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Funding a New Conservation Movement

UPDATE: One of Asia's Biggest Figures Strengthens Ties to The Conservancy

The Conservancy received a major boost from Jack Ma at an unprecedented event in Los Angeles on May 2, 2013. At "The Nature of our Future," Mark Tercek joined Jack Ma on stage to announce a gift of $5 million to the China Global Conservation Fund (CGCF), effectively doubling the fund. 

Shortly after making his gift, Jack Ma stepped down as CEO of Alibaba and became the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Conservancy's China Program.

Read an interview with Jack Ma here, and read a TIME magazine profile of him here.

The announcement followed a panel discussion on stage hosted by Max Nikias, president of USC, with the Conservancy's Jeff Opperman, CEO of Participant Media Jeff Berk, Laoniu Foundation founder Niu Gensheng, and Jack Ma. Each panelist approached the subject of technology and the future of our relationship with nature from their own unique and inspiring perspective. Over 30 supporters from China made the trip to be in attendance with their U.S. counterparts.

While pulling off an event of this magnitude with nearly 200 important donors is no small feat, the program was a huge success, combining high-caliber philanthropists  with intriguing content from Jack Ma, whom Mark Tercek calls "one of my favorite people in the world."

In 2011, The Nature Conservancy’s China Board of Trustees took a huge step toward expanding the base of support for global conservation work by establishing the China Global Conservation Fund.

As its name suggests, the CGCF is a fund for international conservation projects conceived by members of the China Board of Trustees and supported by a wide range of globally minded philanthropic investors, including Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

Here’s how the CGCF works. The fund has an initial goal of raising $15 million from Chinese and American donors to support Conservancy projects around the world. These projects are ideally based in developing countries; they will produce tangible site-based conservation outcomes and catalyze changes in public policy and corporate practices, protecting nature and incorporating natural solutions to solve pressing development problems. 

To date, the CGCF has contributed $1.75 million toward supporting three projects. The first project has already helped establish a sanctuary for the endangered hirola antelope in Kenya, initially inspired by a China Board trip to Kenya in 2011. Since then, the CGCF has supported community-based marine protected areas work in Indonesia and indigenous community led conservation efforts in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon.

The Conservancy’s Chinese Board of Trustees recognizes that Chinese economic activity, like that of other industrialized countries, is having an impact on critically important lands and waters in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Board members and other Chinese philanthropists are concerned about this impact and are deeply interested in joining philanthropists in other countries in helping to conserve these lands and waters. The China Board also established the CGCF as an invitation for others to join them in both raising the donations for the fund as well as engaging in the decision-making process to disburse the funds to TNC programs around the world.

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