The Lawrence Foundation: Grants for Climate Change

OVERVIEW: The Lawrence Foundation is a family foundation whose giving focuses on the environment, youth development and human services.

IP TAKE: The environment is the foremost grant-getter for this foundation, with climate and energy issues most certainly addressed. Grant amounts are typically no more than $5,000, but there are no geographic restrictions either in the U.S. or around the world (so long as the work is generated by a U.S.-based nonprofit) and the foundation provides you with the flexibility of operating grants, as well as the more typical program grants.

PROFILE: The mission of The Lawrence Foundation is vaguely stated: to “support organizations that are working to solve pressing environmental, educational, human services and other issues.”

The throughline for this giving is also vague. A family foundation established by Jeff Lawrence and his wife, Diane Troth, with cash accrued when Lawrence sold his Trillium Digital Systems to Intel, the website says the couple feels it is "important to give something back and support organizations that are trying to make the world a better place.”

More information can be gleaned through the foundation’s actions than its words, which show a clear emphasis on environmental causes, with climate and energy issues on the roster.

You'll have competition. The foundation says it receives over 1,000 grant requests per year (while bragging that most family foundations only receive “about 150”). It also states that The Lawrence Foundation is only able to fund “about 5%” of those 1,000 annual requests. Quick math comes out to 50 grants per year. (Tax records for 2015, the most recent year currently available, show that the foundation gave out 48 grants that year.) In total, the foundation's website currently states, it has given 525 grants totaling almost $4.6 million since the outfit's establishment in 2000, and currently has assets of “about $4 million.”

That said, grant amounts given out by The Lawrence Foundation are modest, typically ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, with the vast majority at the $5,000 mark. The foundation’s application is fairly basic; it uses the Common Grant Application (which leadership of The Lawrence Foundation helped create). There is a standard request for goals/objectives/outcomes—a good strategy would be to communicate how a $5,000 grant would strongly support your goals.

Note: the foundation “does not typically” give funding for computers/software, audio/video equipment, music or theater programs/equipment, gardening programs/equipment, physical education or recreational programs/equipment, or hospice/”old age home” programs.

Recent climate and energy grantees include:

  • $10,000 to the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council (Steamboat Springs, CO) "to advance environmental, economic, and social sustainability for current and future generations"
  • $5,000 to the Global Footprint Network (Oakland, CA) "to enable a sustainable future where all people have the opportunity to live satisfying lives within the means of one planet"
  • $5,000 to the Center for Resource Solutions (San Francisco, CA) "to develop expert responses to climate change issues with the speed and effectiveness necessary to provide real-time solutions"
  • $5,000 to the Environmental Integrity Project (Washington, DC) "to spotlight illegal polution, explose political intimidation of enforcement staff, and encourage federal and state agencies to take enforcement action"
  • $5,000 to the Pesticide Action Network (Oakland, CA) "to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives."

The Lawrence Foundation’s grant application is open to all, and has two grant cycles each year, with deadlines in April and November.


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