Laird Norton Family Foundation: Grants for Global Health

OVERVIEW: The Laird Norton Foundation’s grantmaking supports education, climate change, and vulnerable youth. 

IP TAKE: Laird Norton can provide both program and operating support, which makes it an attractive funder for small and grassroots organizations. 

PROFILE: Established in 1940, the Laird Norton Family Foundation has supported the philanthropic efforts of the Laird and Norton families through the then-Briarcombe Fund. In 2006, the family company donated $25 million to Briarcombe, which was renamed the Laird Norton foundation. Laird Norton believes water and sanitation efforts “the first step [in] improving health, education, economic welfare, and quality of life in developing countries.” Laird Norton supports arts in education, climate change, and vulnerable youth. It no longer make grants through its Global Fundamentals program, which has ended its WASH and sanitation efforts in the public health sector. However, it continues to support watershed efforts. 

Laird Norton has vastly reduced its public health investments in WASH and sanitation efforts. Instead, Laird Norton now makes public health grants through its Watershed and Climate Change programs. Its Watershed program, limited to the Northwestern U.S., invests in "collaborative, community-led watershed restoration with the goal of making measurable improvements in the ecosystems of watersheds – from fish passage and stream restoration to land conservation and environmental education for local youth." While LN funds public health grants as they relate to watershed concerns, it emphasizes environmental concerns rather than public health issues. In contrast, its climate change program offers some public health related funding. However, LN only supports public health projects in this area that mitigate the affects of climate change on health. Despite this, LN has largely shifted its public health investments elsewhere.   

Grants typically range from $20,000 to $50,000. Grant periods are one year, but the foundation occasionally considers multi-year awards. LN does not accept unsolicited applications. However, accepts “brief inquiries” from organizations whose work aligns with the foundation’s global grantmaking priorities.

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