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.

Our Services

  • Philanthropic Advising
  • Fiscal sponsorship
  • Advised funds
  • Grantmaking
  • Capacity Building & Facilitation
  • Research & Consulting
Ocean scientists in Fiji with life vests

Our History

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.

President, Mark Spalding speaks to young ocean lovers.


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.


Barrell Craft Spirits

Barrell Craft Spirits is an independent blender and bottler of unique, aged, cask strength sourced whiskey and rum.

Ocean and Climate Platform

The OCP is committed to making the voice of civil society heard and participates in the mobilization of ocean stakeholders.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles has become the first United States professional sports team to offset their travel.

SKYY Vodka

SKYY Vodka is proud to enter into a partnership with TOF to protect and conserve the ocean.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (I.F.A.W.) logo

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

TOF and IFAW collaborate on areas of mutual interest relating to the health, welfare and abundance of the ocean.

BOTTLE Consortium logo

BOTTLE Consortium

The Ocean Foundation is partnering with the BOTTLE Consortium (Bio-Optimized Technologies to keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment) to coordinate on their mutual objectives to advance the science and engineering of polymers to make …


The Ocean Foundation is working with Client Earth to explore the relationship of ocean plastic pollution to human health.

Marriott logo

Marriott International

The Ocean Foundation is proud to partner with Marriott International, a global leader in sustainability. Marriott has partnered with TOF on a pilot project to sustainably harvest sargassum at sea and repurpose it …

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A.) logo

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Ocean Foundation is working with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to cooperate on international and national scientific efforts to advance research, conservation and our understanding of …


In recognition of World Oceans Day Unifimoney launched their Visa contactless credit and debit cards made with recovered ocean-bound plastic. Unifimoney has partnered with The Ocean Foundation to support the recovery …

National Maritime Foundation

The Ocean Foundation is working with the National Maritime Foundation to facilitate greater coordination and progress in addressing Blue Carbon, climate resilience, and promoting the Blue Economy.  Other areas for …

Ocean-Climate Alliance logo

Ocean-Climate Alliance

TOF is an active member of the Ocean-Climate Alliance which brings leading ocean-climate organizations together to advance an ocean-climate restoration agenda.  This differs from the current climate agenda in that …

Global Partnership on Marine Litter

Global Partnership on Marine Litter

TOF is an active member of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML).  GPML’s goals are the following: (1) Providing a platform for cooperation and coordination; sharing ideas, knowledge and …

Credit Suisse

In 2020 The Ocean Foundation collaborated with Credit Suisse and Rockefeller Asset Management (RAM), a division of Rockefeller Capital Management, on the launch of the Ocean Engagement Fund, meeting the …


Global Island Partnership

GLISPA aims to promote action to build resilient and sustainable island communities.

Beluga Vodka Logo


Beluga has partnered with TOF to provide support for the protection and conservation of our world ocean.

CMS Logo

Centre for Marine Sciences, UWI

TOF is working with the Centre for Marine Sciences, UWI to monitor ocean acidification.

Conabio Logo


TOF is working with CONABIO in the Mexican seas in the context of climate change and variability.

FullCycle Logo


FullCycle has joined forces with The Ocean Foundation to keep plastics out of the ocean by turning municipal waste into energy.

Universidad del Mar Logo

Universidad del Mar, Mexico

TOF is working with Universidad del Mar- Mexico- to monitor local ocean acidification parameters.

OA Alliance Logo

International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification

TOF is working with the Alliance to combat Ocean Acidification.

Yachting Pages Media Group Logo

Yachting Pages Media Group

TOF is working with Yachting Pages Media Group on a media partnership.


Universidad Nacional de Colombia

TOF is working with UNAL to restore seagrass and study how it can mitigate ocean acidification.

National University of Samoa Logo

The National University of Samoa

TOF is working with NUS by providing equipment to monitor local ocean acidification parameters.

Eduardo Mondlane University Logo

Eduardo Mondlane University

TOF is working with Eduardo Mondlane University by providing affordable equipment to monitor local ocean acidification parameters.

WRI Mexico Logo

The World Resources Institute (WRI) México

WRI Mexico and TOF join forces to reverse the destruction of ocean & coastal ecosystems.

Conservation X Labs Logo

Conservation X Labs

The Ocean Foundation is joining forces with Conservation X Labs to revolutionize conservation.

Restore America's Estuaries Logo

Restore America’s Estuaries

TOF is working with RAE to elevate the restoration, conservation, and resiliency work among the coastal community.

