This month, the Blue Moon Fund announced that it would suspend its grant making for the remainder of the year in the Chesapeake-Appalachia region — the very area in which the fund operates. (see Blue Moon Fund: Grants for Conservation)
In 2001, the W. Alton Jones Foundation was restructured and the three areas of grant making were split off into three separate funds. The Blue Moon Fund is the environmental conservation arm of the former W. Alton Jones Foundation. The two North American regions in which the Fund issues grants are the Louisiana Gulf Coast and Chesapeake-Appalachia. Funding in Louisiana remains the same and is expected to continue throughout the remainder of 2012 but for Chesapeake, it's over…for now.
The Chesapeake Bay isn't all Kennedy's and crab shacks, and Appalachia isn't all coal mines and moonshine. The Chesapeake is actually the largest estuary in the United States, and without the provisions of the headwater streams in the Appalachian Mountains, the Chesapeake would not exist. Kennedy's and moonshine aside, the biodiversity of the Chesapeake-Appalachia region is continually threatened by climate change and industrial activities. Since Blue Moon calls this area home, it seems fitting that the foundation would work toward preserving the diverse and delicate ecosystems of the region. (Read Blue Moon president and CEO Diane Edgerton Miller's IP profile).
So why the sudden change of heart? According to Blue Moon, the drying up of funding is due to personnel changes. I'm not sure what personnel changes have to do with preserving the biodiversity of the Chesapeake-Appalachia region, and Blue Moon isn't saying anything beyond their short statement. Existing Chesapeake-Appalachia grantees need not worry (the last round of grants made in this region occurred in June, 2012), their funding and reporting requirements remain unchanged. If existing grantees are hoping to apply for the same funding in 2013, then, they may want to consider looking elsewhere, at least until Blue Moon makes a statement regarding if and when funding will resume.
UPDATE: The Blue Moon Fund has completed its “sunset strategy” and is no longer a grantmaking organization. Click here for more information.