Rumphius Foundation: Grants for Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Rumphius Foundation carries on the legacy of Mike Schuller, former bank president and school CFO who passed away in 2013, and was known in his life for a dedication to the environment and education. Its mission involves work that protects the environment, but also involves educating young people and improving communities.

IP TAKE: Rumphius is a small foundation, making only a couple of grants a year at this point, but is looking to build its resources with donations. It’s also notably accessible. The family makes grant decisions in the winter, with deadlines at the beginning of the year.

PROFILE: Mike Schuller passed away in 2013 after a long battle with cancer, and he and wife Candace Schuller launched the Rumphius Foundation to continue his lifelong dedication to community, the environment, and education. Schuller formally head of a bank in New Hampshire, and then served as CFO for two schools, one in Delaware and the other in Massachusetts. The foundation seeks to make the "world a little more beautiful; to sow little seeds of hope and joy that will strengthen community and protect the environment, in small but meaningful ways."

The foundation does not name dedicated grantmaking programs, but broadly "seeks to brighten the lives of a diverse range of people in need of a helping hand through projects that enrich groups and organizations across America, and simultaneously educate young people about sustainability and healthy living." As a newer foundation, expect Rumphius's grantmaking to evolve in coming years. It invites new partnerships and grantees, encouraging organizations to apply. It also tracks progress of funded-projects, as well as seeks donations to build its momentum.

The foundation’s first two grants went to projects that merge these themes. The first went to the Telling Room, an education program in Portland, Maine that serves the city’s immigrant and refugee community, teaching them literacy and sustainable urban farming skills. The second went to Schuller’s former school, St. Andrew’s, to expand an organic garden managed by students. This was one of the last green projects Mike Schuller worked on, so the grant went to finishing the job by expanding the garden with a tunnel “hoop house” that will extend the growing season and get more kids involved.

Grants are few, and range from about $2,500 to $4,000, but grantmaking is evolving. Funding decisions happen in the winter. The foundation is refreshingly open speaking with new grantees and the public. The foundation also prefers projects that, aside from aligning with their mission, have a tangible goal, outcome, or end date. 

Applications are accepted by email to Rumphius.Foundation@gmail.com or by mail to:

Rumphius Foundation
23A Johnson St.
Newburyport, MA 01950

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