Foundations - grant-making

Status and Trends
A survey observed that the average proportion of people donating money in countries surveyed in 2012 was 28.5%, an increase of 1.3 percentage points over 2011, and volunteering time, up by 1.4 percentage points, to 19.7% (CAF 2013). Global philanthropic giving may mount up to over US$600 billion per year, half of them in the United States of America and one fourth in European countries in recent years.

A great deal of charitable giving is through grant-making foundations, particularly in USA. In 2011, funding to environmental issues by all U.S. foundations is estimated to have reached an all-time high of $2.8 billion, 14% of which for biodiversity and species preservation and 12% for terrestrial ecosystems and land use. Funding for sustainable agriculture and food systems as well as fresh water /inland water ecosystems grew dramatically from 2009 to 2011. About one quarter of the environmental funding was used internationally, and funding in South America increased by 99% in 2009-2010, and an additional 9% in 2011.

A survey of the 62 European foundations observed 1,956 environmental grants in 2011, amounting to €417.7 million. This only represents a small share of total European philanthropic giving, which is estimated to be between €83 billion and €150 billion per year. Biodiversity & species preservation, and terrestrial ecosystems & land use together account for more than a third of the value of all grants given (€152.5 million). In United Kingdom, environmental philanthropy, representing less than 3% of total UK philanthropy, has a strong international element, with nearly half of all grants (48.3%) going for work outside the United Kingdom.

The World Bank estimated that officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries have reached $351 billion in 2011, up 8 percent over 2010, and remittance flows to all six developing regions rose in 2011. The growth of remittance flows to developing countries is expected to continue at a rate of 7-8 percent annually to reach $441 billion by 2014. Worldwide remittance flows, including those to high-income countries, are expected to exceed $590 billion by 2014.

Charitable trusts and foundations are normally required for registration with national authorities, and their annual accounts or reports with respective national authorities can be used to estimate the level of funding for biodiversity and ecosystem services. In the absence of annual accounts or reports, surveys may be used to collect desired data. Methods are needed for estimating personal philanthropic giving, and non-charitable corporate giving for biodiversity and ecosystem services. It should be noted that operational environmental charities/foundations re-grant funds, and should be examined carefully in order to avoid double counting.

Ideas of mobilization
  • Engagement and mobilization frameworks are developed on charitable giving, foundations and remittances in support of biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Incentives and mechanisms are provided for (international) charitable giving and remittances to nature conservation, including match grants and tax benefits
  • Awareness and educational campaigns for biodiversity and ecosystem services are promoted among charitable givers, including through civil society organizations and not-for-profit organizations
  • Biodiversity philanthropy organizations/networks are established for foundations and Diasporas at various levels
  • Financial instruments are developed to facilitate charitable giving to biodiversity and ecosystem services, such as bank accounts that allow donations, social enterprises, venture philanthropy and microfinance
  • Official development assistance is bundled together with international private giving and remittances
  • Bonds are issued to Diasporas, foundations and private givers to raise funds for biodiversity and ecosystem services

  • The Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt DBU (website)

    The Foundation concentrates on environmental technology and research, nature conservation, environmental communication and cultural assets. Read more

  • The Ford Foundation (website)

    The Environment and Development program helps people and groups acquire, protect, improve and manage land, water, forests, wildlife and other natural assets in ways that help reduce poverty and injustice. Read more

  • The Gatsby Charitable Foundation (website)

    The Developing Countries Program aims to promote environmentally sustainable development and poverty alleviation through selected programmes aimed at supporting basic agriculture and other enterprise in selected African countries. Read more

  • The David and Lucile Packard Foundation (website)

    The Conservation and Science Program is focused on the challenge of sustainability, finding paths for human progress that protect and restore the ecological systems upon which all life depends. Read more

  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (website)

    The Foundation's program in Conservation and the Environment (C&E) has evolved over time. Read more

  • The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (website)

    The Conservation and Sustainable Development grantmaking area is dedicated to conserving biodiversity. Read more

  • The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (website)

    The Environmental Conservation program aims to change the ways in which important terrestrial and coastal marine ecosystems are used to conserve critical ecological systems and functions, such as the climate function of the Andes-Amazon rainforest, for future generations, while allowing current uses to be sustained. Read more

  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (website)

    The Mott’s Foundation’s environment grantmaking includes support to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working to make national and global financial institutions more responsive to environmental and social concerns through its International Finance for Sustainability focus. Read more

  • The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (website)

    The Sustainable Development program seeks to conserve terrestrial and marine biodiversity by protecting and restoring ecosystems and by fostering sustainable communities that pursue locally-appropriate development plans. Read more