Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation: Grants for Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation supports programs that encourage local communities to address the depletion of natural resources and wildlife habitats.

IP TAKE: This funder dedicates a good portion of its grantmaking to the interior west region of the United States. Although it primarily funds big game conservation of iconic animals, the foundation supports conservation efforts that support wildlife habitats and big game proliferation. 

PROFILE: Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg established their foundation in 1987 during a trip to Africa. The Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation (LCAOF) is “a private body devoted to the conservation of nature and amelioration of human distress.” The foundation’s grantmaking supports groups that address species extinction, habitat destruction, and resource depletion. 

The foundation dedicates four programs to its animal and wildlife investments: Saving the African ElephantSaving the TigerSaving the Jaguar, and In Madagascar. As evident, the foundation invests in conserving iconic mammals and geographically targeted endeavors centered on Madagascar. The foundation also seeks ways to mobilize local communities toward relieving human pressures on animals and the environment, with a focus on projects that address species extinction, habitat destruction and fragmentation, and resource depletion and waste. 

This funder’s grants generally take the form of seed money, continuing support, and matching or challenge support. It also tends to support established, large organizations. Panthera, the African Conservation fund, the Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife, and The Nature Conservancy are past grantees. However, the foundation also supports new projects and organizations. Grants range from a few thousand into the hundreds of thousands. Grantseekers can explore a list of the foundation's recent grantees here.

The board of directors is comprised of many renowned conservationists, biologists and authors who are considered pioneers in their fields. These include Dr. William Conway, who served as the director of the Bronx Zoo for 43 years and was instrumental in helping the Wildlife Conservation Society establish four zoos and one aquarium in New York City; and Dr. George Schaller, who serves as a Senior Conservationist with the Wildlife Conservation Society and has led numerous influential studies on the world’s most iconic and endangered animals. Art Ortenberg was a board member, as well, until his death in February 2014.

The Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation does not accept unsolicited applications, and it may be contacted at 


Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only).