Quimby Family Foundation: Grants for Environmental Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Quimby Family Foundation advances nature conservation and pro-nature values among Maine's public. The foundation’s grantmaking centers on main and supports outdoor recreation, land preservation, environmental movement, wilderness values, and youth conservation education.

IP TAKE: The foundation gives only in Maine, but accepts LOIs.

PROFILE: Established, in 2004, the Quimby Family Foundation concentrates grants in Maine. Roxanne Quimby was a divorced mother living in a cabin without electricity in the woods of Maine in the 1980s when she co-launched Burt's Bees, an earth-friendly personal-care product line that quickly became a nationwide sensation, with hundreds of millions of dollars in accrued revenue. In 2003, she sold 80 percent of the company for $141 million, and just four years later, in 2007, the remaining stake of Burt's was sold to Clorox for $925 million. The foundation’s grantmaking centers on nutrition and movement, or how citizens move through natural spaces.

The foundation prioritizes saving tracts of land. It also encourages healthy outdoor recreation, sustainable resource use, and "wilderness values" among the people of Maine — goals it pursues by supporting nature trails, summer camps, and other activities that connect people with the natural world.

Quimby also funds youth-centered programs. The foundation funds numerous other recreational and educational activities for young people throughout the year. And not all of these are conservation-specific. School theatre and music programs and youth art clubs also frequently win grant awards from this foundation. Other educational programs that affirm overall environmental sustainability receive funding like the Bay School of Bangor, Maine.

Grants range from $5,000 to $50,000. One of its biggest beneficiaries thus far is the Natural Resources Council of Maine, an environmental advocacy group that presses for pro-environment legislation and organizes ecosystem restoration projects. Other grantees include the Maine Island Trail Association, while the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust gained funding and Portland Trails also received a series of grants. The foundation also gives generously to land and river conservation and restoration programs. To see a full list of grantees, click here.

Unlike larger philanthropic organizations whose grant giving is exclusively invitation only, the Quimbys welcome unsolicited funding requests. An interested applicant must submit a one-page "concept letter" describing the project through the foundation's website has a portal.  Quimby's staff reviews them and invites the applicants whose proposals sound the most promising to submit a full application.

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