About The Ocean
As the only community foundation for the ocean, The Ocean Foundation’s 501(c)(3) mission is to support, strengthen, and promote those organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world. We focus our collective expertise on emerging threats in order to generate cutting edge solutions and better strategies for implementation.
Since the ocean covers 71% of the earth, our community is global. We have grantees, partners, and projects on all of the world’s continents, and we engage with donors and governments involved in ocean conservation anywhere in the world. The Ocean Foundation’s Board of Directors is comprised of individuals with significant experience in marine conservation philanthropy as well as esteemed professionals in ocean conservation. We also have a growing international advisory board of scientists, policy makers, educational specialists, and other top experts.
The Ocean Foundation uses a well-established business model, the community foundation, to serve donors and partners who are passionate about the future of our coasts and ocean. This model enables The Ocean Foundation to increase the capacity of conservation organizations, host various projects and funds, and effectively connect regional and community-based non-profits with the support that they need. By raising millions of dollars each year from individuals, corporate donors, private foundations, and governments, we succeed in promoting healthy ocean ecosystems that benefit the human communities depending on them.
We advance innovative and customized philanthropic solutions for donors. We simplify the giving process so that they can focus on their chosen passion for the coasts and ocean. We also evaluate marine conservation projects and determine the most effective organizations for our donors to support.
- Philanthropic Advising
- Fiscal sponsorship
- Advised funds
- Capacity Building & Facilitation
- Research & Consulting
Successful ocean conservation is a community effort. With the growing awareness that the work of individuals could be supported within a community problem-solving context, photographer and founder Wolcott Henry led a group of like-minded coral conservation experts, venture capitalists, and philanthropy colleagues in establishing the Coral Reef Foundation as the first community foundation for coral reefs, and thus the first coral reef conservation donors’ portal. Among its early projects was the first national poll about coral reef conservation in the United States, which was unveiled in 2002.
It quickly became clear that the founders needed to address the broader question of supporting donors interested in the conservation of broader ocean ecosystems, and do a re-imagining of how the well-known and accepted community foundation model could best serve the ocean conservation community. Thus, in 2003, The Ocean Foundation was launched with Wolcott Henry as founding Chair of the Board of Directors. Mark Spalding was brought in as President shortly thereafter.
The Ocean Foundation still operates using the known community foundation tools (pooled funds, advised funds, and fiscal sponsorship) and deploying them in an ocean context. From the beginning, The Ocean Foundation has been international, with well over two-thirds of its grants supporting causes outside the United States. We have hosted dozens of projects and worked collaboratively on every continent, on our one global ocean, and in most of the seven seas.
Applying our breadth and depth of knowledge about the global ocean conservation community to vet projects and reduce risk to donors, The Ocean Foundation has supported a diverse portfolio of projects that includes work on marine mammals, sharks, sea turtles and seagrass, as well as launched headline programs such as the International Ocean Acidification Initiative and the Blue Carbon Calculator. We’ve looked at the economic impact of debris on beaches and the ways communities can restore abundance to the fisheries on which they depend. We continue to seek out the opportunities to make all of us more effective and to make every dollar for ocean conservation stretch a little further.
The Ocean Foundation identifies trends, anticipates and responds to the growing needs and urgent issues related to ocean health and sustainability; and strives to strengthen the knowledge and expertise of the ocean conservation community as a whole.
Thus, we continue to identify both the solutions to the threats that face our ocean, and the organizations and individuals best suited to implement them. We work hard to ensure that we remain open to multiple strategies and new ideas about where and how those solutions could be developed and used. Our goal remains to achieve a level of global awareness that ensures we stop taking so much of the good stuff out and stop dumping bad stuff in recognition of the life-giving role of our global ocean.
How can you help? If you recognize the value of investing resources in strategic ocean solutions or want a platform for your corporate community to participate in, we can work together on strategic ocean solutions. Our partnerships take many forms: from cash and in-kind donations to cause-related marketing campaigns. Our fiscally sponsored projects also work with partners on many different levels. These cooperative efforts are helping to restore and protect our ocean.
FullCycle has joined forces with The Ocean Foundation to keep plastics out of the ocean by turning municipal waste into energy.
TOF is working with Universidad del Mar- Mexico- to monitor local ocean acidification parameters.
TOF is working with the Alliance to combat Ocean Acidification.
TOF is working with UNAL to restore seagrass and study how it can mitigate ocean acidification.
TOF is working with NUS by providing equipment to monitor local ocean acidification parameters.
TOF is working with Eduardo Mondlane University by providing affordable equipment to monitor local ocean acidification parameters.
WRI Mexico and TOF join forces to reverse the destruction of ocean & coastal ecosystems.
The Ocean Foundation is joining forces with Conservation X Labs to revolutionize conservation.
TOF is working with RAE to elevate the restoration, conservation, and resiliency work among the coastal community.
TOF is working with the Palau International Coral Reef Center to monitor ocean acidification.
TOF is working with UNEP’s Cartagena Convention Secretariat throughout the Caribbean.
TOF is working with the University of Mauritius by providing affordable equipment to monitor local ocean acidification parameters.
TOF is working with SPREP to exchange information on developments and current activities in relation to the marine environment
TOF is working with the Smithsonian Institution to promote the recognition of the ocean and climate nexus.
TOF is cooperating with REV OCEAN on vessel cruises that examine ocean acidification and plastic pollution.
TOF is working with Pontifica Universidad Javeriana to monitor ocean acidification.
TOF is working with ESPOL- Ecuador- by providing affordable equipment to monitor local ocean acidification parameters.
World Central Kitchen is a non-profit founded by chef José Andrés that provides meals to those in need during natural disasters.
Confluence Philanthropy advances mission investing by supporting foundations, donors, and families.
Zizoo is a leading boat holiday platform, offering over 21,000 boats across 500 destinations worldwide.
Based in New York City, Roffé Accessories is a men’s and women’s wholesale apparel company specializing in luxury market design and merchandise.
The Rockefeller Ocean Strategy seeks to identify profitable investment opportunities.
que Bottle is a California-based sustainable product design company specializing in 100% plastic-and-BPA-free collapsible water bottles.
The Loreto Bay Company is a public-private partnership aimed at providing lasting environmental legacy.
Kerzner International creates and manages leading integrated entertainment destinations.
JetBlue Airways Corporation is a major American airline and the sixth largest in the United States by passengers carried.
Jackson Hole WILD convenes an industry summit for media professionals, scientists and conservationists.
Fragrant Jewels is a bath bomb and candle company, and the flagship brand of Gravity Brands.
Diversified Communications is a multimedia company that provides market access, education and information.
The Columbia Sportswear Company manufactures and distributes outerwear, sportswear, and footwear.
Absolut Vodka is a brand of vodka produced in southern Sweden, and is sold in 126 countries, making it one of the largest brands of spirits in the world.
11th Hour Racing promotes marine stewardship through engagement and leadership from sailing’s top athletes around the world.
The Tiffany & Co. Foundation seeks to preserve the world’s most treasured landscapes and seascapes.
Tropicalia is an ‘eco resort’ project in the Dominican Republic that focuses on sustainable tourism and development.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., The Ocean Foundation staff is made up of a passionate team. They all come from diverse backgrounds, but share the same goal of preserving and caring for our world ocean and its inhabitants.
Here you will find tax, financial, and annual report information for The Ocean Foundation. These reports provide a comprehensive guide to the Foundation’s activities and financial performance throughout the years. Our fiscal year begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th of the following year.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Whether it means directly instituting changes or working with our friends and peers in the marine conservation community to institute these changes, we’re striving to make our community more equitable, more diverse, and more inclusive at every level.