The Lawrence Foundation: Grants for Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Lawrence Foundation is a family foundation whose giving focuses on the environment, youth development, disaster relief and human services.

IP TAKE: The foundation prioritizes giving for environmental causes. The foundation provides the flexibility of operating grants, as well as the more typical program grants. Grantmaking is very competitive as the foundation sometimes receives over 1,000 applications in a cycle.

PROFILE: A private family foundation, the Lawrence Foundation has sought to “support organizations that are working to solve pressing environmental, educational, human services and other issues" since 2000. Established by Jeff Lawrence and his wife, Diane Troth, with cash accrued when Lawrence sold his Trillium Digital Systems to Intel, the website says the couple feels "it is important to give something back and support organizations that are trying to make the world a better place.” The foundation maintains a broad approach to its investments and does not outline grantmaking specifics. Indeed, it only names grantmaking interests, not priorities, which include the environment, disaster relief, youth, and other human services.

Though the foundation does not have a dedicated conservation program, it broadly funds conservation work through its interest in the environment. Unfortunately, it lacks transparency in its given priority areas and does not name specific grantmaking strategies.

Lawrence grants are modest and range from $2,000 to $10,000, with the vast majority at the $5,000 mark. The foundation’s application is fairly basic; it uses the Common Grant Application (which leadership of The Lawrence Foundation helped create). The foundation “does not typically” fund computers/software, audio/video equipment, music or theater programs/equipment, gardening programs/equipment, physical education or recreational programs/equipment, or hospice/”old age home” programs. While the foundation does not impose geographic restrictions, it prioritizes supporting organizations located in or benefiting California, where it is headquartered. Past conservation grantees include Pacific Environment, The Nature Conservancy, and Stand.earth, among many others.

The Lawrence Foundation’s grant application is open to all, and has two grant cycles each year, with deadlines in April and November.

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