The Monterey Bay Aquarium was a personal gift to the local community by David and Lucile, who gave an estimated $55 million to help found the institution, which opened in 1984.

Additionally, two of the Packard’s daughters have been instrumental in founding and operating the Aquarium. Nancy Burnett, who conducted her graduate work in marine biology at Stanford University, helped inspire its establishment, and Julie Packard, who majored in marine algae studies at U.C. Santa Cruz, currently serves as its executive director. Learn more about the Packard family’s involvement through the Aquarium’s history timeline.

Today, the Aquarium is an independently operated nonprofit organization funded by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation, though the Packard Foundation occasionally continues its support by funding special projects.