Marisla Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

OVERVIEW: The Marisla Foundation is best known for its major environmental grantmaking, which is focused on marine resources conservation and select regions of North America, Chile, and the western Pacific. However, the foundation also actively engages in human services grantmaking in the California counties of Los Angeles and Orange. 

FUNDING AREAS: Biodiversity conservation, protection of the marine environment, environmental health, human services, California women

IP TAKE: Local nonprofits often write off the Marisla Foundation as a strictly environmental funder. However, this foundation has a strong and specialized human services program that aims to meet the physical, mental, and financial needs of southern California women. Women-focused homelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence and vocational training programs in Los Angeles and Orange counties see the steadiest show of Marisla support.

PROFILE: The Marisla Foundation was founded by Anne Getty Earhart, the granddaughter of oilman J. Paul Getty. She directs her foundation’s grantmaking to environmental issues, with a focus on the Los Angeles, Southern California, and the West Coast. The private foundation was established in 1986 and makes grants in two program areas and a special interest area.

We have already covered in detail Marisla’s work in environmental conservation, which is what the foundation is best known for. The environmental program focuses on conserving biological diversity and sustainable ecosystem management, with an emphasis on marine resources. North America, the western Pacific, and Chile are the geographical areas of focus for these grants. Health threats caused by toxic chemicals are also of particular interest to the Marisla Foundation.


Meanwhile, Marisla’s human services funding has a local geographical focus, in Los Angeles and Orange counties, and is dedicated to assisting women with their physical, mental, and financial health. Marisla typically makes these grants to local organizations working in the fields of domestic violence, homelessness, substance abuse, and vocational training. The foundation also regularly contributes millions of dollars to the Orange County Community Foundation for the Marisla Fund.

There are only two staff members at the Marisla Foundation, an executive director and an administrator. The founder, Anne Getty Earhart, is locally known to support democrats and personally contribute to liberal global warming legislation and democratic political campaigns.

Related: The Oil Company Heiress Devoting Her Wealth To Oceans

Fortunately for grantseekers, the foundation does accept unsolicited grant applications. However, it only has the capacity to fund a small number of requests out of the hundreds of proposals received each year. In addition to the environmental and human services grantmaking programs, Marisla reserves a special interest category to provide support for new and compelling funding opportunities that the Board of Directors come across. Special interests funding is available by invitation only.

Grant applications are accepted November 15 through January 15, February 15 through April 15, May 15 through July 15, and August 15 through October 15. Board meetings are held in March, June, September, and December each year. As a general rule, Marisla does not fund individuals or political causes. Grant applicants should expect to hear back from the Marisla staff within two to three months after submitting an application, so be patient.

The entire application process is conducted online, so don’t bother sending any paper copies. Electronic proposals are handled by Marisla’s administrator, Foundation Source at (800) 839-5316, or However, program-related questions can be directed to Marisla’s own staff administrator, Glenda Menges at


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