- Place: We care about ecosystems. We offer support for enduring place-based protection on public and private land and waters throughout British Columbia. We care deeply about biodiversity rich, endangered, and otherwise important or at-risk ecosystems, both marine and terrestrial. We have a specific focus on the South Coast of British Columbia.
- Pathways: We believe in systems change. We give support for the development and strengthening of the tools that build a better understanding of collected knowledge, which when shared with decision makers will encourage more resilient pathways to biodiversity protection. We see these as tools and systems essential to achieving strategic programs one and three.
- People: We believe in people. We strategically resource changemakers, communities, and leaders to help amplify their work to combat the biodiversity and climate crises. We also seek to connect and convene these messengers of biodiversity.
The Sitka Foundation is a family foundation with a simple mission: to be a catalyst in the conservation of nature and the protection of biodiversity. We do this through three strategic granting programs, a director-led granting program, and activation of our investment capital.
The Sitka Foundation is a private Canadian family foundation. Founded by Ross and Trisha Beaty in 2008, it has evolved in size and scope since inception. We began by supporting organizations close to our hearts and communities here in the Pacific Northwest, but have since become active both nationally and globally. We work with an invitation-only application process to qualified donees, granting several times a year in a way that is driven by strategic granting, influenced by trust, and married to a process that is reliant on a deep, multi-year relationship to place and people. The Foundation is run by a staff of four and a board of four. Its investment capital is managed in-house and by several external investment advisors.
We created the Sitka Foundation to support organizations dedicated in one way or another to the conservation of nature and the protection of biodiversity.
The loss of biodiversity and continuing destruction of our natural environment pose an existential threat to human populations and countless other species. The twin enemies of nature – growth in human populations and growth in per-capita consumption, and the associated pollution of earth’s air and water - must moderate either by design or disaster. Climate change, ocean contamination, destruction of natural lands by the bulldozer or plough, and damage to the earth’s endowment of soil and groundwater are reversible with dedicated and educated effort. Our foundation serves this effort. We note that more than 99% of all giving goes to “human” causes. The Sitka Foundation exclusively supports the other 1% since, without clean water, clean air and healthy biodiversity, human existence is impossible.
The Sitka Foundation directs its limited resources to support and speak for the millions of species without voices whose existence is being threatened by our heavy human footprint. We are convinced that economic growth cannot persist as it has for the past 200 years without degrading our global environment beyond redemption. Humans must moderate their expectations, reduce their per-capita consumption and live more sustainably. Exponential growth in any finite natural system always ends in collapse; to avoid this, humans must adapt their lifestyles to more permanence. But we cannot be all things to all causes, and our focus on environment and biodiversity comes first. For example, climate change is a drastic threat to many species, yet it is a subset of all the issues affecting biodiversity.
We see global warming, ocean acidification, species extinction, excessive non-renewable resource consumption, unsustainable economic growth, population growth and irreversible soil and groundwater loss (to name a few) as major issues confronting human society. Sitka exists to help address such issues.
Carolynn Beaty is the Executive Director for the Sitka Foundation. She supports the granting program as well as provides strategic direction for our organization. Carolynn has a background in conservation biology and philosophy. Carolynn holds a BSc, a BA, and a BEd from Queen’s University at Kingston, and an MSc from Imperial College London. She is also an educator with over fifteen years’ experience. Most at peace in the natural world, Carolynn enjoys hiking, long distance running, and skiing with her family. Carolynn can be reached at email@example.com. LinkedIn
Lauren Storer is the Director of Operations for the Sitka Foundation. She leads our organization’s administration, governance and compliance. Lauren has a background in banking and wealth management. Lauren holds a BSc Psychology from the University of Victoria, PFP Personal Financial Planner and the STI Specialist, Trust Institute. She has worked in philanthropic advisory services for 16 years. Happiest by the water, Lauren enjoys running, yoga and exploring local trails and beaches with her kids. Lauren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. LinkedIn
Ross Jameson is the Grants Manager for the Sitka Foundation. He supports our organization’s granting program and strategic direction. Ross has a background in biology and marine science. Ross holds a BSc from the University of Victoria and an MSc from the University of Sydney, Australia. He has worked in the environmental field for 11 years across the NGO, private consulting, education, and ecotourism sectors. In his spare time, Ross can be found surfing the waters off of Vancouver Island, playing guitar for his family, or walking his dog. Ross can be reached at email@example.com.
