Laird Norton Family Foundation Grant

Laird Norton Family Foundation

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Fields of work: Renewable/Sustainable Energy Homelessness Services Freshwater Conservation Biofuels Energy Efficiency & Conservation Water Resource Management Youth Services Children’s Mental Health Child Foster Care & Adoption Services Environmental Stewardship Art Education Carbon / Greenhouse Gas Reduction Show all

Applicant type: Nonprofit, Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, General Operating Expense, Project / Program

Location of project: Preferred: California, Oregon, Washington Other eligible locations: United States

Location of residency: United States

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Note: If you have thoroughly reviewed the Foundation’s priorities and grantmaking activity on the website and you believe your organization is a good match for our mission, you can email our staff (lnffstaff at lairdnorton dot org) with a brief description of your work. Please be aware that we rarely make grants to organizations that we first learn about through these types of email inquiries, and have limited staff capacity to respond to every message. Our team will be in touch if there is an interest in learning more about your work, or if there are other resources we can connect you with for your work.

Laird Norton Family Foundation

The Laird Norton Family Foundation (LNFF) is a private family foundation in Seattle, Washington, with a mission to honor and reflect the family’s shared values through giving and engage the family in philanthropy as a platform for strengthening family connections. 


Arts in Education

The goal of the Arts in Education program is to increase arts education and to improve pre-K through grade 12 student learning through the arts. Funding will be directed toward programs that seek to enhance students’ educational outcomes rather than to simply increase participation in, or appreciation for, the arts.

The Arts in Education program will consider funding programs that:

  1. Encourage the adoption and/or growth of arts integration within a public school or school district. We will prioritize programs that integrate the arts as a tool within greater, diverse curriculum content areas over arts enrichment or direct arts instruction programs.
  2. Advocate systemic change within schools, districts, or at the state level to encourage arts in education, and
  3. Utilize the arts as a tool to reduce the educational achievement gap.

Climate Change

Climate change poses a significant global threat, one which we are addressing by striving to ensure an equitable, resilient, habitable, and enjoyable world for current and future generations. While our work is focused on climate change, we believe in the value of ecosystems services and in the stability and resiliency of healthy natural systems. We also believe it is essential that the cost of externalities be incorporated into lifestyle, policy, and business considerations.

 We are focused on investing in regenerative biological systems that influence the carbon cycle (“biocarbon”) and reducing dependency on fossil fuels. We have chosen to focus our grantmaking on efforts to hasten the demise of coal and other fossil fuels and on work that increases the abilities of the forests, agricultural lands, and estuaries of the Pacific Northwest to sequester carbon.

Human Services

The goal of the Human Services program is to support, empower, uplift, and create opportunities for long-term success and a brighter future for unaccompanied youth and young adults (age 12-24) who are in crisis, have experienced trauma, or are aging out of the foster care system. We want to support these youth and young adults in their journey from surviving to thriving.

We will consider funding organizations or programs that provide support for youth/young adults suffering from trauma, mental illness, or addiction, with priority given to homeless youth and those impacted by the foster care system. While the full spectrum of services for youth in crisis is essential, we expect to do the bulk of our grantmaking in two areas:

  1. Prevention and early intervention work to keep young people from sleeping in unsafe situations — or at a minimum make that a very brief and one-time occurrence, and
  2. Support for long-term stability support services.

Watershed Stewardship

Watersheds have social, ecological, and economic significance. The goal of the Watershed Stewardship program is to create enabling conditions for long-term social and ecological health and resilience in places of importance to the Laird Norton Family. Currently, we prioritize work in Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as a few key watersheds in the Western United States, consistent with the Laird Norton family's priorities.

We take a long-term view on healthy watersheds and invest in organizational capacity with an eye to future resilience. We encourage our partners to focus not on single-species recovery or restoration to historical conditions as a primary end-goal, but to also consider the potential value of significantly altered — but functioning — ecosystems as we continue to face the impacts of climate change and other natural and human-caused changes into the future.

​We believe the wellbeing of the people who live in a place must be considered alongside ecological goals; understanding the diverse interests and values of a watershed’s human inhabitants is an important component of long-term success. ​

