Great Apes and Gibbons Program Grant

Arcus Foundation

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Grant amount: Up to US $2,000,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Organizations

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building, Education / Outreach, Research, General Operating Expense, Project / Program, Capital Project

Location of project: Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada; Central African Republic; China Show all

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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About this funder:



The ultimate goal of the Great Apes and Gibbons program is to achieve conservation and respect for the great and small apes. This is accomplished by ensuring that viable populations of great apes and gibbons are protected from extinction and living in habitats that are managed sustainably and integrated with economic development objectives; and that there is international commitment to effectively support the captive care of great apes in sanctuaries and not tolerate their use in entertainment or invasive medical research.

Program Areas

Apes and Ethics

The goal of this program area is to increase recognition of and respect for the rights and intrinsic value of the great apes, especially the right to live free of abuse, exploitation, and private ownership. The program area seeks to shift cultural values and appreciation of humans and our relationship to other apes, and significantly decrease the need for sanctuaries and improve great apes’ chances of survival in the wild.

Arcus Supports:

  • Initiatives to improve the knowledge base, development of best practices, education of key audiences, forging of partnerships and development of policy with respect to how humans treat other animals; organizations and individuals working to improve animal welfare, to improve capacity and coordination and to enable stronger strategic focus on these issues.

  • Efforts to improve the quality and sharing of knowledge that is driven by research and amplifying the voices of those who are currently less involved in discourses and debates.

  • Dissemination of knowledge, learning from others and shared experiences through convenings, social media and distribution of studies/reports.

Conservation of Apes

The goal of this program is to reduce threats to apes in their natural habitats. It focuses specifically on the protection of ape populations and habitats in priority landscapes. Prioritization is based on the size of the habitat, size and density of the ape population, the number and species and level of threat, the presence of effective conservation efforts, and the existence of supportive institutions and legislative frameworks.

Arcus investments follow three guiding principles: Support goes to initiatives that are long-term, holistic, and collaborative.

The current conservation strategy has identified 25 priority landscapes: 12 in pristine areas [1], 11 in frontier areas [2], and 2 isolated area [3]. 

  1. Trinational (Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic); Virungas (Rwanda, DRC, Uganda); Eastern DRC (DRC); the Greater Mahale Ecosystem (Tanzania); Lomako (DRC); Tshuapa-Lomami-Lualaba (DRC); Northern Rep. of Congo (Republic of Congo); Leuser (Indonesia); Central Kalimantan (Indonesia); Arabella-Schwanner (Indonesia); Gunung Palung (Indonesia); the Hukaung-Htamanthi landscape (Myanmar)
  2. Batang Toro (Indonesia); Eastern Sabah (Malaysia); West Kalimantan (Indonesia); Western Java (Indonesia); The Mentawai Islands (Indonesia); Fouta Djallon (Guinea); Cross-river (Nigeria, Cameroon); The Northern Annamites (Laos); Veun Sai-siem Pang (Cambodia); Tai-Sapo (Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia); East Kalimantan (Indonesia) 
  3. the Cao-vit Landscape (Vietnam/China); Hainan (China)

While support is available for short-term projects to mitigate sudden threats or meet urgent ape protection needs, the majority of Arcus conservation investments are designed to support:

  • Organizations which take a holistic approach, and which focus on long-term engagement and collaboration;
  • Collaborative efforts with influential policy-level partners—including governments, multinational, and private sector organizations—to analyze socio-economic factors and link livelihoods and development initiatives with conservation goals;
  • Capacity building and investment in organizations and leaders to meet locally appropriate needs and priorities and to monitor and assess the impact of their work.

To learn more about apes in their natural habitat, the threats they face, and how you can protect them, visit the A.P.E.S. Portal.

Well-Being of Apes in Captivity

The goal of this program area is to strengthen international protection of great apes in their range states and beyond, and to ensure high standards of care for them in captivity by providing them with effective sanctuaries. The program aims to halt the use of great apes in entertainment and in invasive medical research. For captive apes in range states, the Foundation focuses on rehabilitation and where possible and appropriate, reintroduction into natural habitats. Support is given to sanctuaries which show a no breeding policy; provision of high standards of care, or willingness to provide the highest standards of care; and engagement with collaborative networks to share learning and experience. For captive apes outside range states, the Foundation focuses exclusively on the United States and Canada where it supports the highest standards of long-term care, with no breeding or exploitative use, and ethologically appropriate, naturalistic settings where possible.

Arcus Supports:

  • Thought leadership and behavior change through awareness raising, policy, legislation and public engagement;
  • capacity building of organizations working to improve provision of care for the well-being of apes and to reduce the number held in captivity;
  • efforts to ensure prosecution related to illegal poaching and trading, and rescue of individual victims from hunters/traders;
  • work aimed at re-introduction of former captives into their natural settings.

Non-Range States Strategy:

Arcus supports the following in the United States and Canada:

  • Efforts to halt the use of apes in invasive research (biomedical and behavioral/cognitive), entertainment and for personal use (e.g. as pets);
  • Work to strengthen sanctuary capacity to provide life-long care to apes at the highest possible standards;
  • Efforts to ensure sanctuary, welfare and policy organizations are working effectively together to monitor implementation of legislation, regulations and criteria for use of captive apes;
  • Creation of an evidence base and knowledge to support education of the public, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders on the need to provide care for apes that reflects their sentience, dignity, and need for emotional well-being.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • The Arcus Foundation requires all organizations seeking funding to have in place a board-approved Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy that specifically includes and lists sexual orientation and gender identity, and requires compliance with all other applicable federal and local EEO laws. 
  • What Arcus Foundation funds:
    • General operating support
    • Project support for specific programs
    • Public policy advocacy/organizing campaigns
    • Public policy research/dissemination
    • Capital projects
    • Capacity building
    • Multi-year support


  • Arcus Foundation does not fund individuals or support requests to pay off debts.
  • In addition, the foundation does not support political activities or attempts to influence specific legislation.
  • Arcus Foundation do not make grants to individuals, or for scholarships, lobbying purposes, political campaigns, film production, or medical research. 
  • Organizations with noncompliant EEO policies will not be considered for funding.