Leighty Foundation Grants

The Leighty Foundation

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Grant amount: US $4,000 - US $10,000

Anticipated deadline: Jun 7, 2020 (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Nonprofit

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

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



  • We are a small foundation, and since we leverage our funds by investing time in some way with most of our fund recipients, we consider only funding proposals that we have solicited, as either grant applications or requests for contribution.
    • To make initial contact, please e-mail the Managing Director as described here.
  • Invited applications are due at the "full proposal" deadline above; some applications are due at other times by specific arrangement with a Leighty Foundation director.
The Leighty Foundation is a family foundation incorporated under Iowa law. Directors and advisors live in Colorado, Alaska, California, and Washington. We award charitable funds to tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. Distributions may be by a formal grant application process or by a contribution.

  • Grants proceed from an invited, written application, on our form. Grants are usually made for one year or one project. A written evaluation of the project is required from each grantee. The majority of grants are $3,000 – $10,000.
  • Contributions proceed from an invitation and do not require a formal application. Opportunities are researched by a Board member or advisor who then requests consideration by the Board. Contributions are made each year. The majority of contributions are $500 – $3,000.

To carry on the Leighty family legacy of service and stewardship by leveraging our time and talents, as well as our financial resources, primarily in the areas of Earth Protection, Education, Promotion of Volunteer Engagement and Philanthropy.

Focus Areas

Earth Protection

“Environmental” has become trite, and does not convey the profound, urgent, and necessary changes in the way our species perceives and relates to our fellow species on Earth, and to its wonderful physical systems. The Leighty Foundation is especially interested in accelerating humanity’s transition to a sustainable, equitable, benign, affordable global energy system based entirely upon renewable energy sources — driven by radiant energy from our local star, the Sun, and by geothermal. Our earliest, most rewarding investments will be energy conservation and efficiency, while we invent and invest to “run the world on renewables.” We assist science education, so that we will better understand who and what and where we humans are, and to better understand Earth and our options for cooperation within its context and limits. Thus, we intend to invest wisely in Earth Protection, with both Foundation funds and with our personal involvement.

An urgent Grand Challenge is transforming the world’s largest industry from about 80% fossil to nearly 100% renewable, CO2-emission-free energy sources, as quickly as we prudently and profitably can. Prudently: with acceptable social and economic disruption. Profitably: the huge amount of capital needed will flow only to attractive opportunities for returns. Electricity systems may be inadequate or technically and economically suboptimal for this transformation. Therefore, we now need to think beyond electricity, to comprehensively consider alternatives. Hydrogen (H2) and Anhydrous Ammonia (NH3) are attractive, energy carriers, storage media, and fuels – as complete renewable energy systems. The Leighty Foundation Earth Protection program focuses on the Big Three challenges of time-variable renewable generation:

  • Gathering and transmission;
  • Low-cost, annual-scale, firming storage;
  • Distribution, integration, and end-use of energy services.

Volunteer Engagement

Our nation finds itself faced with a perfect storm with shrinking resources and escalating needs. Meeting these needs will require a dramatic increase in the number of people willing to give their time and skills as well as their financial resources. However, the challenge may be less about increasing the number of people who volunteer, and more about building infrastructures which connect people with worthy opportunities, and empower them to make a meaningful difference.

There is a growing awareness that even if Americans respond to the myriad of calls for service, many charities are not prepared to effectively engage them. A recent survey found that more than 30% of charities do not currently have the infrastructure to effectively deploy volunteers. Now is the time for us as funders to seize this unique opportunity to financially support nonprofits in building their capacity.

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


  • We award charitable funds to tax-exempt nonprofit organizations.


  • We generally do not consider funding for capital projects.
    • However, when we do, we are particularly interested in building design and energy efficiency, land use, and community planning – consistent with our dedication to sustainability and to sprawl prevention.
    • If you are planning a capital project, we suggest you read our “Investing in Capital Projects” paper.