LATIN AMERICAN BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
The Overbrook Foundation recognizes the value of protecting endangered biodiversity and the vital environmental and social benefits it provides. The Biodiversity Conservation program area supports programs in Latin America, with a specific focus on Mesoamerica, where globally important species and ecosystems face a wide range of threats. The Foundation seeks out projects that create practical solutions to these threats, particularly those that promote sustainable livelihoods and engage local communities in conservation efforts.
Below are the Foundation’s 2017 grantees through its Biodiversity Conservation portfolio.
Protecting the Sacred Headwaters of the Amazon Basin - $50,000 (first payment in a two-year grant)
For more than two decades, Amazon Watch has worked with indigenous organizations in Ecuador and Peru to increase the capacity of indigenous peoples to protect their ancestral rainforest territories and traditional livelihoods. The organization’s work centers around three priorities: stop Amazon destruction, advance indigenous-led solutions, and support climate justice. Crosscutting these priorities, the Sacred Headwaters Campaign is an ambitious plan to create “No-Go Zones” for extractive industries within the heart of Ecuador’s upper Amazon, one of the most biodiversity-rich places on Earth.
Promoting the Development of an Innovative Community Forest Model for Biodiversity Conservation of the Mayan, Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala - $40,000
The Association of Forest Communities of Petén (ACOFOP) was founded in 1995 and legally recognized as a non-profit institution in 1998. ACOFOP pioneered the development of an innovative community forest model designed to promote sustainable livelihoods while protecting endangered biodiversity and combating deforestation in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala Mesoamerica’s largest protected area. ACOFOP now represents 24 community organizations based in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, which make up nine community forest concessions.
Environmental Defenders Fund - $81,000
The Biodiversity Funders Group, previously known as the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, is an organization of grantmakers working together to conserve and restore biodiversity. The environmental grantmaking community recognizes the serious challenge facing environmental defenders globally. In response to the growing crisis, the Biodiversity Funders Group launched the Environmental Defenders Fund, a pooled, collaborative grantmaking fund. The fund, launched in 2016, seeks to support nonprofit organizations that work to prevent harm and harassment, offer emergency protection, reveal wrongdoing, and seek redress for those threatened as they seek to save their communities, lands, waters, and sacred sites.
Community Participation in the Protection of The Lechugal and Mirador National Park in Guatemala - $40,000
The Foundation for EcoDevelopment and Conservation (FUNDAECO) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to conserve nature, reduce poverty and support sustainable community development in Guatemala. The proposed project will increase the participation of the Carmelita community in the protection and reduction of illegal hunting in the Lechugal Area and Mirador National Park. The project will support hiring, training and providing equipment for community park guards, as well as their participation in patrolling activities. The project will also support the design of a white-tailed deer captive breeding project with community members, and will implement environmental education activities in order to increase awareness of the importance of the area and its biodiversity.
General Operating Support - $25,000
Founded in 1987, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda I.A.P. (Grupo Ecológico) is a community-based organization working to promote biodiversity conservation in Mexico. Its main strategy relies on what’s known as “payment for ecosystem services.” Working with the local government and private donors, Grupo Ecológico facilitates payments to landowners for excluding livestock from their property, allowing natural vegetation and forests—which pull carbon from the atmosphere, a key ecosystem service—to regrow naturally. The organization also promotes regenerative soil management practices, another tool to improve the land’s carbon storage capacity, in addition to its overall health.
Building Local Capacity for the East Cape’s Conservation Future - $40,000
Legacy Philanthropy Works (LPW) is a small California-based nonprofit organization that works to cultivate, collaborate, mobilize resources, and advance conservation and community initiatives. In Cabo Pulmo National Park, a national marine park on the east coast of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, LPW is working to expand the national park and secure additional protected zones to protect the coastal/marine region from increasing development pressure.
Mongabay: Latin America - $75,000
California-based Mongabay was founded in 1999 to increase interest in wildlife and biodiversity conservation. With now over two million readers per month, Mongabay has become one of the world’s most popular environmental news sources. Mongabay’s Latin America initiative aims to explore what’s working and what’s not working in Latin American conservation, including innovations in land use management, commodity supply chain sourcing, and conservation technology through dozens of articles published under an open Creative Commons license in English and Spanish.
The Establishment of Municipal Reserves and Exploring Conservation Funding Mechanisms in the Ecuadorian Amazon - $40,000
Nature and Culture International (NCI) is an international conservation organization that works with local communities to protect endangered and environmentally important ecosystems in Latin America. NCI’s projects are diverse - spanning multiple countries and numerous ecosystems - and guided first and foremost by a deep respect for local communities and culture.
