Philanthropic foundations offer grants and loans for a very wide range of purposes and applications. Frequently foundations have been established by wealthy individuals, families or companies that seek, over the long term, to put something back to civil society in the form of good works, often in specific areas such as health, education and environment. Few foundations specifically target forests and SFM, but these topics are often accommodated under more general environment headings.
There is a staggering number of foundations and, undoubtedly, there are very substantial sums of money available - if only you can find the right foundation and get to the front of the queue. Foundations exist in many part of the world and often there are national registers listing their contact and eligibility details. The United States, for example, had some 57,000 foundations in 2002, and a number of organizations specialize in providing summary information and advice on how to tap into these funds. Some other countries, such as Switzerland and Sweden, also have very large numbers of foundations, but it is not clear the extent to which these are generally philanthropic and can be approached for SFM funding.
The Sourcebook database on funding sources contains details of many foundations that have been identified as being potential sources of funds for SFM. Some of these foundations have very specific subject or geographic focus, whereas others have a more general international remit.
A number of on-line resources exist to help in both locating the right foundation and how to approach it for funding. These are generally North American focused but provide valuable reference points. Useful examples are:Council on Foundations
Whilst large funds are available to be tapped, competition to access them can be fierce. Indeed, some foundations do not actively solicit proposals and have closed procedures for developing projects.
Please refer to the Trends section for a discussion on trends in foundation funding.
If you have information on appropriate foundations that are not yet in the Sourcebook funding database please share it with us.