The Ocean Foundation: Leadership in Marine Conservation

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The Ocean Foundation is a unique community foundation with a mission to support, strengthen, and promote those organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world. The Ocean Foundation works with donors who care about our coasts and oceans to provide financial resources to marine conservation initiatives through the following lines of business: Committee and Donor Advised Funds, Field of Interest grant making Funds, Fiscal Sponsorship Fund services, and Consulting services.

The Ocean Foundation’s Board of Directors is comprised of individuals with significant experience in marine conservation philanthropy, complemented by an expert, professional staff, and a growing international advisory board of scientists, policy makers, educational specialists, and other top experts. We have grantees, partners and projects on all the world’s continents.

Giant Stingray off Moorea in Tahiti, French Polynesia, a major marine sanctuary.We work with a community of donors who care about the coasts and oceans.  In this manner, we grow the financial resources available to support marine conservation in order to promote healthy ocean ecosystems and benefit the human communities that depend on them.  We operate using a well-established business model (the community foundation) to serve donors and partners interested in marine conservation.

TOF does this by increasing the capacity of conservation organizations, hosting projects and funds, and supporting those working to improve the health of ocean species globally. To do this, we raise millions of dollars each year to support marine conservation.  

Coral Reefs around the world are under fire from industrial fishing.These funds come from individuals, corporate donors, private foundations, and governments.  We meet our mission through five lines of business: Fiscal Sponsorship Fund services, Field of Interest grantmaking Funds, green Resort Partnerships, Committee and Donor Advised Funds, and Consulting services.

Because of the dynamic nature of our business, including the many projects that we host, we have a variety of powerful resources that we can bring to bear on any ocean conservation project.  Our geographic community is the 70% of the earth’s surface covered by ocean.  Our human community includes the donors, governments and grantees that are engaged in ocean conservation anywhere in the world.
Our Staff
Our Annual Reports

                                TOF Partnership with Rockefeller & Co.

Rockefeller Ocean Strategy Logo.In 2011 The Ocean Foundation (TOF) helped launch the Rockefeller Ocean Strategy, which seeks to identify profitable investment opportunities that restore and support the health and sustainability of the world’s oceans. In this effort, Rockefeller & Co. has collaborated with The Ocean Foundation to gain specialized insight and research on marine trends, risks and opportunities, as well as analysis of coastal and ocean conservation initiatives. Applying this research alongside its internal asset management capabilities, Rockefeller & Co.’s experienced investment team will work to identify a portfolio of public companies whose products and services seek to meet the present and future needs of a healthy human relationship with the oceans.

What do you love about the ocean?

The Ocean Foundation’s Initiatives are a way to combine your resources with those of other individuals that have similar goals, increasing your philanthropic impact. Your donation provides grants for nonprofits, universities, and community organizations all around the world. In each of our nine initiatives we are looking to mitigate current threats or problems, and further research in these areas. Our nine initiatives are: International Sustainable Aquaculture, Coral Reefs, Coasts and Beaches, Marine Mammals, Polar Seas, Sea Turtles, Ocean Leadership, World Oceans, and Ocean Acidification.

Ocean Initiatives

The Ocean Foundation’s Initiatives are a way to combine your resources with those of other individuals that have similar goals, increasing your philanthropic impact. Your donation provides grants for nonprofits, universities, and community organizations all around the world. In each of our nine initiatives we are looking to mitigate current threats or problems, and further research in these areas. Our nine initiatives are: International Sustainable Aquaculture, Coral Reefs, Coasts and Beaches, Marine Mammals, Polar Seas, Sea Turtles, Ocean Leadership, World Oceans, and Ocean Acidification.
Leadership from The Ocean Foundation in solving oceans and fish around the world.Ocean LeadershipOcean resources are shared and relied upon by all. Inherited jointly and freely, the ocean, coasts and marine ecosystems are held in trust for future generations.

