Welcome to the New England Biolabs Foundation! 

We are a private foundation whose mission is to foster community-based conservation of landscapes and seascapes and the bio-cultural diversity found in these places. We recognize that the natural and cultural values of landscapes and seascapes are inextricably linked, and that indigenous and local communities play a fundamental role in their stewardship.

We were established in 1982 by the founder of New England Biolabs, Inc., Donald Comb. A molecular biologist, Don was inspired by the diversity of life on Earth and the power of local community. Don created the foundation with the simple, yet powerful premise, that by thoughtfully investing in the work of people living and working in areas of high biodiversity, we can make an important contribution to conservation.

With this as our guide, we seek to encourage community-based projects in regions of the world where our small contributions can have the greatest impact. We do this primarily through our grant making, but also complement this support with capacity-building opportunities to long-term grantees through workshops offered by our partner organization, Creative Action Institute (home of ArtCorps), as well as other professional development opportunities.

Through our grants program we provide financial support in the form of small project grants to grassroots organizations and other NGOs in selected countries in Central America, Andean South America, and West Africa. In addition, in support of our local roots, we also provide grants for community-based conservation and cultural projects in coastal communities on the North Shore of Massachusetts.

As part of a strategic planning process undertaken in 2016, we have identified target landscapes and seascapes within our current areas of geographic focus. These are listed under Geographic Focus. For more information on our funding interests and application guidelines, please visit What We Fund and How to Apply.

Starting in 2021, international grants will range from $5,000 to $15,000 and local grants will range from $4,000 to $10,000. Please note that first-time applicants are unlikely to be considered for the maximum amount.

Finally, please bear in mind that we are a small foundation, and each year we receive far more grant applications than we can possibly fund.

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Heidi Ellard, Chair
Henry Paulus, PhD
David Comb
Dylan Comb
Jovial King


Jessica Brown, Executive Director
Deborah Fraize, Associate Director

For more information about our staff, please visit Staff Bios.