Kingfisher Foundation: Grants for Conservation

OVERVIEW: Established in 1998, the Kingfisher Foundation is the family foundation of Goldman Sachs veteran Timothy Dattels and his wife Kristine. Kingfisher's goal is to help restore healthy marine ecosystems through sound fisheries management. The funder is particularly interested in aligning economic incentives and public policy.

IP TAKE: While the foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, it does have a website which lists contact information. In recent years, Kingfisher has given a handful of grants annually.

PROFILE: Former Goldman Sachs Partner Timothy Dattels and his wife Kristine founded the Kingfisher Foundation in 1998. Kristine executive directs the foundation. Kingfisher's website sums up its vision as restoring, protecting and sustaining the "abundance, diversity and resilience of marine fish through sound fishery and ecosystem management." Kingfisher is interested in "modest strategic investment" that has the potential to change behavior, shift the debate and establish new ideas. 

The foundation notes that "overfishing driven by growing global demand, technology, and outdated management methods is the biggest threat to ocean health and resiliency." On the flip side, studies show that effective fisheries management can yield significant economic gains to fishers and for consumers around the world. Kingfisher works with and funds a range of advisors, conservation groups, academic institutions and other foundations to accomplish its goals. Kingfisher has been working in this space with a rod and a reel for 14 years.

Kingfisher Foundation's current conservation work is focused on the Pacific coast of North America and the coral reef fisheries of the Pacific Ocean. The foundation provides a short list of core investment principles, and describes projects it's keen to support. One interesting area worth noting is Kingfisher's interest in developing the careers of "results-oriented people who share its values" and attracting individuals from other fields to fisheries management. The foundation lists contact information but does not accept unsolicited proposals.

While Kingfisher's website does not provide a list of recent grantees, a recent 990 lists fewer than 10 grantees, which received a combined $580,255. Another recent year reflects similar numbers, suggesting that Kingfisher doesn't spread its resources very widely from year to year. Environmental Defense Fund is one important grantee, and Kristine sits on the board of the outfit. Other recent grantees include Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in Virginia, and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, located outside San Francisco's Golden Gate, surrounding the Gulf of the Farallones. Kingfisher has also recently supported University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

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