The Brainerd Foundation is a Northwest-focused family foundation that provides funding and expertise to strengthen the ability of nonprofits, communities, and decision-makers to protect our region's air, land, and water.

We support conservation efforts in Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. This region has abundant natural resources, vast areas of undisturbed wildlands, and thriving populations of humans, wildlife, fish, and native plant species.

Photo by Gordon Darrow


We envision a future in which Northwest citizens inspire their leaders to make the strongest possible commitment to steward our natural resources for generations to come. We believe that:

  • To sustain our fish and wildlife populations, we need large core habitat areas linked by wildlife corridors, rivers, and streams.
  • To sustain a healthy economy, we need clean air, land, and water.
  • To ensure that our children inherit these natural treasures, we must seek an informed populace and decision-makers who are accountable to strong stewardship policies.


As a small foundation, we cannot fight every fight, no matter how urgent or worthy. Therefore, we provide grants within a focused set of funding areas, guided by our sunset theory of change.

We endeavor to reach our goals by staying open to a range of grantee strategies and tools which may be necessary to protect our air, land, and water, as well as the human and wildlife populations that depend upon them.

We strive to add value by convening leaders, offering training and technical support, initiating research projects on crosscutting challenges, and sharing lessons and ideas across the region.

To maximize the impact of our limited grantmaking dollars, we collaborate with other grantmakers. Whenever possible, we encourage our grantees to collaborate with each other.

Photo by Gordon Darrow

Measures of success

We expect to see policy gains at the state (or provincial) and local levels, protection of critical landscapes, a growing conservation mandate, and more effective conservation advocacy. Each of our funding areas has specific objectives and benchmarks that we use to evaluate our foundation's success.

Photo by Gordon Darrow