Most foundations use a budgeting formula designed to preserve their endowment and ensure their operations in perpetuity. This has never been the case at the Brainerd Foundation, and our annual grantmaking has often exceeded the minimum required by law.

Despite our grantees' tremendous accomplishments, the ecological challenges before us remain as significant and urgent as ever. Our foundation made the decision to spend out our endowment because we believe our dollars can have a greater impact in the near-term. Our grantmaking will end in the year 2020.

Read more about our decision to sunset »

The Big Hole River.
The Big Hole River. Photo courtesy of the Sonoran Institute.

How we plan to sunset

In our final years, we will continue with our long-standing programs, in conservation policy and place-based conservation. Our Conservation Capacity Program has embraced three final sunset initiatives that we hope will benefit our grantees and other organizations well beyond our close. These initiatives are focused on strengthening the next generation of Northwest conservation philanthropy, leadership, and advocacy.

Read the Sunset Theory of Change »

Sunset at Twin Spring in the Owyhee Canyonlands of Oregon's high desert.
Photo provided by Greg Burke, provided courtesy of Oregon Natural Desert Association.

Our sunset initiatives will allow more organizations to thrive long after our doors close

Inspire the next generation of conservation philanthropists

Invest in the development of a community of high-potential conservation philanthropists that are knowledgeable about opportunities to make a meaningful impact.

Strengthen emerging conservation leaders and activists

Support new leaders entering the conservation movement and prepare emerging leaders to play more significant roles in conservation organizations.

Encourage innovation in conservation advocacy organizations

Support groups committed to learning from each other and building stronger models of effective advocacy. Our investments will be designed to help these organizations be more adaptive, resilient, and sustainable.

Learn about our conservation capacity program »

Grantee-focused, to the end

It is inevitable that over the next few years, the foundation will end its partnerships with some of its long-time grantees. The decision to shift funding is not a reflection of the quality of their work, but rather an imperative of our sunset. We are committed to giving substantial prior notice of changes in funding and expect to collaborate with groups in the design of final grants to ensure their sustainability.

Tell us what you think »

Acorn Woodpeckers
Communal Acorn Woodpeckers in the early morning at Asilomar State Park. Photo by Michael Scott.