Conservation, Food and Health Foundation: Grants for Animals and Wildlife

OVERVIEW: The Conservation, Food & Health Foundation provides grants for small nonprofits performing research-based wildlife conservation in the developing world.

IP TAKE: The foundation seeks organizations whose team includes highly qualified researchers whose expertise directly relates to grantseeker's project. However, the foundation makes exceptions for organizations that work with local populations on a project that addresses very concrete problems, and benefits both humans and wildlife or the environment.

PROFILE: Based in Boston, the Conservation, Food & Health Foundation was founded in 1985 and seeks to "promote the conservation of natural resources, improve the production and distribution of food, and improve health in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East."  It commits anywhere from $750,000 to $1 million or more in grants toward these goals every year. Proceeds usually fund field research, technical assistance, and capacity building. The foundation supports projects that "demonstrate strong local leadership, promote professional development in the conservation, agricultural, and health sciences; develop the capacity of local organizations; and address a particular problem in the field." It prioritizes projects that address under-funded issues and geographic areas in food, conservation, and health. 

Conservation remains one of the foundation's top priorities. The majority of its conservation-specific grants tend to address issues surrounding the habitats themselves, including animals, and the indigenous populations who reside on them. The foundation supports projects that support field research, training, and technical assistance efforts that "help conserve viable ecosystems and protect biological diversity in developing countries" and "train local leaders in conservation and protection of resources, with an emphasis on technical and scientific training." 

Similarly, the foundation's food-related efforts support efforts to "improve access to food for consumption and regional markets." In contrast, it supports health projects that seek preventatives for tropical diseases, help to family plan, or support reproductive health. 

EarthRights International , a nonprofit in Washington D.C., is among its recent grantees. The foundation awarded it $25,000 to support a network of human rights and environmental advocates in the Mekong Region of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, and China. 

The foundation potentially supports projects for multiple grant cycles, and focuses it's giving in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. It does not, however, fund projects in former Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union. There are no policies regarding minimum or maximum grant size; however, grants average about $20,000. Grants exceeding $30,000 are rarely awarded. Grantseekers should note that the foundation does not consider more than one proposal from an organization in any given year.

In addition, the foundation heavily emphasizes research. As a result, organizations that seek to secure funding from this foundation must include researchers with Ph.Ds that can carry out a project that helps scientists better understand the species or habitat in question. Groups who are working with local populations to address an environmental or conservation concern may not need such lofty credentials, but having a history of successful advocacy and public policy work will certainly help them get in the door.

Grants are reviewed in two phases: concept applications are generally due January 1st for the first cycle, and July 1st for the second. The foundation encourages inquiries and asks that they be directed to Prentice A. Zinn (Administrator) at 617-391-3091 or