Fundraising: How we got the money - Zoological Society of London

The Zoological Society of London, the operator of London Zoo, will receive a grant of £1m over five years from the Clore Duffield Foundation to renovate its small-mammal building. Philippa Roberts, head of development outlines the story.

Why did you apply to the foundation? The building, known as the Clore Centre, was originally funded by the philanthropist Charles Clore in 1967. We felt it was appropriate to ask the foundation to help pay for a major refurbishment of the revolutionary facility with its South American rainforest theme, which its founder paid for. The foundation also supports projects with an education connection, and around 80,000 children visit London Zoo each year. Our first approach to the foundation in four decades has worked: we will receive £200,000 each year.

As part of the conditions of funding, we're obliged to produce progress reports every four months and present a final report with photos when the new building is finished. We must also acknowledge the foundation's support somewhere in the building.

What was the application process? Our trustees and senior staff held a meeting with the foundation, which then invited us to make a 15-page funding proposal. We presented drawings of the building, inside and out, in 2003. A series of phone calls completed the process, a funding commitment arrived in June 2004 and the first instalment arrived in November.

We had to deliver very clear plans and a thorough budget breakdown of the type expected for such a large-scale project. The whole process was appropriate for a project of this size.

Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? The project will be carried out by our in-house department for building and construction work. The funding doesn't pay for staff time because we didn't put those costs into the project.

Did you apply to other funders? Not yet, because we are working on many other projects. We have until the summer to find a further £600,000 to make the Clore Centre project possible. The building will close to start construction later this year and re-open again in 2007.

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