Moore Charitable Foundation: Grants for Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Moore Charitable Foundation protects land and water-based ecosystems in the Bahamas, Colorado, New York, and North Carolina. It links up with nonprofits and public officials in each locale to launch new forest management initiatives, conserve and restore threatened waterways, and keep tens of thousands of acres of plains and canyons development-free.

IP TAKE: If you have a conservation program in the Bahamas, Colorado, North Carolina, or New York — along with solid organization and buy-in from more than a few outside partners to back you up — then the Moore Charitable Foundation may have a grant for you, but note that it does not accept unsolicited proposals.

PROFILE: Louis Moore Bacon, formerly a New York hedge-fund manager, has been in the conservation game for a while now. In 1993 he bought up the 445-acre Robins Island in New York for $11 million, teaming up with the Nature Conservancy to designate the whole property as permanently off-limits to development. This was just a year after Bacon organized the Moore Charitable Foundation. In the decades since, he has led the foundation in securing legal protection for, and continuing stewardship of, threatened habitats throughout New York State and other parts of the country.

All types of landscapes, including forests, wetlands, plains, and canyons, lie within the protected areas that the foundation has helped to create over the years. Water conservation initiatives also draw the foundation's interest: Moore has backed numerous efforts to quell the adverse effects of agricultural runoff, overfishing, and construction on America's waterways. The foundation still runs strong today with around $18.7 million in assets and a grantmaking operation that distributes $2.3 million to $4 million in grants a year. Moore keeps an ongoing lookout for promising land and water conservation initiatives to fund, with a selective interest in programs that do work in any of four key locales: 

Initiatives in any of the above locales stand better chances of obtaining grants from Moore if their work is demonstrably collaborative. The more partners and sectors involved, the better. Better still if the initiatives bring innovative approaches to the conservation issue at hand.

Nationally distributed organizations that are active in any of the four abovementioned locations receive ample Moore support, too. Such is the Land Trust Alliance, a conservation foundation whose home office is in Washington, D.C., but whose operations extend through all 50 states. Moore has given this group $354,000 in recent years. Moore has also given $175,000 to the Natural Resources Defense Council and $165,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Grant applicants should take note, however, that no organization gets a grant from the Moore Charitable Foundation by submitting an unsolicited proposal. Moore does its own scanning and searching for potential grant recipients. If the foundation's staff thinks your initiative matches their vision and merits funding, they will find you and tell you so.

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