Tosa Foundation: Grants for Animals and Wildlife

OVERVIEW: The TOSA Foundation is interested in providing funding to various causes, including animals welfare and conservation. While schools and education opportunities claim a much bigger share of the foundation’s largesse, TOSA’s giving to groups that concentrate on animal shelters, endangered species restoration, and aquariums and zoos has been moving in an upward direction.

IP TAKE: The foundation gives more funding to conservation than animal welfare, but still--if animal and wildlife welfare is your cause, then TOSA is worth looking up. Just don’t expect too big an award for your trouble.

PROFILE: John and Tashia Morgridge founded the TOSA Foundation in 1992 for the purpose of contributing to community growth in their home state of Wisconsin. Now a California-based operation, TOSA has expanded its giving to causes across the United States and around the globe.

Well-endowed, it gives tens of millions of dollars in grants each year. Education gets the largest share of this giving, especially higher education. But the environment is a priority, too: The foundation gives roughly 26% of its grant funding to environmental organizations. A small amount of environment-focused funding is specifically for organizations that aid animals and wildlife.

TOSA’s animal-centric funding is modest, and the award amounts are all pretty small (typically below $10,000), but the overall sum totals of animal-related grants have been gradually trending upward and now average $13,000 yearly. So while TOSA’s animals and wildlife grant offerings are still slim, we might see them grow soon enough. This is all the more plausible, actually, given that the Morgridges have gone on record stating that they plan to step up all of their giving and to clean out most—if not all—of their foundation’s cash reserves before they die.

And while the Morgridges have been known to focus their giving on Wisconsin and, to a lesser extent, California, this is by no means an absolute—at least not when it comes to the animals. TOSA has given to several Humane Society chapters, and has also given to a couple of large national wildlife groups. They include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, and one grantee is situated in New Hampshire: the Loon Preservation Committee.

Some organizations outside the United States are in TOSA’s good graces, as well. The African Wildlife Foundation, which has an office in the States but a home base in Kenya, is one of these.

The foundation does not maintain a website, nor do the Morgridges publicize their email addresses. The couple also states that they only give to pre-selected organizations. You might try your luck by writing to them the old-fashioned way via their snail mail address, which is as follows: 3130 Alpine Road, PMB 705, Ste. 288, Portola Valley, California, 94028. You could also try to call them; the phone number that they list on their tax statements is (650) 851-6922.

Regardless, it will take some networking to get on this couple's radar, but their foundation will definitely be one to watch closely as they spend down the trust in coming years.

PEOPLE:

John Morgridge, co-founder and CFO

Tashia Morgridge, co-founder and President