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Major + Principal Gifts

These principal ($1M and up) and major ($100,000 to $1M) gift opportunities provide powerful, new, and exciting directions for the Duke Lemur Center to expand its reach and positive impact on scientific discovery, student experiences, Madagascar conservation—and the protection of lemurs, the most endangered group of mammals on Earth.

For more information on these opportunities, please contact the DLC’s development officer, Mary Paisley, at (919) 401-7252 or She would love to talk with you!

Named wing: Expanded housing for lemurs

A gift of $3.5 million will enable the Duke Lemur Center to expand its conservation breeding program by adding a new wing onto Miaro, one of our existing animal housing areas. With these 20 new enclosures, the DLC could expand its conservation breeding program for species other institutions don’t have the expertise to house and care for, especially the critically endangered Coquerel’s sifaka.

Lemurs are the most threatened mammals on earth. Help us expand our conservation breeding program to preserve their genetic health as we actively seek to stem the tide of extinction.

Additional naming and major gift opportunities

Education and Discovery Center with Paleo Lab (new structure; cost and details to be determined)

Additional Natural Habitat Enclosures  (NHEs) for free-ranging lemurs ($300,000): With the requested funds, the DLC will create additional forested enclosures by redesigning its three largest Natural Habitat Enclosures. By increasing the number of smaller enclosures, more animals will have the opportunity to free-range, which improves their overall health and well-being and encourages them to maintain their natural behaviors.

Free-ranging support building ($275,000): A new approx. 3,000-square-foot facility is needed to house and maintain equipment as well as to provide a climate-controlled workspace for the DLC maintenance staff.

Outdoor enclosure fencing for aye-ayes ($250,000; dividing this into two annual payments of $125k is acceptable)

Preserving the Division of Fossil Primates’ Madagascar fossil collection ($100,000): This project will improve how the fossils are stored to prevent degradation due to fluctuations in in temperature and humidity. It will also create greater access to the global scientific community and students via 3D scanning and posting to the DFP’s digital collection of fossil images.


Endowments are a priority to secure the Duke Lemur Center’s financial future and to extend its impact for the protection of lemurs, conservation in Madagascar, opportunities for students, and scientific discovery through non-invasive research.

An endowment is a gift that keeps on giving! Each year, a portion of an endowment fund’s value is paid out to support the fund’s purpose at the Duke Lemur Center. Any earnings in excess of this distribution are used to build the fund’s market value. In this way, an endowment fund can grow and provide support to its designated purpose here at the DLC in perpetuity.

A named endowment can be established for a gift of $100,000 or more to the Duke Lemur Center’s general operations endowment fund. For a gift of $300k or more, we can create a customized, named endowment to address a specific area of need at the DLC. We currently have several endowment agreement templates “ready to customize,” including:

Named endowment for lemur care at the DLC: Provide support for colony care at the Duke Lemur Center, including specialized diets for each species, enrichment items for stimulation and lemur play, tools for positive reinforcement, cleaning supplies, maintenance of grounds and fence-line to ensure safe and secure outdoor space, animal care equipment, and wages for animal and veterinary care technicians.

Named endowment for veterinary care at the DLC: Provide support for the veterinary program at the Duke Lemur Center, including but not limited to, veterinary equipment and associated departmental technology needs, diagnostic testing, medicine, and wages within the veterinary team.

Named endowment for Madagascar conservation for the DLC: Provide support for the Duke Lemur Center’s community-based conservation programs in the SAVA region as well as lemur conservation breeding initiatives on the island.

Named endowment for student projects at the DLC: Provide support for student programs at the Duke Lemur Center including costs associated with training and managing students enrolled in the internship program or serving as volunteers, stipends for interns, and wages necessary for staff to manage and supervise students.

Named endowment for general operations for the DLC: Provide unrestricted support for the Duke Lemur Center.


For more details on any of the opportunities above, please contact Mary Paisley at (919) 401-7252 or Thank you so much for your support!