The Lawrence Foundation: Grants for Animals and Wildlife

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 protections for animals and wildlife—and human understanding of and appreciation for them—emphasized. 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 vague. The foundation merely declares that its mission is 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. Those actions include a clear emphasis on environmental causes, with protection of animals and wildlife a priority. The foundation's giving also shows a pattern of supporting organizations and programs that educate the public to understand and advocate for animals and wildlife.

You'll have competition here. The foundation says it receives over 1,000 grant requests per year (while bragging that most family foundations only receive “about 150”). It also says it's only able to fund “about 5%” of those 1,000 annual requests. Quick math would translate that to 50 grants distributed 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 Lawrence Foundation’s website currently states that the foundation has given 525 grants totaling almost $4.6 million since its establishment in 2000, and currently has assets of “about $4 million.”

That said, grant amounts given out by The Lawrence Foundation are modest. They typically range 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.

A sampling of recent animals and wildlife grantees include:

  • $10,000 to Living With Wolves (Sun Valley, ID) "to educate public about wolves"
  • $5,000 to the Orangutan Foundation (Los Angeles, CA) "to protect animal and rainforest habitat"
  • $5,000 to the World Society Protection of Animals (New York, NY) "to end the needless suffering of animals and inspire people to change animals' lives for the better"
  • $5,000 to the Felidae Conservation Fund (Mill Valley, CA) "to improve the state of global wild cat ecosystems through a sequence of research, education, and online technologies to benefit humanity and drive meaningful change in the natural world"
  • $5,000 to Best Friends Animal Society (Kanab, UT) "to reduce the number of animals entering shelters and increasing the number of people who adpt pets, therefore reducing deaths"
  • $4,000 to Osage Raptor Rehab (Warsaw, MO) "To care for injured and orphaned native bird and wildlife species, and furthering public education on wildlife issues"
  • $2,500 to Forests for Monarchs (Austin, TX) "to restore the environment for monarchs and other wildlife"
  • $2,500 to the Owl Research Institute (Charlo, MT) "to study the ecology of owls and their communities to provide information about their life and natural histories."

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

PEOPLE:

Jeff Lawrence, Founder and Trustee

Diane Troth, Trustee

Lori Mitchell, Executive Director