Marine Ventures Foundation was started in 2000 to fund innovative ecosystem protection projects on a global basis. Our project funding focus has always centered on two key themes – the use of advanced technology and documentary film and photography to advance conservation goals, disrupt the entrenched commercial and government agency bias and support the next generation conservation leaders that can deliver results. Our experience over the last decade of funding is not without many failures. We are willing to invest and go outside the box to find the critical ingredients to conservation success – dynamic and significant ecosystem, local talented conservation partners and a plan for success. And even with all three, success sometimes is elusive or beyond a timeframe for us.
Funding the mainstream conservation NGOs has not, in our results timeframe, been a great investment of the Foundation’s assets. Our initial funding of the Ocean Foundation is a great example of a startup NGO that has achieved considerable success in the past 8 years with over $30M raised and distributed into over 100 projects on all seven continents.
We have spent many years working with the Henrys Fork Foundation where we had those three critical ingredients present. Our results to date are significant in terms of baseline data acquired, people influenced and engagement of the community. But any significant change in the management policy of the river has not occurred. It is more “not that bad so don’t do anything” mentality. And in the end, the Henrys Fork is dominated by a strong and committed farm and ranch community that has lived there for 100 years. Their culture has survived all the attempts by the NGO and tourism fishing industry to change how the river is managed or the laws that govern water use. In the end community and culture top recreation and even ecotourism jobs whether it be on the Henrys Fork or Chesapeake bay where we started MVF and struggled for years to get anything done.
The creation of Blue Cloud Spatial in collaboration with the Ocean Foundation was simply to bring together a team of experts and partners to help solve complex conservation problems. Funded entirely by Marine Ventures, Blue Cloud’s work in the Colorado River Delta help create several documentary films to tell the story of the Delta Restoration effort by our partners – The Sonoran Institute, LightHawk and Pro Natura along with the city of Mexicali and several state agencies. Sometimes just writing a check is not enough to get the right things going.
And our initial work in the Kimberley in Western Australia is a great example of the combination of a massive ecosystem, indigenous people, ecotourism, wildlife beyond description and $100B in oil, gas, coal and diamonds in the ground. The conflict over community, culture and heritage trumps the environmental issues for much of the population. The challenge of finding a path forward is something we relish. Our interests in technology and documentary film coupled with citizen science and social media give us an opportunity to both fund and work with the different groups searching for the right way to make decisions.
Running a family foundation is a real challenge with no staff, limited funds and a few volunteers. But we are committed to finding the right partners, the right places and problems where we can bring to bear our expertise, money and energy to help solve pressing human culture conservation issues. While we do not accept unsolicited grants, we are always open to big ideas from people with the vision and energy to throw them at us for consideration. You decide that and let us know.
J Thomas McMurray
11-20-2012 Jackson, Wyoming
Marine Ventures Foundation
PO Box 30000 PMB 61
Jackson Hole, WY 83002
MVF Funded Projects and Partners