What We Fund
For its 40 years of existence, the Weeden Foundation’s primary mission has been to protect biodiversity. It has helped preserve more than 6 million acres of biologically important habitat worldwide. The Foundation financed the first debt-for-nature swap in Bolivia in 1992, a strategy that is now widely used by international conservation organizations. Currently, the Foundation has four geographical focus areas: 1) Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion in Northern California; 2) High Divide in SW Montana; 3) Altai Republic in Russia, and 4) Chilean Patagonia. In the past, the Weeden Foundation has supported projects in environmentally sensitive regions of the western United States, Alaska, Russia, Bolivia, Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, Belize, Namibia, Mexico and various Caribbean nations.
Within its four current geographic focus areas, the Foundation is working to protect old-growth forests, expand habitats for endangered species on public and private lands, and link key wildlife corridors. There are many threats to these regions, including logging, mining, road building, dam building, and grazing. Within the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion (in 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. The Montana High Divide program area primarily aims to identify and protect wildlife corridors and to expand critical habitat for endangered species. In the Altai Republic, the Foundation fosters collaboration among NGOs to counter threats including mining projects, illegal logging, hydroelectric development and snow leopard poaching, and to establish new nature preserves. In Chilean Patagonia, the Foundation is promoting the expansion and institutionalization of private land conservation initiatives, and countering threats such as dams, industrial forestry and mining projects.
At the US national policy level, the Foundation supports advocacy for wildlife corridors, the Endangered Species Act, and additional wilderness designations.
Additionally, the Foundation has Consumption and Population programs to address the adverse impact of growing human populations and overuse of natural resources on biodiversity. The Foundation’s Consumption program currently focuses on promoting greater use of environmental paper. Grantmaking in this area aims to expand the market for environmental papers through consumer-targeted education and efforts directed at the publishing industries as well as corporate and government procurement practices. The Foundation also recognizes the importance of advocacy and education initiatives to reduce levels of natural resource consumption. The Foundation’s Environmental Education grantmaking is directed at K-12 and college-level programs. Current grants incorporate the ecological footprint methodology and similar tools to achieve a fuller, more integrated curriculum that connects population growth, over-consumption, environmental degradation, and biological limits.
Since its inception, the Weeden Foundation has supported International and Domestic Population Stabilization projects based on the rationale that an increasing population causes greater impact on the environment and loss of biodiversity.
The Foundation’s International Population program includes advocacy for increased funding for family planning and other interventions necessary to lower birthrates. In Latin America, it has funded efforts to liberalize the region’s abortion laws. The Foundation also funds family planning communication strategies such as radio soap operas.
The Foundation’s Domestic Population program aims to have the U.S. achieve population stabilization as soon as possible, based on a key recommendation of President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development. It considers all factors influencing population growth. The Foundation funds projects that: advocate for increased federal funding of family planning services (Title X); promote reduction of immigration levels (immigration currently accounts for the majority of U.S. population growth); and investigate the impacts of population-driven sprawl on adjacent wild areas.
Weeden Foundation board and staff members are committed to preserving an abundant diversity of life on this planet and have been, or are currently, board members of numerous environmental organizations including the Audubon Society, Sierra Club Foundation, California Wilderness Coalition, Conservation International, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Bird Conservancy, the Environmental Grantmakers Association, and the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity.
The Foundation concurs with, and is motivated by, the 1993 World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, endorsed by 1500 scientists: “Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course…If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.”