Arcus Foundation

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Arcus Foundation
Arcus Foundation Logo.JPG
Founded 2000 [1]
Founder Jon Stryker
Type Private foundation
38-3332791 [1]
Focus Conservation, Social justice
Area served
Method Grantmaking
Key people
Jon Stryker, founder and president
Kevin Jennings, executive director[1]
US$54,397,186 [2]
Mission The mission of the Arcus Foundation is to achieve social justice that is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and race, and to ensure conservation and respect of the great apes.[1]

Arcus Foundation is a global private foundation with a focus on social justice and conservation. Arcus supports work that advances equality and human rights for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. The Foundation also funds projects focused on conservation and preservation of the great apes and their habitats.[3]

The Foundation's named is derived by its founder from "arc" or "arch", in order "to portray the bridging of a gap, the offer of shelter, and rainbows as a symbol of diversity".[3]


Arcus Foundation's primary activity is providing funding to outside organizations and projects. Those efforts are broken into two main categories - great apes and social justice.

Great apes[edit]

Arcus Foundation's great apes strategy supports conservation and respect for species such as gorillas
Arcus Foundation's great apes strategy also supports gibbons

The Foundation’s great apes strategy funds projects that promote conservation and respect for the world’s gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, and gibbons, who are under threat in every country where they live.[4]

Conservation of apes[edit]

This program area funds projects that aim to reduce threats to apes in their natural habitat, focusing specifically on protection of ape populations and habitats in high-risk areas.[4]

Wellbeing of apes in captivity[edit]

This program area funds projects that advocate strengthening international protection of great apes in their range states and beyond and to ensure high standards of care for the great apes in captivity by providing them with effective sanctuaries.[4]

Apes and ethics[edit]

This program area advocates increased recognition of and respect for the rights and intrinsic value of the great apes, especially the right to live free of abuse, exploitation and private ownership.[4]

Great apes grant recipients[edit]

A selection of recent great apes grant recipients includes:[5]

Social justice[edit]

Rainbow flag over Liverpool Town Hall
Arcus Foundation's social justice strategy primarily supports LGBT advocacy around the world
Marriage Equality Act vote in Albany NY on the evening of July 24, 2011
Arcus Foundation has also financially supported advocacy for same-sex marriage in the United States

Launched in 2013, the Foundation’s social justice strategy targets specific cultural and policy changes in the United States and internationally.

Building on the successes of the United States LGBT rights movement, and mindful of the progress made, the social justice strategy has three interdependent areas of focus.[6]

International Human Rights[edit]

Working on national, regional, and international levels, Arcus is working on building a global movement integrating sexual orientation and gender identity into shared conceptions of human rights.[6]

United States[edit]

Arcus’ U.S. social justice strategy focuses on the intersection of sexual/gender justice, racial justice, and economic justice, investing primarily in youth, communities of color, and targeted faith communities, with special priority for youth of color, transgender populations, and work by and for affected communities.[6]

Global religions[edit]

Arcus’ Global Religions program advocates pro-LGBT religious voices in the Global South, the Islamic world, U.S. communities of color, transgender populations, and with influence at U.N, regional, and national policy bodies.[6]

Social justice grant recipients[edit]

A selection of recent social justice grant recipients includes:[7]

Arcus Operating Foundation[edit]

The Arcus Operating Foundation supports the mission of the Arcus Foundation through convenings, research, and special projects that increase philanthropy.[8] In 2011 the Arcus Operating Foundation's expenses and disbursements were US$2,712,942.[9]


Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall's work has been a famous beneficiary of Arcus Foundation's great apes strategy

Arcus Foundation was founded in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2000 by Jon Stryker, a U.S. architect, philanthropist, social and species cause activist, billionaire stockholder,[10] and heir to the Stryker Corporation medical supply company fortunes of grandfather Homer Hartmen Stryker, M.D.[11] As a teenager, Stryker kept a monkey as a pet, until keeping it domestically seemed inhumane, at which point he donated the monkey to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois.[3]

In 2006, the Foundation's donation of US $450,000 went to establishing the Jane Goodall Institute's advocacy department. Primatologist Jane Goodall noted that this development "has enabled me to get a higher profile in the [U.S.] Senate and the House".[3]

In May, 2010, Urvashi Vaid's departure as Executive Director of the foundation was announced, and Fred Davie, a former member of the Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and already involved with the foundation, became its executive director.[12] In April 2012, Annette Lanjouw was appointed as interim executive director.[13] Lanjouw returned to her primary role as vice president of strategic initiatives and great ape programs when Kevin Jennings became executive director in September 2012.[1][14]

Through a biological survey supported by the Arcus Foundation, in 2010 the Myanmar Snub-nosed Monkey was given the binomial name Rhinopithecus strykeri, in honor of the foundation's president, Stryker, upon its discovery during an Arcus Foundation co-funded study of Hoolock Gibbons in Myanmar.

In January 2011, the Foundation made a $23 million grant to establish the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan.[15][16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "GuideStar Reports for Arcus Foundation". GuideStar. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Arcus Foundation 2011 Form 990-PF". IRS. 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Preston, Caroline (March 2008). "Compassion and Conservation: Donor champions rights of both humans and apes". The Chronicle of Philanthropy: 7–9. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Arcus Foundation - Conservation - What We Support". Arcus Foundation. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Arcus Foundation - Conservation - Grants Awarded". Arcus Foundation. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Arcus Foundation - Social Justice - What We Support". Arcus Foundation. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Arcus Foundation - Social Justice - Grants Awarded". Arcus Foundation. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Arcus Foundation 2011 Annual Report". Arcus Foundation. October 26, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Arcus Operating Foundation 2011 Form 990-PF". IRS. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Jon Stryker, The World's Richest People". Forbes. October 2006. 
  11. ^ "SEC filings on Stryker Corp". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. December 31, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  12. ^ Killian, Chris (May 29, 2010). "New leadership announced for Arcus Foundation". Kalamazoo Gazette. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Arcus Foundation Appoints Annette Lanjouw Interim Executive Director". Arcus Foundation. April 6, 2012. 
  14. ^ Reynolds, Daniel (July 13, 2012). "The Arcus Foundation Names Kevin Jennings Executive Director". The Advocate. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Kalamazoo College Receives $23 Million Grant from Arcus Foundation to Fund Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership". Kalamazoo College. January 17, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Foundation gives $23M grant to Kalamazoo College". Boston Globe. January 17, 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 

External links[edit]