The overarching goal of the proposed project is to continue expanding NCI’s water fund model to protect vital Amazon forests of northern Ecuador. NCI will support seven municipalities of Quijos and El Chaco in designing their own financial mechanism to protect 204,815 acres of forest and provide clean water for 15,000 municipality residents. NCI will also continue providing training to build capacity in watershed management, water quality monitoring, and learning exchanges with other municipalities in established southern Ecuador.
Central American Acceleration Programs - $50,000
Pomona Impact is a new impact investment firm in Central America supporting companies finding innovative solutions to agriculture problems. Despite the terrific agricultural universities in the region, innovation and even the rate of adoption of existing agricultural technologies is remarkably low. Pomona is working to change that by launching the Innovation in Agriculture Initiative, which brings together industry leaders in the form of an Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will also manage a regional AgTech Accelerator program for entrepreneurs and conservation organization leaders developing commercially viable solutions around sustainability and unlocking investment capital to help scale winning innovations.
Central American Innovation in Agriculture Program - $50,000 (first payment in a two-year grant)
Pomona Impact Foundation is the nonprofit arm of Pomona Impact LLC, an impact investing firm that supports early growth, mission-driven businesses in Central America. Founded in 2016, the nonprofit is dedicated to advancing innovative, commercially viable solutions to social and environmental problems by supporting early-stage entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial NGO leaders in Central America. The AgTech Accelerator, now entering its second year, is an accelerator for impact environmental enterprises and innovative NGOs looking to scale market-based solutions to conservation challenges.
Sustainable Management of the Ramon Nut for Biodiversity Conservation and Landscape Recovery in Guatemala - $70,000 (second payment in a two-year grant)
Founded in 1987, the Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. At the heart of the organization’s approach is the understanding that the health of the land is inextricably connected to the wellbeing of those who depend on it for their livelihoods. In Guatemala, the Rainforest Alliance works with community-based groups, local partners, and government entities to reduce deforestation trends in the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR). The MBR is a globally important biodiversity and cultural heritage site and the largest protected area in Central America.
Increasing the Resilience of Smallholder Farmers in the Western Highlands of Guatemala - $50,000
Root Capital is a nonprofit social investment fund that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing businesses. Since their founding in 1999, Root Capital has worked at the intersection of agricultural and economic development, harnessing the power of supply chains to strengthen market linkages between farmer businesses and the formal economy. In this time, Root Capital has worked with more than 630 enterprises that have generated over $6 billion in economic activity by linking 1 million farm households to global and local markets.
Effective management of Port Honduras Marine Reserve and Payne’s Creek National Park through surveillance and engagement with the community - $35,000
The Toledo Institute of Development and Environment (TIDE) is a leading conservation organization in the Toledo District of Southern Belize. TIDE manages a portfolio of national and private protected areas and works to manage these natural resources sustainably. TIDE works in three program areas: natural resource management, environmental education and sustainable development, and financial sustainability. This project focuses on natural resource management as well as environmental education and has the ultimate goal of securing the livelihoods of TIDE stakeholders. The project will also contribute to TIDE’s new campaign raising awareness about the negative impact plastics have on Toledo’s natural resources.
Proactively Addressing Emerging Threats to Mesoamerica’s Forests and Wildlife - $82,500 (second payment in a two-year grant)
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US nonprofit organization established in 1895 that saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. WCS has been working for more than 25 years to protect Mesoamerica’s forests, coral reefs, and wildlife, with targeted initiatives to address wildlife trafficking and engage communities in conservation.This project is focused on proactively addressing two major emerging threats to Mesoamerica’s forests, biodiversity, and people: 1) the spread of illegal wildlife trafficking - especially trade in jaguar parts and products, and 2) the impasse with respect to negotiating solutions for legally unrecognized and marginalized human populations within protected areas.
Improving protected areas management through innovative technology for long term biodiversity conservation within the Bladen Nature Reserve, Belize - $35,000
Ya’axché Conservation Trust is a Belizean conservation organization whose mission is to maintain a healthy environment with empowered communities by fostering sustainable livelihoods, protected area management, biodiversity conservation, and environmental education within the Maya Golden Landscape of southern Belize. Ya'axché's Protected Area Management program focuses on ensuring effective and efficient management of three protected areas by utilizing high quality scientific data to increase organizational, local, and national understanding on the biodiversity found within them. Bladen Nature Reserve (BNR) is considered to be one of the most biodiversity-rich and geographically-unique areas within the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, and forms a significant portion of the Key Biodiversity Area of the Maya Mountain Massif. The protection of BNR is extremely important for the long-term conservation of its biodiversity and to maintain the ecological connectivity in the contiguous landscape. However, this area is under great threat from illegal activities. As a result of these serious threats, this project will contribute to an increase in conservation efforts, utilizing innovative technologies with well-trained staff to increase the quality of enforcement and enhance public outreach to bring awareness to the importance of this highly diverse area.