Campbell Foundation: Grants for Marine Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Campbell Foundation addresses the Chesapeake Bay and conservation endeavors on the Pacific Coast. In both locales, Campbell funds its preferences for policymaking on one hand, and community mobilization on the other. 

IP TAKE: Campbell seeks projects that get all stakeholders—local lawmakers, farmers, businesses, environmental groups, and the general public—actively involved in their waterways’ conservation.

PROFILE: Originally founded to protect the Chesapeake Bay in 1998, the Campbell Foundation expanded in 2003 to address the Pacific Ocean's various environmental issues. It has been a force for marine habitat protection in United States ever since. The foundation seeks to improve "the conditions of America’s largest and most ecologically diverse and productive estuary systems: the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays." 

While dry-land habitats receive some of Cambell's grantmaking, the foundation prioritizes protecting the Pacific and Chesapeake watersheds. Its Pacific-focused Healthy Ocean Ecosystems program supports opportunities in the field that are both "gaining political momentum", and present a great opportunity to" leverage resources of all kinds," and lastly, are "innovative from a business and social perspective." Much of its policy-related grantmaking to projects that address the Pacific fund Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) off the coast of California. MPAs are like wildlife preserves or national parks for the ocean intended to restore overfished marine habitats back to health and reverse their decline. California now has around 848 square miles of MPAs in its waters, but devising a system to manage them effectively and to adequately protect them has been a work in progress, and many conservationists find the existing protections to be far from sufficient. Past grantees include the Ocean Conservancy, American Conservation Film Festival and Appalachian Voices. The foundation's Pacific grantmaking allocates funds to projects in these areas:

  • Sustainable fisheries (Domestic/Western US)
  • Protection of special places (Domestic/Western US)
  • Land-sea connection/water quality (Northern California)
  • Communication of ocean conservation issues
  • Climate change models predicting impact on water resources in Western U.S. 

Cambell's Chesapeake grantmaking seeks to "accelerate the pace of nutrient reduction in the Bay through engagement of diverse stakeholders and partnerships between agricultural interests and environmental concerns that forge new paths of working together." It largely seeks grassroots advocacy. Its past grantees include the Everglades Foundation.  

Grant award range from $1,000 to $500,000; however, most grants average about $50,000 to $60,000. Anyone can submit a proposal to Campbell; this foundation accepts unsolicited applications; however, its budget for unsolicited proposals is smaller than the rest of its giving, limiting cold applicants to $25,000 asks.

In particular, Campbell seeks grantees who will directly engage local communities and their governments. Public-private partnerships commonly appear in its grantmaking. So do nonprofits that enlist local residents as volunteer conservationists or citizen scientists. 


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