Photo: Mary O'Brien Acciani/shutterstock
Photo: Mary O’Brien Acciani/shutterstock

While some family foundations fund across many focus areas, others dedicate nearly all of their grant dollars to a single cause. The Campbell Foundation, also known as the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, is based in Annapolis, Maryland, and has very specific priorities for its environmental giving.

Here are a few things for Maryland grantseekers to know about the Campbell Foundation.

The Foundation is Well-Connected to Local Environmental Groups

Keith Campbell, an investment advisor with Campbell & Company, created this foundation 1998 to improve the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays. This follows a long personal history in the region—he located his investment firm in Baltimore back in 1973. The Campbell family has deep roots in this part of the country and is well-connected to local groups working on environmental issues.

In fact, the foundation shares an office complex with the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office, NOAA, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Conservation Fund. They are all located at the Annapolis City Marina and regularly work with each other on Chesapeake policy and restoration matters.

It’s All About Local Waterways

The Chesapeake Bay region is the Campbell Foundation’s top priority. The funder’s mission is to improve water quality and ecological balance in the area’s bays and rivers. This is important to the foundation in part because these waterways support the regional economy and provide recreational opportunities for locals and visitors.

However, the Chesapeake Bay isn’t the only waterway the foundation is concerned with these days. Keith Campbell’s daughter, Samantha, is based in San Francisco and currently serves as the foundation’s president. Therefore, a there’s a secondary focus on the San Francisco Bay watershed and the ocean environment of Northern California’s Pacific Coast.

Unsolicited Requests Are Welcome

Environmental nonprofits working in those regions should know that the Campbell Foundation is very willing to consider unsolicited grant requests. There are typically two grant cycles a year with application deadlines at the end of March and August. The foundation uses an online portal to accept applications, and there is no preliminary letter of inquiry requirement.

There’s a short form for requests of $10,000 or less, while grants up to $25,000 require grantseekers to answer more in-depth questions. Applicants may request funding for programs, general operating support, capacity building efforts and capital campaigns.

This Is a Good Funder for First-Time Grantseekers

Something quite unique about this funder is that most of its grants go to new grantees, not to current or past ones. The Campbell Foundation is looking to learn about new efforts and leaders in local waterway protection rather than funding the same familiar groups year after year. Almost all of this funder’s grants come from its unsolicited cycle and go to new grantees. Less than five percent of grants are renewed for an additional year, so it is best to ask for a larger amount in the initial request rather than count on continued support.

Learn more about this funder and others that give in the region in our Mid-Atlantic funding guide.

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