Paul M. Angell Family Foundation: Grants for Oceans

OVERVIEW: The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation focuses in on the protection of the world’s oceans and species. The Foundation is interested in "site-specific projects designed to improve the health of ocean habitats and to enhance their ability to withstand the challenges of climate change." Angell also supports efforts to fund species protection.

IP TAKE: While Angell also gives grants on a more local level to performing arts and social causes in some regions, such as Chicago, a bulk of this foundation's interest is in oceans and protecting them around the world.

PROFILE: Established in 2011 to honor Paul M. Angell, this family foundation aims to advance society through the performing arts, conservation of the world’s oceans, and alleviation of poverty. Angell was born in Michigan in the late 19th century and grew up in Iowa. After serving in the Navy during World War I, he joined his father in the construction business and founded a firm to make ice cream cake rolls, a novelty food item at that time. The firm was called Newly Wed Foods, Inc., and it expanded to 10 countries and 25 manufacturing facilities. Angell passed away in 1984.

Today, the Angell Family Foundation focuses grantmaking on protecting the world’s oceans and marine species. The foundation provides general operating grants, grants supporting specific programs, and education grants such as those to support lectures, guided tours, or online materials.  In a recent year, the foundation gave away around $6 million in grants, a good portion of which went towards conservation efforts.

In terms of Angell's marine grantmaking, the foundation states that it is interested in "site-specific projects designed to improve the health of ocean habitats and to enhance their ability to withstand the challenges of climate change." Angell also supports efforts to fund species protection, particularly regarding ocean apex predators. Eligible projects include research, conservation, and restoration.

A recent $50,000 grant went to Wildlife Conservation Society in the fall of 2014 supporting Pearl Cays Wildlife Refuge in Nicaragua, a habitat for different species of sea turtle. A large $400,000 grant over two years also went to The Nature Conservancy towards "enhancing the resistance of coastal communities." Recent funds have also gone to outfits such as the Coral Reef Foundation, Oceana's Campaign to Stop Seafood Fraud, and Environmental Law & Policy Center's Initiative to Protect Waterways from Toxic Coal Ash.

A component of the foundation's philanthropy is also concerned with environmental education, with recent funds going to Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park, San Diego Natural History Museum, and Teens4Oceans' Step Up 4 the Ocean Program. Teens4Oceans' mission is to provide "activities, resources, and experiences to youth who are passionate about ocean conservation."

It's also worth mentioning that some Angell grants focus in especially on Chicago. For instance, support has gone to the Field Museum of Natural History, and a large $1 million grant to The Trust for Public Land to support The 606, an "an innovative project on Chicago's Northwest side that will transform nearly three miles of unused rail line into the elevated Bloomingdale Trail, which will be linked to six ground-level neighborhood parks."

In just a few short years, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation has grown significantly. Past support has gone to groups related to arts & culture, community & economic development, the environment, natural history museums, and youth development. You can search for recent grants by program or grant cycle in the foundation’s online database.

Fortunately for grantseekers, the Paul M. Angell Foundation accepts unsolicited grant inquiries from nonprofits. You can create an account online and complete a letter of inquiry application for one of the three priority areas. There are two grant cycles each year, as LOIs open up in mid-October for the spring cycle and in mid-March for the fall cycle. Check out the Grant Writing Tips page for some of the funder’s direct advice.

General inquiries can be directed to 773-628-6980 or The chief administrative officer, Kim Van Horn, is your best point of contact for any grant application questions, and her email is