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Targeted Impact Gifts

Current Priority Needs for Special Gifts to the Duke Lemur Center: $5,000 – $99,999

While unrestricted donations are always needed, appreciated, and directed toward priority needs of the DLC, these special targeted impact gifts are options for donors who are interested in a larger contribution between $5,000 and $100,000 and wish to restrict their gift toward a special priority need. Some of these opportunities of $15,000 or more can be divided into two or three annual payments to fulfill the total funding needed. Please direct questions to our development officer, Mary Paisley, at

Funding Opportunities: Madagascar Conservation

The opportunities below are priority needs that are restricted gift options over $5,000 for this fiscal year. We would like to also recognize the significant contributions to Madagascar Conservation from Darren and Julie Harkness Cooke and Bob and Sue Knox, who are currently funding a number of our specific programs in Madagascar. We’re also fortunate to receive support from General Mills, Inc. We rely entirely on private donations and grants to fund our programs in Madagascar.

Mobile environmental education programs:
Environmental education is at the core of DLC programs, in the US and in Madagascar. Support our new initiative to bring education to the most marginalized communities in the remote rural countryside of SAVA region. Our program hosts educators traveling to remote villages to lead lesson plans on environment and especially lemurs. We are integrating new technologies (see below) and interactive learning techniques to improve our methods, and evaluations to monitor our success. Between January and August 2021, over 350 students have already been served. We plan to reach 30-60 students each week with our interactive lessons, over 1500 total this year.
$35,000 total for one year to fully fund this project, or these individual components separately:
• $16,000 to support on-the-ground lessons
• $5,000 to support new technologies and materials (integrating use of tablets, touchscreen monitors, computers, microscopes with cameras)
• $14,000 to support an environmental education NGO contract to design and implement new interactive lesson plans and evaluations

Empowering Malagasy graduate students in science sovereignty:
Training and empowering Malagasy scientists is fundamental to the sustainability of research and conservation in Madagascar. Malagasy students rarely have funding opportunities to conduct research as graduate students. We have collaborative partnerships with the universities in northern Madagascar, University of Antsiranana (at Diego and SAVA), to support their students conducting independent research projects. We collaborate with university administration to host workshops in research design and analysis, pair students with faculty mentors, and lead a competitive research grant program. Students submit research proposals which are reviewed by outside experts, and selected proposals are supported to conduct their field research and a cost-of-living stipend. Through this partnership, dozens of students have strengthened their capacity to conduct research and complete their degrees.
$20,000 total for one year to fund the entire program, or these individual costs:
• $10,000 for hosting workshops led by Malagasy scientists training students in scientific methods
• $10,000 for 30 competitive research grants with cost-of-living stipends

Fuel-efficient stoves project:
Support our research and development on fuel-efficient stoves for cooking with charcoal and firewood. Nearly all people in SAVA cook with charcoal or firewood, often on open fires which are not fuel-efficient. We have partnerships with a local NGO to obtain high-quality fuel-efficient stoves that greatly reduce fuel use compared to traditional stoves. We will conduct information campaigns and distribute stoves to 1,000 households and conduct follow-up surveys.
$5,000+ ($30,000 needed).

Educational video series:
To expand our public outreach both in Madagascar and the US, we are commissioning a Malagasy videographer to produce a series of short videos highlighting the DLC-SAVA projects and how each activity contributes to conservation and development. The videos, produced in Malagasy and English, will be used by our Malagasy staff to disseminate our activities more broadly and on our online platforms to share our progress with the broader community.

Project vehicle:
As the DLC’s programs in Madagascar diversify and our team grows, so too do our logistical needs. While our first project vehicle, a 2010 Toyota pick-up truck, is still running well thanks to support from our donors, our needs have grown such that we need a second vehicle. Having two vehicles will allow our teams to split up and cover more ground every day, and reduce inefficient costs associated with renting additional vehicles when our truck is in use.

Funding Opportunities: Student and Volunteer Projects

Support a 2022 summer intern:
Your gift of $7,500 or more will support the Lemur Center’s costs to provide a living wage and necessary fringes for one intern. Our internship program offers opportunities during the fall, spring, and summer for students to have hands-on experiences, exploring their interest in field research, animal husbandry, animal welfare, conservation education, or communications. Thus far, our approximately 25 students from across the U.S. year participated in unpaid internships. The addition of paid internship positions in FY2022 will make a great impact on our ability to enlist students who might not otherwise apply or participate. Learn more about our internship program.
$7,500 ($30,000 is desired to fund four positions).

Intern and volunteer transportation cost reimbursement:
Make a gift of $5,000 or more toward our expected expenses of more than $20,000 to transport student interns and volunteers to the center and back home during this fiscal year. Transportation is a barrier that could easily prevent a student from participating.
$5,000+ ($20,000 needed).