Palau International Coral Reef Center Logo

Palau International Coral Reef Center

TOF is working with the Palau International Coral Reef Center to monitor ocean acidification.

UNEP’s-Cartagena-Convention-Secretariat Logo

UNEP’s Cartagena Convention Secretariat

TOF is working with UNEP’s Cartagena Convention Secretariat throughout the Caribbean.

University of Mauritius Logo

The University of Mauritius

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

Smithsonian Logo

The Smithsonian Institution

TOF is working with the Smithsonian Institution to promote the recognition of the ocean and climate nexus.

REV Ocean Logo

REV Ocean

TOF is cooperating with REV OCEAN on vessel cruises that examine ocean acidification and plastic pollution.

Pontifica Universidad Javeriana Logo

Pontifica Universidad Javeriana, Colombia

TOF is working with Pontifica Universidad Javeriana to monitor ocean acidification.



TOF works with NCEL to provide ocean expertise and learning opportunities to NCEL members.

Gibson Dunn Logo

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

TOF thanks the following firms for their pro bono support.

ESPOL, Ecuador Logo

ESPOL, Ecuador

TOF is working with ESPOL- Ecuador- by providing affordable equipment to monitor local ocean acidification parameters.

Debevoise & Plimpton Logo

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

TOF thanks the following firms for their pro bono support.

Arnold & Porter Logo

Arnold & Porter

TOF thanks the following firms for their pro bono support.

World Central Kitchen Logo

World Central Kitchen

World Central Kitchen is a non-profit founded by chef José Andrés that provides meals to those in need during natural disasters.

Confluence Philanthropy Logo

Confluence Philanthropy

Confluence Philanthropy advances mission investing by supporting foundations, donors, and families.

Roffe Logo

Roffé Accessories

Based in New York City, Roffé​ Accessories is a men’s and women’s wholesale apparel company specializing in luxury market design and merchandise.

Rockefeller Capital Management Logo

Rockefeller Capital Management

The Rockefeller Climate Solutions Fund seeks to identify profitable investment opportunities.

que Bottle Logo

que Bottle

que Bottle is a California-based sustainable product design company specializing in 100% plastic-and-BPA-free collapsible water bottles.

North Coast

North Coast Brewing Co.

North Coast Brewing Company is a pioneer in the craft beer movement.

Luke's Lobster Logo

Luke’s Lobster

Luke’s Lobster is a sustainable seafood restaurant.

Loreto Bay Logo

Loreto Bay Company

The Loreto Bay Company is a public-private partnership aimed at providing lasting environmental legacy.

Kerzner Logo

Kerzner International

Kerzner International creates and manages leading integrated entertainment destinations.

jetBlue Airways Logo

jetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airways Corporation is a major American airline and the sixth largest in the United States by passengers carried.

Jackson Hole Wild Logo

Jackson Hole WILD

Jackson Hole WILD convenes an industry summit for media professionals, scientists and conservationists.

Huckabuy Logo


Huckabuy is a search engine optimization software company based out of Park City, Utah.

Fragrant Jewels Logo

Fragrant Jewels

Fragrant Jewels is a bath bomb and candle company, and the flagship brand of Gravity Brands.

Columbia Sportswear Logo

Columbia Sportswear

The Columbia Sportswear Company manufactures and distributes outerwear, sportswear, and footwear.

Alaskan Brewing Co. Logo

Alaskan Brewing Company

Alaskan Brewing Company is the 67th independent brewery in the country.

Absolut Vodka Logo


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 Logo

11th Hour Racing

11th Hour Racing promotes marine stewardship through engagement and leadership from sailing’s top athletes around the world.

SeaWeb Seafood Summit Logo

SeaWeb International Sustainable Seafood Summit

A Seafood Summit focused on sustainability.

Tiffany & Co. Logo

Tiffany & Co. Foundation

The Tiffany & Co. Foundation seeks to preserve the world’s most treasured landscapes and seascapes.

Tropicalia Logo


Tropicalia is an ‘eco resort’ project in the Dominican Republic that focuses on sustainable tourism and development.

EcoBee Logo


BeeSure develops innovative quality products by maximizing the conservation of resources and use of recycled materials.


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.


Mark J. Spalding


Kate Killerlain Morrison

Strategic Partnerships Director

Tamika Washington

Finance & Operations Director
Board of AdvisorsBoard of DirectorsSeascape CouncilSenior Fellows

Financial Information

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. 

Ocean cliff crashing waves

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice

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.

Scientists at our Ocean Acidification Monitoring Workshop in Fiji check water samples in the lab.