Biodiversity Protection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 1986

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


One of the first organizations to begin working to preserve species diversity was the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In 1982, the Foundation established the World Resources Institute, its first foray into environmental grantmaking. After making several grants for conservation in 1985, the Foundation decided in 1986 to establish the World Environment and Resources Program as a major arm of its operations. Biodiversity protection was chosen as the Program’s exclusive focus for several reasons. Unlike other environmental crises, such as pollution, ozone depletion, and global warming, the loss of biodiversity is a threat both fast-moving and irreversible. It is also highly concentrated in a few hot, tropical regions and warm, shallow tropical waters. The Foundation would be able to focus its efforts and funds tightly, and thereby, it was hoped, achieve significant impact. . . .



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Blog Posts

More on time, value, and time limits

February 19, 2018

A new report applies a theory of time and value in philanthropy to three real cases, to see how a foundation could decide whether to operate with a limited life, based on the amount and kind of value it hopes to create.


Oct 05

Rip Rapson
President and CEO
The Kresge Foundation