OVERVIEW: As a component fund of the California Community Foundation, Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation is a major player in wildlife and ocean conservation through grants and public education campaigns. It supports programs that reintroduce native populations to the wild, expand natural habitats, and end poaching, illegal hunting, and overfishing in critical regions.
IP TAKE: The foundation seems to assist where the need to preserve biodiversity is greatest. Past interests include Nepalese tigers, African elephants, and sharks. It is, however, difficult to figure out how to apply for funds.
From its website: "founded in 1998, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) implements solutions that help restore balance to threatened ecosystems, ensuring the long-term health and well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants."
The foundation tends to support somewhat traditional conservation and wildlife causes. Think big iconic animals, sensitive ecosystems, and ocean protection. In particular, he tends to go after international trade that threatens sensitive species like sharks and elephants, but also puts an emphasis on protecting ecosystems, both land and sea.
Two of the foundation's prominent grants have gone to the World Wildlife Fund and Oceana. The former supports the conservation giant’s work to protect Nepalese tigers. The latter backs efforts to protect species in the Pacific, especially in relation to banning drift gillnets that are responsible for bycatch of species like turtles and whales.
LDF works with its network of partners to bring attention and funding to these core areas:
- Protecting wildlife
- Saving our oceans
- Restoring wildlands
- Empowering communities
There isn't any information on the LDF website about how to apply for funding, which is probably a sign it does not accept unsolicited proposals. Your best bet is to try applying through the California Community Foundation's web portal.
Justin Winters, Executive Director