Endow-Bio: The First National Endowment for Biodiversity

There’s an interesting new group you may want to know about, Endow-Bio – the First National Endowment for Biodiversity.

Run by volunteers instead of paid staff, it uses all the funds it raises to directly benefit restoration of biodiversity in the US. Members pay as little as $1 a year to participate in "grassroots philanthropy" – to vote on which projects get funded.

"We’ve set up this structure so the richest person has no greater influence on the outcome than the poorest person – the quintessential democratic ideal."

Noting that just 2% of donations support environmental conservation in the US, the group says, "We think this
level of funding should be much higher and we are doing something about it. Our essential goal is to increase public participation in conservation the US."

"What we want most is participation. We want more
people to become involved in conservation, including well-meaning poor people, young children and youth.  Because the
future belongs to the young, we are trying to stimulate their sense of empowerment in the context of conservation," they say.

Funded projects further conservation of native species and their habitats by supporting other organizations’ efforts: rare species management, scientific research, environmental education, environmental law, land acquisition, habitat management, advocacy, wilderness, wildlife rehabilitation, family planning and other social issues relating to conservation of biodiversity.

Example: Bat Conservation International is working hard on stemming the devastating crash of bat populations from White Nose Syndrome –  5.7 million dead across 22 states since 2006:

Bats White Nose Syndrom

Each year, Endow-Bio’s board selects a deserving group of organizations and with their cooperation, they raise money to support prioritized projects.  At the end of the year they receive a check. 

You can see the organizations in Endow-Bio’s quickly growing online directory. 

Donations are split three ways: 70% plus any interest earned goes directly to fund projects. Right now, they use 15% for operations, but once the endowment is established, they expect that amount to go down. 

An incessantly rising human population is the source for much of the biodiversity crisis. "The commonly heard notion of an
ever-expanding economy supporting ever more people is simply a crazy idea," they say. Therefore they also support family planning and advocate for a
shrinking human population because "we believe this human population issue is
absolutely fundamental to resolving our many other problems."

Established in 2011, Endow-Bio’s reach is still small, but here are some other projects they have funded:

  • 2011: $2731 to Bat Conservation International, Catalina Island
    Conservancy, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, and Xerces Society for
    Invertebrate Conservation.
  • 2012: $5085 to the Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation
    Fisheries, Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, Mississippi Valley
    Conservancy, and Vermonters for a Sustainable Population.
  • 2013: $6020 to California Wildlife Foundation, Great Plains
    Restoration Council, Rocky Mountain Nature Association, and Teton Raptor
  • 2014: currently fundraising for the Center for Coastal Studies, Citizen Powered Media, Genoa
    National Fish Hatchery, and Prairie Biotic Research.

Here is their website:

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