Margaret A. Cargill Foundation: Grants for Marine Conservation

OVERVIEW: Cargill's marine conservation grants prioritize the Alaskan and British Columbia coasts, Micronesia, and the Sunda-Banda Seascape in Indonesia; however, it funds projects across the globe.

IP UPTAKE: Cargill funding is competitive and does not support unsolicited proposals. 

PROFILE: Established in 2006, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation (MACF) honors the memory of Margaret A. Cargill. The foundation is just one of several under the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies umbrella. MACF seeks to "provide meaningful assistance and support to society, the arts, and the environment." It supports programs for arts and culture, the environment, animal welfare, disaster relief, teachers, and development

Cargill offers various marine conservation opportunities through its program dedicated to the environment. The program supports community-based solutions focused on the "conservation of natural resources and protection of natural habitats." The foundation primarily conducts its marine-related grantmaking through two subprograms, coastal ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems. Cargill's coastal program addresses "coral reefs, mangroves, and coastal wetlands for their survival." The foundation's work in this area seeks to develop strategies that sustain "themselves in harmony with their environment, particularly in the face of rising sea levels and other climate change impacts." Similarly, the freshwater program focuses "important river basins and the development of sustainable strategies for the communities who depend on these ecosystems to thrive." Past marine conservation grantees include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Lake Ponchartrain Basin Foundation. 

The foundation's approach to grantmaking emphasizes strengthening the "effectiveness and capacity of [its] key grantee partners by investing in their leadership, management, and operational capabilities." Cargill believes that the best way to exact lasting change on the issues with which it is concerned is "by investing in long-term relationships with key grantees, strengthening [its] combined abilities to make a meaningful difference in the world." As a result, the foundation seeks projects and programs it can support for multiple grant cycles. In addition, in order to fund a project or program, the foundation expects its grantees' work to thrive well after its grant support has ended.  

Cargill awards from $8 million to $38 million in grant funding to philanthropic causes across the world every year. The foundation has roughly a $2.55 billion asset base. No matter where a grant seeker is working, though, they should bear in mind that Cargill does not accept unsolicited proposals. Its giving is—and probably will continue to be—targeted. 

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