OVERVIEW: The Mars Foundation funds efforts to support the environment, wildlife, well-being, sustainability, food security, the arts, and human services.
IP TAKE: The Mars Foundation's environmental broadly funds conservation efforts with small to medium-sized grants.
PROFILE: The Mars Foundation is the philanthropic entity of Mars, Inc., a global manufacturer of confections, pet food, drinks and other food products. While mostly known for candy such as M&Ms, Mars is still a family-owned business. Its heirs are Jacqueline B. Mars, Forrest E. Mars, Jr. and John F. Mars, who are Frank Mars' grandchildren. The foundation has scaled up efforts in recent years. Although it does not have it's own website, its corporate sister Mars Inc. outlines various philanthropic priorities: climate change, human rights, and healthy living.
Mars conducts its climate-change and conservation related funding through its climate change program, which oversees climate action, water stewardship, and land use. The program invests in "energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that allow [Mars] to tackle emissions at scale." In order to be Sustainable in a Generation, Mars has examined the latest science, concluding that its corporate sister Mars Inc. must reduce the total GHG emissions across its "value chain by 27% by 2025 and 67% by 2050 (from 2015 levels) in order to do [its] part to keep the planet from warming beyond two degrees." As its corporate sister has scaled up efforts, we can assume its foundation has followed.
Tax filings suggest the foundation's grantmaking to conservation efforts priortize small and mid-sized organizations. Past grantees include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Student Conservation Association, Eco Health Alliance in New York, and the Environmental Defense Fund. Smaller grants have supported the Nature Conservancy, Galapagos Foundation, Potomac Conservancy, and Rocky Mountain Natural Research Center.
The three Mars heirs clearly reflect a strong interest in conservation; however, they have not engaged philanthropy on a scale comparable to their net worth. In addition, none of the three Mars heirs has signed the Giving Pledge.
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The Mars Foundation
6885 Elm Street
McLean, VA 22101
( 703 ) 821-4900