Wilburforce Foundation

OVERVIEW: This Seattle-based funder backs wildlife-related organizations and programs in the Northwest region and in Canada. Biological diversity and environmental policies are important to Wilburforce.

FUNDING AREAS: Biological diversity, ecological integrity, environmental policies to safeguard wildlife and wild places

IP TAKE: The best way to get involved with this funder is to contact the program officer for the region you address. Both large and small groups regularly receive this funder’s support.

PROFILE: The Wilburforce Foundation is committed to land, water and wildlife in Western North America. It was founded by Rose Letwin, who is also the president and sole funder of the foundation. She established the foundation in 1991 out of a passion for the American West and its wildlife. Wilburforce is based in Seattle, Washington.

This regional environmental funder supports groups and programs related to biological diversity, ecological integrity and environmental policies that safeguard wildlife and wild places. It has six grant programs.

The Northwest/Southwest program focuses on the area from the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest through the Great Basin and into the Sierra Madre Occidental in Northwest Mexico. There are opportunities here for policy, research and capacity building projects to protect wildlife. The Yellowstone to Yukon program covers a geographic area of over 2,000 miles, and is all about protecting wildlife habitats for recreation to support diverse livelihoods, and provide clean drinking water. The foundation prioritizes the regions of Crown of the Continent, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Inland Rainforest, Salmon-Selway/Hells Canyon, and the Y2Y Far North.

Wilburforce's Alaska/British Columbia program focuses on the Arctic, B.C. Central Interior, Great Bear Rainforest, Tongass and the Transboundary Watersheds. Top priorities are protecting wildlife corridors and supporting strategic conservation communications campaigns in Alaska and Canada. Separate programs support conservation science of climate adaptation, connectivity, ecological economics and filling knowledge gaps.

The conservation law and policy program supports programs that promote the integrity and application of U.S. laws and policies essential to wildlands and wildlife protection. The foundation offers a capacity building program to current grantees. This program, not open to unsolicited grant applications, gives current grantees professional development, strategic planning assistance, technology and more.

Wilburforce has given more than $150 million toward conservation efforts in the region. Learn about past grantees and amounts in the Grants Database. Many grants have been between $25,000 and $100,000 lately.

Today, the foundation is led by a staff of about nine and a five-member board of directors. Each geographic region has its own program officer to contact. General questions can be directed to grants@wilburforce.org or 206-632-2235.


  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)