to reduce the near-term impact of cuts to State funding and declines in endowment income.

The Friends of the MVZ Fund provides the Director with a source of unrestricted funds to support areas of operations, research, or education most impacted by ongoing cuts to our core budget.

    Gifts to the Friends of the MVZ Fund do the following:
  • Maintain and expand the MVZ’s collections,
  • Enhance the undergraduate research experience through our award-winning Undergraduate Program,
  • Assist researchers from developing countries to visit the MVZ and use our collections and facilities,
  • Enable exploration of new technologies, especially new tools from genomics, and
  • Support outreach to our alumni, friends and the public.
The David & Marvalee Wake Fund, established by students and colleagues of this illustrious pair, supports student research in vertebrate evolutionary biology.
The Ned Johnson Fund  supports field and laboratory research in ornithology.

To give to these funds, donate to the Friends of the MVZ Fund and specify either "Wake Fund" or "Johnson Fund" in the comments section of the gift form. Your gift to these funds will:

  • Increase our ability to recruit and support the very best graduate students in the nation,
  • Promote independence of research done by these students,
  • Maintain the outstanding record of success with NSF graduate student research awards,
  • ...and as funds allow, support research by undergraduate and postdoctoral scholars in the MVZ.
The Grinnell Fund

The Grinnell Fund, an endowment recently established via a $1M gift from a major donor, will provide essential support to the MVZ collections and program. Our aim is to double (at least) this endowment over the coming 5 years.

    Gifts to the Grinnell Fund do the following:
  • Ensure the long-term viability of the collections and support their use by the global community;
  • Directly support MVZ staff positions that are central to maintaining the collections and supporting our program;
  • Maintain the international prominence of the MVZ in research and education relating to vertebrate diversity.
Friends of Hastings

The Hastings Natural History Reservation is a jewel in the crown of UC’s Natural Reserve System. This >2500 acre research station has supported long-term research on ecological dynamics of coastal oak woodland communities since the late 1930s, and the value of these studies only increases with time. Hundreds of students have had their first taste of field biology here, either through visiting classes, as field assistants, or as graduate researchers. There is great potential to build the Hastings program to address urgent conservation and management issues in the central coast, as well as to continue the traditional of strong fundamental research. But, like the MVZ’s campus operations, Hastings is threatened by cuts to its core funding from the State.

You can help meet near-term needs by giving to the Friends of Hastings. For the long-term, our aim is to build the Hastings Fund, an endowment to support core operations and facilities at the field station.

    Gifts to the Friends of Hastings Fund (and the future Hastings Fund)…
  • Support core operations, thereby minimizing user fees and increasing accessibility for students to the field station;
  • Enable upgrades to facilities, increasing the scope and impact of research conducted at Hastings;
  • Support outreach to the regional community, including programs with middle schools.

Several endowments in the MVZ support student research, enabling us to recruit the very best and then support them to compete successfully for external funding (eg. NSF Dissertation Improvement Grants). These funds are central to the quality of our program, as they free students to undertake research independent of their advisor’s main programs.  Our priority is to build two recently established endowments.

Friends of AmphibiaWeb

The Friends of Amphibiaweb Fund provides funding for Amphibiaweb, the pre-eminent on-line database of amphibian diversity with a page for every known amphibian species (>6000, updated daily). The MVZ is a world leader in the development and use of  Biodiversity Informatics to support research, education and outreach.

    Gifts to Friends of Amphibiaweb will help ensure that...
  • This key information portal is kept current as new species are discovered (>2%/yr increase), conservation status changes and information on taxonomy and geographic range changes
  • We can continue to involve undergraduate students in reviewing and entering information.

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