Robertson Foundation: Grants for Marine Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Robertson Foundation supports “game changing medical research” work.

IP TAKE: This foundation takes a business-like approach to its grantmaking and expects measurable results in the immediate and long terms.

PROFILE: Julian Robertson, his late wife Josie, and the Robertson family established the Robertson Foundation in 1996 to “utilize a proactive, disciplined grantmaking approach to measurably affect significant social change. The foundation funds education, environment, and medical research. Its other grants support projects beyond its primary funding interests.

The foundation's environment program seeks organizations that work to minimize disruptions related to climate change, specifically organizations that take efforts to facilitate "comprehensive federal regulation of greenhouse gases"; improve the public's knowledge of "human-caused climate change"; and "reduce near-term emissions from coal." While the foundation's environmental program prioritizes climate-change related projects, it also supports conservation initiatives. Applicants seeking marine conservation funding are advised to frame their proposals in terms of climate-change. Past grantees include Oceana and the Marine Stewardship Council, a UK nonprofit that works with fisheries and food distributors around the world to set standards for sustainable seafood production and certify those fisheries that live up to them. 

Robertson and his colleagues are investors, and they act as such when deciding what to fund. Foundation staffers often conduct data-intensive studies on applicants to quantify how much social and environmental good a grant to that applicant will achieve. Grantees can expect to have their projects monitored in order to gage expected results. Robertson prioritizes large organizations rather than small ones, some organizations even receiving multi-year support. 

Grant amounts range from $1,000 to over $3 million; however, most range between $5,000 and $50,000.  The Robertson Foundation does not accept unsolicited applications or requests for funding. 

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