The Weeden Foundation is the private foundation of the family of Frank Weeden, an investment banker who died in 1984. The Foundation financed the first debt-for-nature swap in Bolivia in 1992, a strategy that is now widely used by international conservation organizations. Program efforts have supported projects in environmentally sensitive regions of the western United States, Alaska, Russia, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, Belize, Namibia, Mexico, and various Caribbean nations.
The Foundation‘s overarching mission is to protect biodiversity. The Foundation recognizes the dire threat of anthropogenic climate change to ecosystems and biodiversity and addresses this threat through its place-based program efforts, which counter deforestation and expand protection of large intact forests that help to stabilize the climate.
The Foundation protects biodiversity directly in four geographical program areas.
- Klamath-Siskiyou – The Klamath-Sikiyou Bioregion (primarily Northern California) grantmaking focuses on establishing new wilderness protections, improving the ecological integrity of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and restoring the Klamath River watershed.
- Montana – Focused in the High Divide in SW Montana. This program area mainly aims to identify and protect wildlife corridors, reduce livestock-carnivore conflict, and to expand critical habitat for endangered species.
- Alaska – In Southeastern Alaska, the Foundation focuses on the Tongass National Forest by maintaining Clinton-era Roadless Rule protections and expanding other protections such as wilderness designations.
- Chilean Patagonia – The Foundation promotes the expansion and institutionalization of private land conservation initiatives, with a focus on protecting endangered watersheds, and counters threats such as dams, industrial forestry, salmon aquaculture, and mining projects.
On a more general scale, the Foundation supports the following focus areas.
- Bird Conservation
- Systemic Support - program at the U.S. national policy level for wildlife corridors, the Endangered Species Act, and additional wilderness designation.
- Global Biodiversity
Financing Instrument: Grants
Project scale: The average grant size is US$20,000.
Recipient countries regions/country groups: USA, Chile
Recipient categories: NGOs
Eligibility Criteria: Grant recipients are tax-exempt nonprofit organizations in the USA, and organizations in other countries that have equivalent tax-exempt status.
The Weeden Foundation has implemented an online application system for their grantmaking process. The applicant will need to create an account to apply.
For new applicants – The Foundation requires that new applicants (not current grantees) complete a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). Please complete the “New Applicants” form to submit the applicant’s LOI. The applicant will receive a confirmation email when their form is complete. The Foundation will review their application and get back to the applicant with a reply. If the work proposed is of interest and/or fits into one of their program areas, they will invite a full proposal. Returning applicants (who received a grant the previous year) do not need to submit an LOI.
For returning grantees – Please complete the “Returning Grantees” application. The applicant’s proposal must describe both the purpose for which the grant is solicited and a brief evaluation process in a clear and precise manner. Shorter descriptions are preferred to longer descriptions, and a brief Executive Summary of the proposal must be included. The Executive Summary is an especially important part of the proposal, as it is the best vehicle for an organization to present the nature and intent of their project directly to the Board of Directors. The summary should be concise and should include mention of both recent and future projects. In addition to the narrative, the applicant will need the following materials to complete their application:
- financial statements (preferably audited)
- list of Board of Directors and their affiliations
- IRS tax exemption 501(c)(3) certification letter or an equivalency document for non-U.S. based organizations (obtained in-country)
- project budget
- organizational budget
- other sources and amounts of institutional support (past, present, and anticipated future); and
- qualifications of key personnel
The Board of Directors meets three times a year, usually in March, June, and October, but note that board meetings may be held the month preceding or following these times. For proposals to be considered at a meeting, they must be submitted online before the deadline. Proposal deadlines are approximately eight weeks prior to each meeting, and are posted on the Foundation’s website at least two months in advance.