Polar Seas 2Polar Seas: Our polar seas in the Antarctic and Arctic are full of life, but climate change is taking a toll on these polar regions. Much of this warming can be attributed to our use of fossil fuels. Fisheries are crashing, animals are drowning, and the livelihoods of those that live in these regions are disappearing with the ice. Arctic sea ice helps moderate our climate, and without it, the oceans warm up considerably faster. This initiative focuses on regulating fishing, carbon emissions, and the energy we produce and consume, so that our poles can continue to teem with life.

Rockefeller Foundation ocean initiatives on Sea TurtlesSea Turtles:  The sea turtle, a charismatic reptile that is as old as the dinosaurs, is now in trouble. Six out of seven species of sea turtles are either threatened or endangered. Sea turtles become bycatch, coastal development destroys nesting and feeding sites, they die from eating our trash, they are hunted for their meat, eggs, and shells, and warming temperatures are causing uneven gender ratios that lead to less breeding. This initiative aims to come up with solutions to these threats, and educate the public about this keystone species.

Ocean Foundation Initiatives with the Rockefeller Ocean Strategy help to save Coral Reefs. Coral ReefsCoral reefs: the base of our marine ecosystems, supporters of our fisheries, tourism industry, and shoreline protection. Unfortunately, such a valuable part of the marine ecosystem is up against harmful fishing practices, coastal construction, marine pollution, warming seas, and ocean acidification. With 60% of our coral reefs expected to be dead and gone in the next 30 years our reefs face an uncertain future. With the proper management the coral reefs can make a comeback.

Coasts and Beaches part of Rockefeller Ocean Initiatives.Coasts and Beaches: Coasts and beaches are probably where you’ve found yourself on a vacation or two, or if you’re part of the 50% of the world’s population that lives there, then coasts and beaches are your home. Unfortunately their popularity is putting these coastal ecosystems at risk. Industrial pollution, trash, and agricultural runoff, along with sea-level rise are all current problems. But even the most damaged coasts can be restored. This initiative is dedicated to protecting our coasts and beaches, and helping to restore them to their most productive state.

Ocean Acidification of coral reefs trying to be prevented by Ocean Foundation Initiatives and Rockefeller Ocean Strategy. Ocean AcidificationOften described as climate change’s ugly twin, ocean acidification is one of the most serious problems our marine communities are facing. As the amount of fossil fuels we use continues to increase, the ocean is forced to take up more CO2, which lowers the pH. This global change in ocean chemistry has shown negative effects such as inhibiting the growth of shellfish and causing reproductive problems in fish. Our initiative aims to help mitigate the severe problem of ocean acidification.

World Ocean 2World OceanFor those that want to donate to the pressing need for ocean conservation, but aren’t sure what issue to donate to, the World Ocean Initiative addresses urgent and emerging needs. This initiative is dedicated to providing the necessary financial resources to projects that further the ocean health and the goals of the people working on its behalf. Formerly, this initiative has supported hurricane relief, habitat damage assessment, documentary film work, work related to ocean conservation legislation, and conferences that bring ocean conservation leaders together.

Marine Mammals helped by the Rockefeller Ocean Strategy and The Ocean Foundation. Marine MammalsMarine mammals are some of the most notable figureheads of the marine community. Marine mammals are facing challenges posed by human activities, including, marine noise, habitat destruction, pollution, shipping traffic, and harmful fishing practices. Many species of marine mammal are now facing threats of extinction, and with so many unanswered questions about this group of animals, it is hard to come up with solutions. This initiative aims to conserve and protect the marine mammals of the world and help us understand them even more.

Intl Sustainable Aquaculture studied by The Ocean Foundation and Rockefeller Ocean Strategy. International Sustainable Aquaculture: Sustainable aquaculture could be the key to feeding our growing population. Currently, 42% of the seafood we consume is farmed, but there are no regulations that constitute what “good” aquaculture is yet. Unfortunately, there are many unsustainable aquaculture practices, like taking too many wild fish out of the ocean in order to feed farmed fish. This initiative is meant to help fund projects that will expand and improve aquaculture. This could be the key to food security, but first, aquaculture needs to become safer, cleaner, and more sustainable.