Travis Inlow is the Director of Investments for the Sitka Foundation. He leads our organization’s investment activities and the management of our financial assets. Travis has a background in portfolio management, investment banking, venture capital, and impact investing including co-authoring the Expanding Access to Impact Investment report in collaboration with New Market Funds. Travis holds a BSc Finance from the University of Idaho, MSc Financial Analysis and Fund Management from the University of Exeter, UK, and is a CFA Charterholder. Travis spends his spare time outdoors running, golfing, and playing with his young family. Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. LinkedIn
Our Board of Directors
Trisha Beaty is the co-founder and Vice-President of the Sitka Foundation. Trisha’s connection to nature and its biodiversity inspired her to pursue an undergraduate pathway in Zoology. She then transferred into medicine, graduating from UBC’s Faculty of Medicine, completing her medical residency in New Zealand. Trisha has worked in northern Ontario and BC in various medical areas of family practice including women’s health, labour and delivery, adolescent health, general practice and travel medicine. Trisha enjoys participating on the board of Ecojustice and the Nature Trust of BC. Trisha has a particular love of hiking in the Coastal and Rocky Mountains, kayaking British Columbia’s coastline, and biking through the interior and on Vancouver Island.
Ross Beaty is the co-founder and President of the Sitka Foundation. Ross is a geologist and entrepreneur with over 50 years of experience in the international minerals and renewable energy industries. He is a graduate of the University of BC in geology and law as well as the Imperial College in geology. Ross is a Director of the Pacific Salmon Foundation and Panthera, Patron of the Beaty Biodiversity Center at the University of BC, Chair of the BC Parks Foundation and member of the Advisory Board of Directors for the Nature Trust of BC. In 2017 he was appointed to the Order of Canada for his contributions to business entrepreneurship and environmental philanthropy. Ross has many hobbies from beekeeping to cider production to sea kayaking through Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound.
Dr. Sarah Otto
Dr. Sarah (Sally) Otto is a professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of BC and Director of the Canada-wide Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellowship program in conservation biology. Sally served as Director of the Biodiversity Research Centre at UBC, President and Vice-President of the Society for the Study of Evolution, Vice-President of the American Society of Naturalists, and Vice-President of the European Society of Evolutionary Biology. Sally is known for her theoretical studies investigating how biological systems evolve, with over 200 publications and a book. She received her Bachelor of Science and PhD from Stanford University. Sally enjoys soccer, kayaking, and time with family and friends.
Nancy Baron is the Director of Science Outreach for COMPASS. Nancy began her career as a biologist in Banff National Park, spent 6 years as Director of Education at the Vancouver Aquarium, then morphed into journalism. Nancy holds workshops around the world for academic, government, and NGO scientists helping them make their work relevant to journalists, policy makers, and the public. In 2013, she received the Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in the Media for her work at the intersection of science and journalism. She is also an advisor to SciLine and the Liber Ero Fellows. Her office perch is at the National Center of Ecological Analysis, UCSB where she is a Senior Fellow. She spends as much time as she can outdoors, binoculars in hand.
The Sitka Foundation seeks to catalyze efforts in the conservation of nature and the protection of biodiversity with a current focus on the south coast of British Columbia. We seek opportunities where our support can pave the way for proven or promising pathways to protection, and where we can help apply creative solutions to the biodiversity crisis. We hope that together with our partners we can accelerate change so nature can flourish.
At present, we are a grant-making foundation, not an operating foundation. We practice philanthropy in a way that drives trust, diversifies power, and engages leaders, decision makers, and communities to act in ways that benefit biodiversity. In the past fifteen years we have invested over $50M to more than 250 distinct groups in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $5,000,000 per grant. As a charitable foundation we can only fund qualified donees as outlined by the Canada Revenue Agency’s charitable rules and regulations (see CRA guidelines for more information).
We also hope that the Sitka Foundation will be a model for other people and groups interested in taking direct and immediate action to tackle current issues affecting nature and the environment. More funding, more effort and more voices need to take action to reverse the damage being done to nature, to make it more livable, sustainable and just for all life on earth.
Our Granting Programs 2021-2026
Our three strategic granting programs will guide our grantmaking from 2021-2026.
The Sitka Foundation is a private foundation as defined by the CRA, with the vast majority of its capital originating from the family, through donations by Ross Beaty, including shares of two Canadian renewable energy companies: Alterra Power Corp., founded by Ross in 2008, and its successor Innergex Renewable Energy. Additional donations into Sitka have been in the form of cash and shares of other Canadian public companies. A few nominal contributions have originated from other Canadian individuals and foundations. No funds have ever come from any government or corporation. These donations, together with capital gains, interest income, and impact and mission-aligned investing form the basis of the philanthropic programs at Sitka.
