Grants for marine conservation, ocean education and marine research
Looking to fund your marine research, conservation or education programs? The Instrumentl team has compiled a few sample grants to get you headed in the right direction.
Read more about each grant below or start a 14-day free trial to see all marine and ocean grants recommended for your specific institution & programs.
The Scherman Foundation
NOTE: New requests for support from the Scherman Foundation’s Core Fund must be made by first submitting a Letter of Intent (LOI). Select applicants will then be invited to submit a full proposal to be considered at one of the Foundation’s quarterly (March, June, September, and November) Board of Directors meetings.
The Foundation’s Core Fund Environmental Program supports a variety of organizations seeking to protect the natural and human environment and to create a sustainable future. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Energy and climate
- Marine preservation
- Clean drinking water
- Urban sustainability (targeted primarily in the New York City region)
Over the past two decades, the Foundation has increasingly focused on climate change, one of the most fundamental and potentially catastrophic environmental challenges of the 21st century. In addition to efforts focused directly on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by curtailing the use of fossil fuels, increasing efficiency, and encouraging renewable technologies, the Foundation funds related mitigation and adaptation efforts in the areas of suburban sprawl, mass transit, green jobs, and bio-diversity. Because people experience and understand national and global environmental issues, including climate change, most palpably and deeply through local manifestations—in the loss or change of a local habitat, the health effects of a local coal-fired power plant, or through the creation of local high-tech/green jobs—the Foundation has emphasized efforts that mobilize residents to identify and advocate for community-initiated sustainable advances. Climate adaptation is a growing interest of the Foundation.
Recognizing that solid scientific, technological, policy, and economic analysis is a necessary, but not sufficient, driver of salutary environmental change, the Foundation supports public education, advocacy, and community organizing as critical strategies to broadly engage and mobilize the public. In particular, the Foundation supports grassroots organizing and leadership development, not only as an effective strategy to reach improved environmental outcomes, but also as a goal in-and-of-itself, based on the belief that a broadly active populace is critical to the creation of a just and healthy society and biosphere. The Foundation also focuses on the protection and mobilization of marginalized and low-income communities, as well as communities of color, recognizing that solving their environmental challenges drives society-wide environmental protection and sustainable innovation. In addition, the Foundation values legal and policy advocacy as a tool to leverage environmental gains.
Cities, with their high concentration of people, resources, and economic activity, create unique environmental challenges, but also offer unique opportunities to address climate change and other environmental concerns. The Foundation pays particular attention to New York City, working to improve its public transportation infrastructure, protect its drinking water supply and preserve and expand its parks and open green spaces, primarily in low-income neighborhoods.
The Foundation maintains its commitment to general operating support, especially for smaller neighborhood groups for whom the capacity to respond quickly and imaginatively to new opportunities and challenges is critical. For larger and policy-focused groups, and, in the case of collaborative campaigns, project specific support may be appropriate.
CS Fund & Warsh-Mott Legacy
The CS Fund was created in 1981 by Maryanne Mott and Herman Warsh, who together endowed the Warsh-Mott Legacy in 1985. CS Fund and Warsh-Mott Legacy (CSF and WML) are private family foundations that share common program areas, staff, and boards of directors. Proposals to the two foundations are considered collectively, and grants are made by both entities. The boards of directors of CSF and WML also make recommendations to the donor-advised TOP Fund at the Marin Community Foundation.
CSF and WML’s grantmaking is forward thinking and evolves over time, yet is guided by a commitment to consistent, long-term support. Some organizations have received funding from the foundations for three decades. CSF and WML recognize the importance of general support and multi-year grants in building institutional strength and longevity and provide such support when appropriate. Project-restricted grants are also made in order to advance specific foundation objectives.
CSF and WML currently have three grantmaking focuses:
- Emerging Technologies
- Food Sovereignty
- Rights and Governance
While emerging technologies now being developed and commercialized may result in useful applications, they can also have serious negative social, environmental and political consequences. That’s why emerging technologies need precautionary assessment, regulation and oversight – including those that are fast tracked and marketed as “techno-fixes” or “green” panaceas to climate change and other crises.
CSF and WML focus on developments in three emerging and converging technologies in particular:
- Nanotechnology – the creation and commercialization of tiny bits of matter (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter)
- Synthetic biology – the design, manufacture and release of artificially created DNA
- Geoengineering – intentional, large-scale climate manipulation through a range of methods
Food sovereignty emphasizes the right of people to define their own localized, culturally appropriate, and ecologically sound food and agriculture systems. Food sovereignty is deeply connected to global struggles for a more socially just and sustainable world and integrates some of the most critical issues facing humanity into a clear mandate for action.