While we don’t specifically commit to a set term of investment in any watershed, we believe that investing in a place long enough to really understand the work is important, and we believe that sustained and flexible funding enables greater long-term success for our partners. Although we make grants on a one-year cycle, we take a partnership approach to our grantmaking and hold a long-term view on the work being done in the watersheds we prioritize, but we do move on when we no longer have a necessary role to play.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • The Foundation makes grants to organizations located within the United States qualified under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) and classified as public charities (not private foundations) under Section 509(a). 
  • Arts in Education Guidelines:
    • K-12 public schools (or pre-K programs that receive public funding) must already have traction in arts programs (i.e. some arts education has already been established in the school, policies are in place to support arts in education, principals want a more robust arts program, and schools have support from parent groups (PTAs) to strengthen their arts programs).
    • Programs must focus on positively impacting students’ learning.
    • Programs must focus on students “doing” art, as opposed to observing art. Programs should enhance comprehensive, sequential delivery of arts instruction and can include all arts: performing, music, visual, theater, literary (poetry & writing), folk, media, and emerging art fields.
    • Applicants should be able to demonstrate their program has been designed and is managed with an understanding of cultural competencies appropriate to their student demographic. 
  • Human Services Guidelines:
    • Have leaders and/or staff that are representative of the community they serve. We believe that the best programs will have mentors and leaders that truly understand and can identify with those they serve (e.g., staff that have been homeless or in foster care or are open about their own mental health, trauma, or addiction struggles). We value organizations or programs that emphasize connection to and even emanate from the communities they seek to serve; those that embrace the mantra "nothing about us without us” in all aspects of their work.
    • Organizations or programs that include or connect to wrap-around services for youth/young adults. For example: organizations that identify and connect youth to community resources, offer job/skills training and/or provide case management. We value organizations that partner with others in the community to ensure all of a young person’s needs are met.


  • Arts in Education - Priority Will Be Given To:
    • Programs that include professional development opportunities for classroom teachers and teaching artists who are focused on arts education.
    • Programs that encourage development of additional partnerships and achieve goals with others such as community organizations, artists, parents, government entities, foundations, and school organizations where possible.
    • Programs which are sustainable, long-term, and potentially replicable. We hope to invest in programs that can contribute to the field as a whole.
  • Climate Change - Priority Will Be Given To:
    • Programs in Washington and Oregon. Although we may occasionally fund projects outside of the Pacific Northwest at the family’s discretion, we will not actively seek partnerships outside of the region.
    • Work that engages diverse stakeholders and builds strong strategic coalitions of historically uncommon partners.
    • Work that has the potential to leverage our relatively small contributions into outsized impact through policy change, market forces, or other mechanisms.
    • Work that has a demonstrated need for our support and can use our dollars as leverage.
    • Work that is measurable, has a demonstrable impact, and results in tangible outcomes.
    • Proven ideas and programs well-grounded in widely accepted science.
  • Human Services - Priority Will Be Given to Programs and Organizations That:
    • Work to build strong community for participating youth/young adults in ways appropriate to the individual’s situation. Examples could include identifying opportunities for family unification, supporting youths’ families with counseling services, or encouraging active contribution to the success of peers and the program.
    • Provide a “safe space” offering love and encouragement, as well as the long-term support of peers and community, with the goal of moving youth/young adults permanently out of homelessness.
    • Use a strength-based approach that builds on and celebrates existing assets of youth and young adults.
    • View participants holistically, acknowledging and providing support to address potential barriers to success.
    • Support youth/young adults during the latter years of foster care and those who have recently aged out of foster care.
    • Emphasize and provide lasting recovery support for youth/young adults who have experienced trauma and struggle with mental health issues and/or addiction. We believe lasting recovery is a process that takes time and investment and we want to support programs that provide stability.
    • ​​Finally, we recognize the significant over-representation of marginalized communities across all of these issues and are most interested in organizations that acknowledge and seek to address racial and social injustice in their work.
  • Watershed Stewardship - Priority Will Be Given To: Watersheds of significance to the Laird Norton family, where the work:
    • Is well-grounded in science.
    • Incorporates adaptive management (trying something out, testing the assumptions, adjusting as needed), ongoing monitoring and evaluation, and fosters strong community engagement in place; as there is clear evidence that the presence of these elements significantly increases long-term success toward ecological goals.
    • Is already in progress (or there interest is already in place) to prioritize actions throughout the watershed, and a degree of coordination amongst implementing organizations representing diverse interests.


  • No grants are made to religious institutions for religious purposes.
  • The Foundation does not provide grants for individuals, scholarships, endowments, capital campaigns, for-profit organizations, or unincorporated associations or groups.
  • We generally do not support publications, documentary films, television productions and the like.
  • From 2007–2016, LNFF awarded grants through our Global Fundamentals program, focused on improving the quality of life in developing countries through clean water and sanitation access, technology, and policy. The Foundation has since shifted focus to other areas of impact and no longer makes Global Fundamentals grants.
  • The Arts in Education Program Will Not Fund:
    • ​Individuals or artists’ work. However, programs can include artist-in-residence programs in pre-K–12 public schools, providing that the residency is part of an larger arts integration strategy focused on student learning;
    • One-time events (e.g., a field trip to the symphony or museum); 
    • Art performances without ongoing, hands-on opportunities for children and youth to participate. 
  • The Human Services Program Will Not Fund:
    • Organizations that focus only on short-term rehabilitation to mental health, addiction, and homelessness issues
    • Event sponsorships
    • Scholarships
    • Individuals
    • Capital campaigns


This page was last reviewed April 30, 2023 and last updated April 30, 2023