Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation: Grants for Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Gimbel Foundation supports the environment with grants for both direct services and advocacy. Its environmental grantmaking includes projects that reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency, ensure access to clean air and water, and restore the health of the oceans.

IP TAKE: Gimbel predominately funds national programs and large environmental groups with general support. However, there is a small emphasis on ocean work and the occasional small grant for New York City programs. The foundation limits its funding for direct services programs to those operating in New York City.

PROFILE: Established in 1943, the Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation is a private, family foundation. Bernard F. Gimbel is the grandson of the store's 19th century founder. Bernard expanded the chain into New York and led the company to its great financial success. Today, the Gimbel Foundation is overseen by a board of nine directors, all descendants of Bernard, with granddaughter Leslie Gimbel as President and CEO. The foundation invests in the environment, criminal justice, economic development, reproductive rights, and civil legal services.

The foundation does not maintain specific grantmaking programs through which it conducts work to support conservation. Instead, Gimbel broadly funds organizations that support the environment. Gimbel's grantmaking interest in the environment has invested in projects that combat "climate change by reducing carbon emissions and increasing energy efficiency; ensuring access to clean air and water by preventing pollution and the use of toxic chemicals; and restoring the health of the oceans by promoting responsible fishing, fighting ocean pollution and preserving marine ecosystems."  Past grantees are listed on its website. 

Grants range from $50,000 and $100,000, and generally support conservation efforts that are   national and international in scope. However, the foundation also prioritizes NYC initiatives to increase the sustainability and resiliency of New York City's built environment.

Gimbel is fairly accessible and may be reached at (212) 684-9110, but grant decisions are made in December and June. Inquiries are accepted through the funder’s online system.


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