Funding Opportunities: Animal Care

Radio replacement:
The DLC relies on handheld radios to stay in contact with each another and to convey critical information in a timely manner to any one of the 30 employees on our 80-acre site. Our current professional durability radios are approaching the end of their lifespan and need to be replaced.
$105,000 – We’d love to fulfill this need with ten $10k+ donations!

Addition of improved housing for our small nocturnal prosimians:
Revised housing for our dwarf lemurs, mouse lemurs, and bush babies is needed to provide them with more varied space, and the ability to house larger family groups together. This adaptive housing is optimal for our nocturnal species, who can’t free range in the forests, like their diurnal counterparts.

Kawasaki Mule for animal technicians:
These all-terrain vehicles are important for transporting animal technicians, vet technicians, supplies, and lemurs (in crates, of course!) to and from our nine natural habitats and animal care buildings. We replaced one vehicle in 2020, thanks to the Edwards Foundation, but we need to replace another vehicle in 2021.

Special animal enrichment supplies:
Providing for the mental well-being of every animal is the focus of our enrichment program and is just as important as a proper diet and safe habitat. And, thank you to Martha Seeligson, Trinity ’87 for providing this gift last fiscal year!

Animal enrichment program support:
This gift is needed to support a portion of staffing expenses that would otherwise be funded by revenues lost due to COVID-19 closures.

Animal camera project:
New cameras and maintenance of existing cameras allow our staff to check on animals at any time day or night. For animals like our aye-ayes, who are experiencing their new outdoor enclosures for the first time, these cameras are critical to monitoring their safety and documenting their reaction to a brand-new world.

Funding Opportunities: Non-harmful Research

Malagasy field station:
FULFILLED! Thank you to Bob and Sue Knox for their generous support of our Madagascar Conservation Programs and for funding this specific project! This field station in Anjajavy (northwestern Madagascar) is needed to support the DLC’s torpor research with wild dwarf lemurs. It will also serve as a training site for students and scientists.

Ultracold freezer:
This freezer is needed for the preservation of invaluable biological samples collected non-invasively during veterinary procedures and made available for scientific research (genomics, immunology, endocrinology, metabolomics, etc.). We need two freezers. The price is for each unit.
$15,000 for one unit or $30,000 for both units.

Scientific freezer:
Needed for the preservation of cadaveric specimens made available for scientific research (anatomy, biomechanics, ontogeny, etc.). All DLC animals continue to contribute to research, even beyond their natural lifespan. We need two units. The price is the cost for a single unit.
$10,000 for one unit or $20,000 for both units.

Endocrine plate reader:
This will enable the DLC to do in-house hormonal work in our newly constructed molecular lab, benefiting veterinary care, staff scientists, and visiting researchers by providing more immediate results with less expense than the traditional method of shipping samples off-site for analysis. The cost additionally includes the desktop computer and software necessary to run the plate reader.

Funding Opportunities: Division of Fossil Primates

Fossil ICU:
FULFILLED! Thank you to Drs. Russel and Elisabeth Cook for providing this gift in 2020! The importance of this project is difficult to convey. Our collection of fossils from Egypt is globally unique, especially the collection from L-41. The quarry is the most fossil-rich place in Africa between the extinction of dinosaurs and the evolution of apes, and the DLC is the only place where these fossils can be studied. Technically, half of the L-41 collection is in Cairo, but they have a revolving door of staff and most of the fossils are still wrapped in toilet paper. And that’s it. The fossils are at the DLC and one museum in Cairo.

MicroCT scanning:
Our scanning operations are crucial as we race against the elements to create a digital, 3D record of our collection before the North Carolina weather gets the better of it. Traditional paleontology was based on collections visits. Researchers would need to physically visit a collection to examine the specimens. Specimens could also be loaned, but that meant only one person or team could work with a fossil at a time. Researchers also needed to know the collection existed in the first place.

New – Memorial and Dedication Gifts

Our thanks to Jane Harmeling McPherson (Duke University, B.A. ’51 and M.A. ’72)  and her family for their friendship and support as the first family to make a special memorial contribution with a permanent plaque recognition at the Duke Lemur Center. The gift was made in memory of Harry T. McPherson, M..D., and David McPherson. We are touched by this very special honor.

5”X3” plaque on a bench – remains on-premises for the life of the bench.

$25,000+ permanent onsite plaque options, contact Mary Paisley at or 919.401.7252 for more information.

Additional Options

If you are interested in finding a special purpose for a gift ranging from $5,000 to $99,000, the Duke Lemur Center is happy to discuss with you our current priority needs and options for your gift to make a significant impact. Please contact our development officer, Mary Paisley, at or 919.401.7252. For information about gifts of $100,000 or more, please visit our Major and Principal Gifts page.