Last month, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation hired a new program officer for its Climate and Land Use Subprogram. Grantees focused on climate and its relationship to palm oil, U.S. agriculture, or bioenergy should take heed. Knowing who is behind the grantmaking and what their interests are can help when crafting a proposal. So here’s the backstory on Belinda Morris, The Packard Foundation’s newest program officer.
Many of the the David and Lucile Packard Foundaton’s programs focus on conservation in California and the US west coast. So, it is perhaps no surprise that Morris, too, has some experience out West. Before moving to Packard, Morris was the California Director of the American Carbon Registry (ACR), a leading non-profit that develops carbon offset standards and protocols. In addition to guiding ACR’s activities in the California carbon market, Morris’s resume includes time working at the Environmental Defense Fund, the Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund on various conservation projects including agricultural greenhouse gas emissions reduction and market-based approaches to conservation. Although she most recently worked in California, Morris also has experience working in Africa, Europe, Central Asia, Indonesia, and the United States.
It’s easy to see where Morris’s experience overlaps with Packard’s current foci. The Climate and Land Use Subprogram is currently focused on palm oil plantations in Indonesia (see IP’s Post), reducing emissions from commodity agriculture in the U.S., and expanding bioenergy in a sustainable manner. Packard is also hoping to promote activities creating an agricultural emissions-offset market in California.
It’s difficult to say where Morris’s personal biases will lie and where her grantmaking preferences will be. Or how much that will matter, given how Packard operates. Considering her M.S. in Environmental and Resource Economics (from the University College of London), and her experience at ACR, it seems likely that market-based solutions will continue to appeal to her. Packard as a whole, however, has always leaned on strong science to guide its environmental work.
The thing to remember about Packard is that it's committed to keeping its door open. As Walt Reid, Director of the Conservation and Science Program told us:
The Foundation is always open to new ideas and approaches. If you are not currently a grantee but have a project or idea that you believe could play a strategically important role within one of the existing board-approved strategies, send a short note to the relevant Program Officer (e-mail addresses are on the website) to see whether there might be interest in requesting a proposal. We are always constrained in the funds we have available, so the competition among ideas and projects to receive funding is always high.
That's the kind of invitation grantseekers love to hear, and here's hoping that Belinda Morris is a keen reader of her email.