Ayrshire Foundation: Grants for Climate Change

OVERVIEW: The Ayrshire Foundation invests in youth, the elderly and disabled, science and the environment, healthcare, and community culture.

IP TAKE: Besides its geographic preferences, the Ayrshire Foundation has very few hard-and-fast rules for giving. Environmental issues are key aspects of its investment, with climate change at the forefront of the environmental focus area.

PROFILE: The Ayrshire Foundation was founded in 1998 by James N. Gamble (the great grandson of the founder of Procter & Gamble) and his family in order to broaden the scope of their already established personal philanthropy. The foundation views its grants as “investment[s] in the possibility of change and a better world.” Indeed, it invests in youth, science & environment, healthcare, services for the elderly and disabled, and community culture. 

The foundation supports climate change initiatives through its science & environmental giving, which the foundation prioritizes in order to protect and enhance "our world by supporting scientific research and education as well as sustainable or remedial environmental policy." While the foundation's website no longer reflects specific grantmaking programs, its tax filings reveal a broad interest in climate change.

Ayrshire grants range from $10,000 to $100,000. It tends to geographically prioritize the California Bay Area, the San Gabriel Valley of California, and Little Traverse, Michigan—all three are areas where James Gamble and his family have community ties. However, the foundation invests in projects across the United States, albeit to a far lesser extent. Programs that might be broader in scope (regional or national), but are still headquartered or linked to one of these three geographic areas. Grants are offered for one year or multiple years, and the foundation supports partnering with other foundations and/or serving as a matching grant incentive for other givers. Regardless of the partnerships or incentives, because this is a foundation that seeks to invest, it is not keen to allocate grants for general operating support. As the foundation states, it instead seeks to support “other than usual operations—i.e. providing seed money for new programs or agencies designed to meet unfilled needs in the communities involved.” Past climate change grantees include the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Union of Concerned Scientists among many other past grantees.

The Ayrshire Foundation requires applicants to complete a brief online form. If an applicant interests the foundation, it will invite them to submit a full proposal. The Ayrshire Foundation meets twice annually to review grant applications. Completed grant proposals are due by March 15 for its May/June meeting, and September 15 for the foundaiton's October meeting.

Due to several recent very large multi-year grants, the foundation's funds are fully committed through 2018. However, it will entertain new grants sometime in late 2018. 

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