Passport Foundation: Grants for Environmental Conservation

OVERVIEW: Associated with the hedge fund Passport Capital, the Passport Foundation’s conservation grantmaking is unique in that it focuses on the impacts of environmental contaminants. 

 IP TAKE: The foundation lacks transparency and does not accept unsolicited proposals.

PROFILE:  In 2000, John H. Burbank founded hedge fund Passport Capital. He later established The Passport Foundation, a philanthropy associated with the hedge fund and in a recent year gave away around $1.2 million. The foundation lacks transparency limiting available information on its grantmaking strategies and priorities. However, tax filings suggest a focus on environmental health rather than traditional conservation funding areas.

While the foundation does not maintain a website providing further programmatic information, filings show an interest eliminating contaminants from the environment. In 2009, the foundation launched its Science Innovation Fund to “expand knowledge of the impacts of environmental contaminants on human health to inform and advance, first and foremost, chemicals regulation and risk assessment reform; and secondarily, public health and clinical care policies and practices.” It has funded such studies as “Estrogen and Androgen Receptor Activities of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Surface and Ground Water in a Drilling-Dense Region” which examined whether chemicals used in fracking can disrupt human sex hormones.

Grants range in the low thousands. Past grantees include the Bluegreen Alliance Foundation; Earthjustice; Environmental Defense Fund; NRDC; Washington Toxics Coalition; Clean Production Action; Environmental Health Strategy Center; and Forsythia Foundation, whose mission is to promote “healthier people and environments by reducing harmful chemicals in our lives.”  Forsythia was founded by Passport Foundation cofounder Alison Carlson.


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Passport Foundation
1 Market St., Ste. 2200, Steuart Tower
San Francisco, CA 94105