OVERVIEW: The Wallace Genetic Foundation gives mostly large grants to several major players in the fields of wildlife conservation and biodiversity protection, but the scope of their funding is quite limited, and they tend to favor certain organizations year in and year out.
IP TAKE: Wallace is a tough nut to crack, and only large, well-established groups will likely have a chance at making the cut. While the guidelines on the website appear to be quite broad, don’t be misled; Wallace has some very specific areas of focus. They accept, but also discourage, unsolicited proposals.
PROFILE: The Wallace Genetic Foundation was established in 1959 by one-time vice president to Franklin Roosevelt, Henry A. Wallace, and his wife Ilo. It’s safe to say that Wallace’s vision lives on through his foundation, despite his death nearly a half century ago; his legacy was passed on to his daughter, Jean Wallace, who served as president of the foundation until her death in 2011 at age 91. Wallace’s grandson, David W. Douglas, and two granddaughters, Ann D. Cornell and Joan D. Murray, now head the grant committee and board of directors.
The foundation's giving habits still reflect Wallace’s background and values, as the fund focuses heavily on land conservation and promoting biological diversity. The foundation gives out a handful of grants each year dedicated specifically to wildlife conservation, but many of these projects also tie in to agricultural practices in some way. Funding has been awarded to the American Bird Conservancy for its work in protecting birds, wildlife and humans from pesticides and toxins; the Center for Biological Diversity for their national pesticides and endangered species campaign; and to the National Audubon Society for habitat restoration for endangered roseate terns in Maine.
Advocacy and education comprise the other main themes in the foundation’s grant making, as funding has been awarded to the Amazon Conservation Team for its efforts to promote biodiversity conservation and ethno-education in Colombia and the International Fund for Animal Welfare to support their Animal Action Education program. To access a full list of the foundation's grantees, click here.
The majority of the groups Wallace funds receive multi-year support, which can make it difficult but not impossible for new groups to break through. Wallace only supports groups with large budgets, and the median amount of their gifts is $75,000, but few projects receive more than this.
- Patricia M. Lee, Co-Executive Director
- Carolyn H. Sand, Co-Executive Director