Turner Foundation: Grants for Conservation

OVERVIEW: Ted Turner, founder of television stations such as CNN, WTBS, TNT and the owner of millions of acres of land, has a family foundation that grants a significant amount of money, in the form of small-to-medium-sized grants, to a number of environmental organizations.

IP TAKE: The Turner Foundation’s grants are by invitation-only. The foundation is not transparent about grant guidelines or details.

PROFILE: Conservation is serious business to Ted Turner—the media mogul and landowner describes protecting the environment as nothing less than an “effort to ensure the survival of the human species.” Founded in 1990, the Turner Foundation, is completely dedicated to funding conservation grantmaking and seeks to safeguard threatened landscapes and wildlife across the globe. A family operation, Ted Turner serves as its present-day chairman, his five children occupy the top director positions. Turner conservation grantmaking benefits land, air, water, and conservation education.

In the conservation space, the Turner Foundation offers around $10 million a year to fund organizations focused on the environment both in the United States and across the world. Its land conservation program supports the restoration and protection of both private and public lands, while its air program works to ensure a clean energy future, catalyzing the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy sources through a variety of approaches. The foundation’s water program takes a complex approach addressing both freshwater and marine water protection. Lastly, its conservation education, supported across all grantmaking areas, seeks to “promote conservation engagement across all ages, ethnicities, political associations, and interest groups” through youth participation, millennial engagement, communities of color, and corporate participation.

Grants range from about $30,000 to $60,000, but can offer more depending on the size and scope of an applicant’s project. Past grantees include the Conservative Energy Network and the Georgia Conservancy, Inc., among many others. The foundation posts its grantee list annually.

Grantmaking is by invitation only. Interested applicants should contact the foundation to introduce themselves with a brief summary of their project. The foundation is not transparent about grant guidelines or details.


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