Our Mission Aligned Investing
The Sitka Foundation is committed to a fully activated mission-aligned investment strategy. This means that we believe positive impact is not only generated from our grants, but also from our investments where we can provide positive impact and strong financial returns through a full portfolio commitment to our values.
Our impact investment portfolio consists of sustainable and scalable businesses delivering clean technology, renewable energy and sustainable environmental solutions. We recognize the importance of backing early-stage, mission-driven businesses when capital is scarce and needs to have a long-term investment horizon. As a private family foundation, we have the flexibility and risk tolerance to support these innovative opportunities and we are actively seeking impact investments that are aligned with our mission and values.
- Investment Size: $250k - $1M, with up to $5M+ of additional investment for thriving companies
- Investment Type: Equity and Equity-Like (e.g. convertible notes, SAFEs)
- Company Stage: Early-Stage to Series A onwards
- Exit: 5-10 years
- Sector Focus: Those aligned with our mission including renewable energy, clean technology, sustainable environmental solutions, and transitioning to a circular economy
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Frequently Asked Questions
The Sitka Foundation supports environmental changemakers in our communities who preserve biodiversity and protect the environment. We do this through our strategic granting program to qualified donees, who are part of the greater landscape of environmental changemakers leading our country and environment to positive change. Positive change itself is accomplished through a myriad of ways.
How do I apply for a grant
The Sitka Foundation only grants to qualified donees. Currently, applying to Sitka Foundation’s granting program is by invitation only. Email email@example.com to learn more. The application process involves a letter of interest and a full application submitted through an online portal; however, we encourage you to re-use applications that you may have created for other funders. You will also connect with a member of the Sitka Foundation team who will support you in the application process. The full time turnaround for this may be a few months.
How often do you fund grant requests?
The Sitka Foundation reviews all complete and qualified applications on an ongoing basis with approximately four grant review meetings taking place per year. There are generally no deadlines. Due to calendar fluctuations a specific date cannot be provided to applicants. The Sitka Foundation does not have a large staff and appreciates your patience and understanding around our process.
How much grant funding is available?
We work with each group individually. Please discuss these topics during your initial conversation with the Sitka Foundation. Multi-year grants are funded at the invitation of the Sitka Foundation typically after the start of a relationship: these look like two to five year recurrent grants
Do you offer multi-year grants?
Yes! We try to work towards multi-year relationships with our grant recipients. Similarly we cannot guarantee programmatic support for an ongoing duration of time.
What do you not fund?
Requests that we cannot fund may include:
- general fundraising campaigns
- endowment funding
- funding of scholarships or fellowships
- partisan activities
- emergency needs or for a deficit
- purposes other than those listed under the Sitka Foundation’s mandate
We encourage you to review our strategic framework under Our Approach / Our Philanthropy section to learn more about our three grant programs for 2021-2026.
Can grant requests include operating costs?
Yes! We encourage all grant applicants to submit requests that are inclusive of their organization’s needs (i.e. inclusive of administrative or operating costs) and to discuss with the Sitka Foundation staff openly what these needs are.
Can I apply for funding twice in one year?
No. We generally fund one request per calendar year to allow for an abundance of grant relationships.
Am I a qualified donee? If not, how can I apply to the Sitka Foundation for funding?
Generally, a qualified donee will have a registered charitable number and most are accordingly called charities under Canada’s Income Tax Act. Please refer to the Canada Revenue Agency website to learn more. If you are not, you will need a charitable partner or fiscal sponsor to receive funds from the Sitka Foundation. This tool from the Canada Revenue Agency will help you do this.
How do you decide on successful grants?
We use a variety of tools and resources to work towards alignment of values and goals between the Sitka Foundation and a grant applicant. While most decisions are made at a board level we also pass on decision making power through pooled funds and participatory grantmaking protocols. In this way we feel we are able to have those on the frontlines make decisions that are best for their communities. See our strategic philanthropy section to learn more about current priorities.
What is your commitment to decolonization?
As a grant-making foundation, we have a responsibility to ensure we are supporting Indigenous sovereignty, stewardship, resilience and resurgence in the fight to protect nature, where welcome. We recognize that this is an ongoing process that requires engaged listening, learning, and accountability.
The Sitka Foundation is a signatory to the Circle on Philanthropy’s Declaration of Action (Declaration of Action) which is a sector wide application of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action (Calls to Action). We affirm the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP).
The Sitka Foundation is based in Vancouver, British Columbia on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Application to Sitka Foundation is by invitation through our online platform. For general inquiries please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.