With a mission to protect the environment of the Northwest and build broad citizen support for conservation, the Brainerd Foundation operated as a limited life family foundation from 1995 to 2020.
We provided funding and expertise to strengthen the ability of nonprofits, communities, and decision-makers to protect our region's air, land, and water.
We supported conservation efforts in Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington (and the Yukon Territory for a few years), a large region with abundant natural resources, vast areas of undisturbed wildlands, and thriving populations of humans, wildlife, fish, and native plant species.
We envisioned a future in which Northwest citizens inspired their leaders to make the strongest possible commitment to steward our natural resources for generations to come. Guiding our work were these underlying beliefs:
As a small foundation, we couldn't fight every fight, no matter how urgent or worthy. Therefore, we provided grants within a focused set of funding areas, guided by our sunset theory of change.
We endeavored to reach our goals by staying open to a range of grantee strategies and tools necessary to protect our air, land, and water, as well as the human and wildlife populations that depend upon them.
We strove to add value by convening leaders, offering training and technical support, initiating research projects on crosscutting challenges, and sharing lessons and ideas across the region.
To maximize the impact of our limited grantmaking dollars, we collaborated with other grantmakers. And whenever possible, we encouraged our grantees to collaborate with each other.
We knew our grantees were succeeding when we saw policy gains at the state (or provincial) and local levels, protection of critical landscapes, a growing conservation mandate, and more effective conservation advocacy. Each of our funding areas had specific objectives and benchmarks that we used to evaluate our foundation's success.