Bullitt Foundation: Grants for Marine Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Bullitt Foundation focuses on developing sustainable cities and healthy relationships between cities and their neighboring ecosystems, including nearby bodies of water.

IP TAKE: Bullitt largely focuses on supporting work in cities; however, it also supports waterway restoration and protection, as long as the conservation project addresses environmental challenges as they relate to urban centers. 

PROFILE: The Bullitt Foundation has been a prominent defender of Pacific Northwest ecosystems since its founding in 1952. Founded by Dorothy Bullitt, a trail-blazing Seattle businesswoman and philanthropist, the foundation seeks to "safeguard the natural environment by promoting responsible human activities and sustainable communities in the Pacific Northwest." The foundation restricts its geographic focus to the Emerald Corridor – the region bounded by Vancouver, BC to the north, Portland to the south, and the Cascades to the east. Within this geographic range, the foundation's work targets "specific sub-regions associated with the three major population centers and the more rural areas experiencing significant growth pressures." Bullitt's programs support the Pacific Northwest's identity and landscape through its Regional Ecosystem Health; Energy, Climate, & Materials; Deep Green Buildings; Resilient Cities, Healthy Communities; an Environmental Fellowship; and Thought Leadership and Innovation.

The foundation's programming focuses have shifted gears in recent years to primarily address urban environmental issues due to a radical population shift toward cities; however, marine conservation remains important to Bullitt. Many of its programs overlap in their focus, but the foundation pursues most of its marine conservation through its Regional Ecosystem Health program, which emphasizes the "links between healthy ecosystems, open space, working lands, and vibrant human communities." The program largely addresses issues at "the interface of the built environment and the natural world and illuminates the links between healthy ecosystems, open space, working lands, and vibrant human communities. It seeks to advance innovations in regional planning and management of land and water to improve cross-sector coordination and ensure that policy and financial decisions fully account for the value we receive from nature." The program also seeks to restore and conserve nature as the basic infrastructure, which supports urban resilience and sustainability. The program engages applied urban research and tool development, conservation finance and environmental economics, and ecosystem defense and ecological restoration.

Most Bullitt grants are under $50,000, but the foundation makes many grants a year and also supports small organizations. Due to the foundation's more narrow regional focus, it is a strong supporter of small and grassroots organizations. To see a list of past grantees, click here.

Bullitt does not accept unsolicited applications, but features an online inquiry form that contacts a program officer who may then contact the applicant for more information or invite a full proposal. The main requirement is that applicants' efforts must be relevant to improving how cities and surrounding ecosystems coexist.


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