Overview

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Inspired by the diversity of life on earth and the power of local communities

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

We were established in 1982 by Donald Comb, the founder of New England Biolabs, Inc. A molecular biologist, Don was inspired by the diversity of life on earth and the power of local communities. He created the foundation based on the simple premise that by investing in the work of people living and working in areas of high biodiversity, one can make a contribution to conservation on a local and global scale.
Learn more about our founder

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

Through our grantmaking, we provide financial support in the form of small project grants to grassroots organizations and other NGOs in selected countries and targeted geographies in Central America, Andean South America, and West Africa. In support of our local roots, we also provide small grants for community-based conservation and arts and cultural projects in coastal communities on the North Shore of Massachusetts. For more information on our funding interests and application guidelines, please visit What We Fund and How to Apply.

Our international grants range from $5,000 to $15,000, and our local grants 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 with a part-time staff, and each year we receive far more grant applications than we can fund. Likewise, we are unable to respond to inquiries outside of our target geographies.