CSF and WML’s Food Sovereignty program area is grounded in traditional agricultural knowledge and agroecological practices. The foundations’ grantmaking focuses on three cornerstones of agrobiodiversity and food system resilience:
- Preserving native and heirloom seeds
- Building healthy and fertile soils
- Protecting and restoring the populations and diversity of native pollinators
This program makes most of its grants to organizations working in the Global South.
Rights & Governance
CSF and WML’s Rights and Governance program area is dedicated to restoring and protecting the tenets articulated in the US Constitution.
We are especially focused on the areas of:
- Dissent – Protecting and advancing the rights to free speech and assembly.
- Open Government – Making the federal government more transparent, effective, and accountable.
- Rule of Law – Ensuring that US national security policies respect constitutional rights, domestic laws, and international treaties.
- The Constitution and the Courts – Building a progressive legal movement to counter conservative and corporate influence.
In the realm of international governance, CSF and WML have also long funded in the area of:
- Trade – Making the rules of global commerce more democratic, just, and sustainable.
The Walt Disney Company
The Disney Conservation Fund, founded in 1995, is a key pillar in Disney’s efforts to protect the planet and help kids develop lifelong conservation values. The fund supports the study of wildlife; the protection of habitats; the development of community conservation and education programs in critical ecosystems; and experiences that connect kids to nature across the globe.
The wellbeing of people is deeply connected to the health of the planet. That’s why the Disney Conservation Fund grants support projects with a holistic approach to conservation – blending both scientific research and community engagement to protect wildlife and their habitats.
The Disney Conservation Fund gives priority consideration to holistic programs addressing a significant conservation need (or projects that are part of a program) which reflect:
- Education and community engagement, including measuring results
- Sustainable development programs directly connected to protecting species and habitat
- Scientific field studies on species and habitats
The Disney Conservation Fund supports programs and projects around the world, with programs in 115 different countries receiving support thus far.
The fund also seeks to support projects taking place in areas where Disney has a significant business focus, including the regions and priority areas below:
- Africa: Egypt, South Africa
- Asia: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Vietnam
- Central/South America: Antigua, Argentina, Bahamas (Castaway Cay, Nassau), Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Galapagos Islands, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela
- Europe/Middle East/Australia: Albania, Austria, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Jordan, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom
- Marine: Australia, China, Indo-Pacific, U.S. Pacific (Alaska, California, Hawaii), Western Atlantic (Antigua, Bahamas (Castaway Cay, Nassau), Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Eastern Gulf of Mexico (especially in/near Florida), Grenada, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Thomas); will also consider marine projects occurring near other priority areas listed
- any projects focused on fully aquatic species (freshwater or marine) will be considered by this committee
- North America:
- USA: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Washington; Mexico;
- Canada: Alberta, British Columbia (Vancouver), New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
We will also consider support for projects focused on species/habitats featured at Disney’s Animal Kingdom or The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot.
If you are interested in applying for conservation funding but your project takes place outside of the above priority areas, please contact the DCF team to share the country where your project takes place and the species you are focused on to see if it may be considered.
11th Hour Racing
- Ocean Literacy & Stewardship – increase the understanding and appreciation of the importance of healthy oceans and waterways to communities through experiential learning, citizen science, and powerful story-telling
- Clean Technologies & Best Practices – advance practices and technologies in coastal communities and the marine industry that reduce waste, prevent plastic pollution, improve water quality, and assess new circular solutions
- Ecosystem Restoration – improve water quality, bolster coastal resilience, and sequester carbon through coastal habitat restoration
- Environmental impact: the magnitude of the project’s environmental benefits
- Capacity and Organizational Expertise: organizational capacity and qualifications necessary to implement the proposed project
- Innovation and Creativity: how unique the project is or the methodology used
- Feasibility of implementation: technological, financial, and political factors that may influence the success of the project
Strong consideration will be given to: projects that involve collaborations and stakeholder engagement; model best practices; can demonstrate measurable outcomes in a one-year timeframe, and share successes broadly. For anything we fund, and especially demonstration projects or place-based work, we would like to see opportunities for broader impact through replicating or scaling.
