Facts and Finances
Since our inception in 1982, we have disbursed more than $12M in small grants to grassroots groups and community-based projects around the world.
In 2020, we made 86 grant commitments totaling $628K in the ten countries where we are currently active. View details of recent grants awards.
Three Years of Grants by Country (2018-2020)
Three Years of Grants by Thematic Areas* (2018-2020)
*Most grants cover multiple thematic areas.
Our annual spending for 2020 was approximately $1.2M, including $540K in operating and program-related expenses and $630K in grant payments. Our annual budget is supported by funds from our endowment and a generous annual contribution from New England Biolabs, Inc.
Over the past five years, our annual ratio of qualifying charitable expenses to endowment assets averaged 12.2%, well above the U.S. Internal Revenue Service disbursement requirement of 5% annually for private foundations.
As an endowed private foundation, we are required to invest prudently in order to maintain our endowment’s value over time. But we also believe it is our responsibility to be as committed and mission-focused in our investments as we are in our grantmaking. Accordingly, we have made a concerted effort in recent years to bring even greater intentionality and alignment between these two areas of activity.
Our approach to investing our endowment has evolved over time as newer, more impactful mission-related offerings have emerged. In the foundation’s early years, a basic “do no harm” approach to investing soon became a socially responsible investing (SRI) strategy that guided our investment decisions in the 1990s. Joining other investors in demanding greater accountability on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices in the 2000s, we sought investment partners that support those ESG initiatives.
Today, we are exploring how an even more active ownership approach to our investing practices can help advance ESG goals that more closely align with, and support, our grantmaking. With the help of our fund managers, we actively participate in shareholder advocacy initiatives that advance ESG outcomes.
The foundation was one of the early signatories to Divest/Invest, and our endowment was fully divested from fossil fuels in 2015.