Shared Earth Foundation: Grants for Marine and River Conservation

OVERVIEW: Shared Earth is a small, private foundation of a Maryland-based donor, with a guiding principle of protecting habitats and biodiversity. The funder gives to mostly smaller organizations, grants between $5,000 and $10,000 on average, for a total of about a half million a year. 

IP TAKE: Despite not having a dedicated marine program, watershed conservation definitely is a part of Shared Earth’s giving, with some extra attention going to Maryland’s eastern shore, the foundation’s neighborhood.

PROFILE: The Shared Earth Foundation’s home base in Chestertown, Maryland, sits beside one of the United States’ most prolific aquatic regions, the Chesapeake Bay. Although Shared Earth does not have a grantmaking program exclusively geared toward marine and river conservation, protecting marine life and their habitats is a substantial component of its conservation mission.

It’s a modest-sized operation, with an asset base of $10.3 million and a leadership team that consists of one person, Caroline Gabel. Gabel holds the twin titles of president and CEO, and she runs the foundation without the aid of a board of trustees.

Shared Earth doesn’t accept unsolicited applications at any time; grants go out by invitation only. Nevertheless, small organizations in particular might want to stay tuned to the happenings there. Shared Earth’s grant giving expressly focuses on organizations of modest means and resources. Most of the grants are on the small side, running from $5,000 on the low end to $40,000 at the high end. However, an organization that gets one grant stands a fair chance of getting more. Quite a few grantees have been repeat winners over the years.

Shared Earth also shows an interest in media projects. It regularly backs an Environmental Film Festival in DC, the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, and a video project for the Borneo Environmental Film Festival.

For a full look at all past grantees, click here.


  • Caroline D. Gabel, Chief Executive Officer and President