Does the Munson Foundation Prefer Conservation Education?

The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation doesn’t give out big money, but it does spread its grants widely, and is a good funder to know if you work on marine conservation. It funds a marine program that prioritizes fisheries, as well as site specific programs in South Florida, Alabama, and D.C. which focus on watersheds and coastal conservation. (See IP’s Profile)

This outfit does a better job than many small foundations in providing information about its grantmaking and keeping its door open to inquiries, which we always like to see. Still, its grant guidelines are pretty vague, and while it's easy to figure out its main program areas, along with geographic areas of focus, it's hard to divine what might be the magic formula for winning a grant from this funder—or if there is one. But one theme that does emerge is that the foundation sees value in efforts to promote education, outreach, and collaborations. Munson wants to change how Americans think about the environment, and it's funded some interesting work along those lines. 

In both 2011 and 2012, a number of the grants in its Marine/Fisheries Conservation Program were for education or outreach programs including the BLUE Ocean Film Festival, the Coral Reef Alliance, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and the National Aquarium in Baltimore (as well as the one in DC). Additional grants that don’t use the word “education,” but which probably fall under the same purview, include one for the Campaign for Environmental Literacy, to promote ocean literacy, and one for E/The Environmental Magazine, to promote coverage of marine issues. In 2012, Munson made the first grant in a three-year push aimed at promoting conservation values in Alabama. 

In addition to education and outreach, the Munson Foundation has funded several grants to promote networking and collaborations. A few examples from 2011 and 2012 include funding for:

  • The Blue Vision Summit - an event that brings grassroots conservation to Capitol Hill
  • the IUCN’s D.C. Marine Community – a networking project
  • Capitol Hill Oceans Week, a networking event in DC. 

The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation funds a range of other activities, too, and there are opportunities here for different kinds of groups. But definitely focus on the education and outreach angle when approaching this funder. Average grant size is $15,000-$25,000, and letters of interest are due by the first Friday in April or the second Friday in September.