Alaska Conservation Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports environmental conservation throughout Alaska. Topics of interest are wildlife protection, leadership development and capacity building for Alaska Native groups, climate, energy, and the Tongass Rainforest.

FUNDING AREAS: Environmental conservation, Alaska Native groups, wildlife protection, leadership training, capacity building, environmental threats, climate and energy, Tongass Rainforest

IP TAKE: This foundation has gotten into community capacity building in a big way. Pitch a program that trains current and future conservation leaders or brings in new ways of thinking about environmental issues.

PROFILE: The Alaska Conservation Foundation (ACF) is based in Anchorage, Alaska, and aims to create a healthy balance in the state's ecosystems and economies. Its grantmaking aims to protect Alaska's natural environment and diverse cultures. ACF was established in 1980 by Celia Hunter and Danny Wilcher, prominent figures in the Alaska conservation movement.

The foundation eventually revamped grantmaking to boost Alaska’s conservation movement with policy and protection support and long-term goals. Their Alaska Native Fund seeks to strengthen the capacities of Native organizations and communities, as well as groups working on critical environmental issues. The Rapid Response Fund addresses unforeseen environmental threats, and the Discovery Grants Program supports small grassroots organizations. A Conservation Internship Program develops the next generation of statewide conservation leaders, and the Watchable Wildlife Fund provides broad support for conserving wildlife resources in Alaska. The Conservation Achievement Awards recognizes community members committed to protecting the environment.

ACF has a couple of issue campaigns that award grants on an invitation-only basis. These are mostly related to climate and energy, as well as the Tongass Rainforest. Critical conservation issue support is focused on the Arctic, Bristol Bay, and the oceans.

In a recent year, the foundation had about $10 million in total assets. That year, the funder awarded 93 grants totaling over $2.1 million. These grants went to everything from protecting wild salmon to addressing food security in the era of climate change. Lists of recent grants are on the funder’s website, including amounts awarded. Financial data can be viewed on the 990 Forms here, and annual reports can be reviewed here.

General questions can be directed to the foundation staff at or 907-276-1917. Grant-related questions should be sent to Their address is 911 West 8th Avenue, Suite 300, Anchorage, Alaska 99501.

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