Jeff Swanagan Memorial Scholarship

Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)

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Grant amount: Approximately US $1,200

Anticipated deadline: Jul 12, 2020 8:59pm PDT

Applicant type: Working Professional

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building, Conference

Membership: Applicants must be a member of this organization to apply. Become a member.

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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About this funder:



The late Jeff Swanagan was the Executive Director of the Columbus Zoo. His career was shaped by his experience as an educator, when he saw how deeply people were affected when they connected to the wonders of nature. Jeff had an unwavering belief that zoos and aquariums are about people as much as they are about animals. He knew that people visit zoos not just to see animals, but to spend time together. Jeff saw endless potential – both to touch the lives of people and to save the lives of animals. To capture this idea, he coined the phrase “touch the heart to teach the mind.” Simply getting people into the Zoo wasn’t enough – he wanted to inspire and engage them, to get them invested in each other, animals, and conservation. Jeff knew that without inspiring people, without touching their hearts, you cannot teach their minds nor hope to make the world a better place.

This scholarship is sponsored by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium  and offered in memory of Jeff Swanagan. The scholarship promotes Jeff Swanagan’s philosophy that you must “touch the heart to teach the mind.” This scholarship may be applied towards any of the AZA professional development courses.

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


  • Applicant must be an AZA individual member and employed at an  AZA-accredited institution or AZA-certified facility.
  • International members of AZA facilities are also welcome to apply.  This scholarship is merit based.
  • Within four months of attending the AZA Professional Training  course, the recipient will submit to AZA an article describing how  participating in the course helped them “touch the heart to teach  the mind,” to will be published in an issue of CONNECT magazine.
  • Only one scholarship application may be submitted per individual per year.

You must be a member of this organization to apply for this award - become a member. Applicant must be an AZA individual member.


  • An individual cannot be awarded the same scholarship more than once.
  • Those who received an AZA scholarship within the past three years will not be considered for this award.