Recent BFG Annual Meetings

Photos: Alan Holt, Dave Secord, Sybil Ackerman

The Biodiversity Funders Group (BFG) is a professional association of environmental, conservation, and climate and energy grantmakers. We were founded in 1987 as the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity by a group of foundations and federal agencies to encourage funders to work together and leverage their resources. Today, approximately 75 funding institutions, predominantly private foundations, are formal members, while more than 200 other grantmaking institutions benefit from our activities as program partners. Altogether we reach nearly 1,000 philanthropic staff and trustees, mostly based in the United States with some based in other countries around the world, including Canada, England, and Switzerland.

In 2016, Spitfire Communications reported that members found the Biodiversity Funders Group to be “a distinctive place for leading environmental funders to learn together, establish strong relationships, and engage in deep, productive, and sustained collaboration that strengthens grantees.”

We believe that grantmakers are more effective when they learn and work together, with focused and sustained collaborations allowing for deeper engagement and understanding on a variety of biodiversity issues. The Biodiversity Funders Group provides unparalleled opportunities for networking, relationship building, and innovation in a space where grantmakers can share their perspectives, expertise, and passion.

How We Work

The Biodiversity Funders Group fosters cooperative and collaborative grantmaking by nurturing groups of funders who network, learn, and explore opportunities to work together, with active leadership from members who act as co-chairs or serve on planning committees and steering committees. We coordinate four core programs for our members [hyperlink to descriptions]:

The Land and Freshwater Conservation Program
The Marine Conservation Program
The Global Conservation Program
The Conservation Science Program

We also host four place-based working groups sponsored and directed by BFG members [hyperlink to descriptions]:

The Climate and Energy Funders Group
Funders of the Amazon Basin
The Mexico Conservation Funders
The Chile Funders Group

We were home to the Health & Environmental Funders Network for many years, and helped to birth the Environmental Defenders Collaborative. Our most recent project is the New Economy initiative, for funders who are thinking critically about both biodiversity and broad economic models.

What We Do

More than 300 grantmakers attend yearly gatherings convened by individual programs, complete with prominent speakers, strategy sessions, and field trips. A committee of members plans the popular Annual Members Meeting, held in different locations each June, highlighting issues of general concern to our members while taking advantage of the biodiversity expertise of the region. Throughout the year, the Biodiversity Funders Group provides timely information and platforms for networking and critical thinking. We coordinate or co-sponsor over two dozen webinars each year on a wide variety of topics. In addition, we distribute electronic newsletters, announcements, and reports, to help members and program partners learn about opportunities and keep up with relevant news about each other, biodiversity, and philanthropy.

As time permits, the Biodiversity Funders Group staff meets with NGO representatives at their request, at staff invitation, or upon member request. We regret that we are not able to offer funding to grantseekers, advise grantseekers about potential funders, or recommend grantseekers to our members.