Fondation Ensemble is a private, state-approved Foundation, set up in 2004 by Gérard Brémond and his wife, Jacqueline Délia Brémond. Since 2008, the Foundation's special fund for the conservation of threatened animal species has enabled numerous species in danger across the world to be protected.
Focus Sector: Biodiversity Conservation
The sixth great extinction of species (1000 to 10 000 times faster than during the last century) is unfolding inexorably before our eyes. Over the last 40 years, half of the world's animal species have been lost. The blame lies squarely with loss of plant and animal habitats, climate change, overharvesting of resources vulnerable to various forms of trafficking, and the introduction of invasive species. It is all happening very quickly. Ecosystems are being destabilized, and nature is under threat. But if we come to her aid, nature can still develop some astonishing resources.
Scope of the Projects Funded
In this sector of intervention, the Foundation funds terrestrial and marine biodiversity conservation projects (fauna and flora) that bring sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits, particularly for the poorest communities and that contribute to protecting threatened species.
The projects funded by the Foundation take the following factors into account:
- protection and rehabilitation of particular ecosystems on the grounds of their rich biodiversity or other environmental or human significance (in the protection of particular species; as sources of non-timber products; to combat erosion or desertification; as water abstraction areas, etc.);
- protection of animal and plant species, including combating poaching and trafficking;
- greenhouse gas mitigation and/or adaptation to climate change.
Special fund: ‘Conservation of threatened animal species’
Since 2008, the Foundation's special fund for the conservation of threatened animal species has enabled numerous species in danger across the world to be protected.
The Summerlee Foundation
NOTE: Prior to submitting a proposal, the Animal Protection Program Director must be contacted by telephone or email to discuss the proposed project.
Founded in 1988 by Dallas philanthropist, Annie Lee Roberts, The Summerlee Foundation is a mission driven, proactive organization with a strong desire to address significant issues in animal protection and Texas history. Since inception, the Foundation has awarded 30 million dollars to grantees.
The Foundation makes grants for two specific purposes:
- To alleviate fear, pain and suffering of animals and to promote animal protection and the prevention of cruelty to animals.
- To research, promote and document all facets of Texas History.
Animal Protection Program
Since its establishment, The Summerlee Foundation has promoted a new ethic towards our fellow beings through its national and international grantmaking programs supporting rescue, research, rehabilitation, and advocacy. Our grants have assisted a wide variety of programs, including second chances for companion animals, protection of wild carnivores, sanctuary and refuge, and endangered species protection and advocacy. While many of these projects have been controversial, all have been critically important. Collectively, we have alleviated fear, pain and suffering in countless animals’ lives, advanced and expanded the rights of all non-human animals, defended the laws that protect them, and created new policies to address new grievances against them. We have rescued, re-homed, relocated, and rehabilitated these animals.
And while we can celebrate our many successes, we must also confront the emerging and expanding threats to our most vulnerable animal populations: climate change, persecution and exploitation on a global scale, wildlife extinction and disease, companion animal abandonment, and intentional cruelty and torture. The challenges are serious and many.
By working together, creatively and opportunistically, with vision and with wisdom, we will continue to protect and give sanctuary and refuge to the underserved, the voiceless, the persecuted, and the helpless.
The Summerlee Foundation is enormously proud of the dedication and achievements of its grantseekers and congratulates all of you for your vision, your commitment, and your ability to make a difference in the lives of so many.
The Americas with special emphasis on those communities which are the most underserved and the most challenged.
- Cats only in the United States and Canada –
- The tragedy of cat overpopulation and homelessness in this country results in intense and immense suffering due to disease, starvation, and inhumane practices by some local communities and agencies.
- Funding emphasis is on sterilization and vaccination primarily in rural or underserved communities.
- Dogs outside of United States, primarily in Latin America –
- Emphasis on sterilization, vaccination, and humane euthanasia.
- Wildlife –
- Primarily mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, and black bears, funding only those programs which protect through ethical-based research and advocacy/educational campaigns.
- Marine Life –
- Emphasis on addressing marine mammal issues, health and well-being and anti-captivity (dolphins and orcas).
- Sanctuary for Captive Animals –
- Captive wild animal sanctuaries should be verified or accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
- Wildlife Rehabilitation –
- Emphasis on hands-on animal care (emergency rescue, food, medications, housing improvements).
- Emergency funding –
- May be awarded through the Annie Lee Roberts Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) fund administered by the Humane Society of the United States