Monterey Bay Aquarium and Research Institute: David and Lucile Packard Foundation, 1977

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


The Monterey Bay Aquarium was first dreamed up one night by four young marine biologists who were concerned that increasing numbers of tourists would soon threaten the northern California bay, a treasure chest of marine biodiversity. The group, which soon grew to include a fifth member, thought that “a modest aquarium” might work as an anchor for research and protection efforts in the region. Their idea got a lot more serious when two of the five—Julie and Nancy Packard—took the idea to their father David, the billionaire electronics pioneer who, with his business partner Bill Hewlett, had established Silicon Valley as the epicenter of the twentieth century technology boom.
In fact, the aquarium cost $54 million over seven years. The Packard Foundation paid all of this, and David Packard himself was deeply involved in designing the aquarium. When it opened in October 1984, the Monterey Bay Aquarium was the largest in the nation, and began to quickly attract hundreds of thousands of visitors. . . .



  • Partnership
  • Strategy


  • Northern America

Blog Posts

More on time, value, and time limits

February 19, 2018

A new report applies a theory of time and value in philanthropy to three real cases, to see how a foundation could decide whether to operate with a limited life, based on the amount and kind of value it hopes to create.


Oct 05

Rip Rapson
President and CEO
The Kresge Foundation