Linden Trust for Conservation: Grants for Conservation

OVERVIEW: The philanthropic project of former Goldman Sachs partner Larry Linden, the Linden Trust for Conservation focuses on market-based approaches that can provide long-term financing, mostly for land protection. 

IP TAKE: While Linden offers six-figure grants to a number of conservation groups, it has been particularly effective as a rainmaker through its role in brokering huge investments from other financial institutions and foundations. It does not accept unsolicited proposals.

PROFILE: Founded in 2006, the Linden Trust for Conservation was created by Larry Linden, formerly a Partner at McKinsey and Goldman Sachs, and Roger Ullman, formerly a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch, is led and staffed by a team of ex-businesspeople with deep experience in finance and management. Linden received his PhD from MIT and a BSE from Princeton. He started his family foundation in 1993, which changed its name in 2005 to the Linden Trust for Conservation. Linden and Ullman's background in consulting and finance inform's LTC’s commitment to "seeking bipartisan and economically sound approaches to addressing critical conservation challenges." The foundation ultimately seeks to "identify practical, efficient, and non-partisan solutions that allow people to find common ground and move forward." LTC's priorities include environmental markets, conservation finance, institutions, and two climate policy initiatives.

LTC's efforts are entirely dedicated to conservation, largely through finance approaches to various challenges facing conservation. A unique approach to conservation, LTC provides both grants (often unrestricted) and financing for long-term support of large-scale conservation projects. 

First, as far as grants go, the largest recipients are Resources for the Future and the WWF. The former has received as much as $600,000 in one recent year, and the latter closer to $1 million. This is pretty significant, considering that the Linden Trust usually only grants around $2 million a year. But it does give smaller, though still significant, amounts to other environmental groups, including World Resources Institute, the EDF, the NRDC, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

In a stunning example of a fund operated by the WWF of $215 million to protect about 150 million acres of the Brazilian Amazon, Linden helped orchestrate a concerted effort of governments, banks, and huge foundations, to pony up the backing all at once. The so-called “closing” strategy means funds for the huge tracts of land will be available up front, and then slowly decrease funding as the Brazilian government takes over more and more of the burden in the long term.

Given its narrow, but deep support, Linden does not accept unsolicited proposals.

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