Richard King Mellon Foundation: Grants for Conservation

OVERVIEW: This Pennsylvania foundation started by the founder of Mellon Bank is larely devoted to conservation in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Howver, the foundation has ensured protection of nearly 2 million acres nationwide.     

IP TAKE: Organizations from outside the southwestern quadrant of Pennsylvania won't get very far here, but some Mellon money does occasionally end up elsewhere.

PROFILE: Since 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation has invested in programs designed to improve the quality of life in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region, with a focus largely on conservation, including the protection, preservation, and restoration of the region's environmental heritage. The foundation is huge, with more than $1.9 billion in assets, and it gives out about $100 million annually, with about $14 million of that to support conservation.

Even if your organization does do conservation work in Southwestern Pennsylvania, you'll have to have to have the right kind of approach for Mellon. The foundation seems to prefer grants in support of established organizations with specific objectives, and for working in partnership with other donors rather than simply underwriting a project's entire cost. 

Their recent grant making largely reflects their localized priorities in Pennsylvania; however, the foundation doesn't limit itself to the state as a hard and fast rule. It should be noted that a large number of grants awarded outside of Pennsylvania involves work being conducted in the state. Recent grants made both in and outside of the state can be reviewed by clicking here

Mellon's conservation grantmaking is bolstered by the experience of Brian Hill, a long-time major player on environmental issues in the state. Before going to Mellon, Hill was President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and also worked for Governor Rendell. Hill is a serious wonk on conservation issues, with degrees in environmental science and natural resources management. The Director of the division, Scott Izzo was president of the Student Conservation Association. It's probably not wise to show up in either of their inboxes with anything other than a super rigorous proposal. Although the foundation does have a history of awarded grants outside of Pennsylvania, it does not "encourage" proposals outside of the state. 


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