The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) was established in 1995 on Earth Day (April 22) as a global awards program for the study and protection of the world’s wildlife and ecosystems. It provides annual awards to U.S. nonprofit conservation organizations working alongside their peers in other countries. Many of the recipient organizations concentrate their activities on “biological hotspots” — areas rich in plant and animal life at risk of imminent destruction. In 1998, as Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park opened, the DWCF made its first grants. Since then, the DWCF has supported more than 800 projects with more than $14 million in grants to organizations and individuals working in 110 countries.