McConnell Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: The McConnell Foundation’s global development grantmaking focuses on peacebuilding and conflict resolution in Nepal, water quality, sustainable livelihoods, and improving justice systems in Laos.

IP TAKE: The organization tends to support large international groups working in its fields of interest. Grantseekers should contact the McConnell Foundation to discuss their work and how it aligns with the foundation’s mission.

PROFILE: Carl and Leah McConnell established the McConnell Foundation in 1964, but did not award significant domestic grants until 1988. Based in Redding, California, the McConnell Foundation refers to itself as a “broad based funder,” with global geographic interests in Nepal and Laos. The foundation ultimately seeks to help "build better communities through philanthropy." The foundation's grantmaking prioritizes children, youth & education, healthy Communities, Scholarships, and NatureBridge at Yosemite program. The foundation focuses its U.S. giving primarily on Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity Counties in rural Northern California. It began funding internationally in 1999, and now funds projects in Nepal and Laos.

In 1999, the foundation launched its International grantmaking program. It focuses on rural development, schools, and addressing domestic violence. The foundation has revamped its International giving to also support peacebuilding and “conflict transformation efforts” across Nepal. Particular areas of interest here including community level justice programs and building leadership capacity for marginalized communities. 

In 2006, the foundation decided to add the Southeast Asian country of Laos to its global grantmaking agenda. The scope of McConnell’s grantmaking in Laos differs substantially from its Nepal grantmaking. Instead of peacebuilding and conflict resolution, the foundation’s giving in Laos focuses on community based water quality projects, reducing pollutants in local water sources; increasing and managing fish stocks to help foster sustainable livelihoods; and improving justice systems.

International grants out of the McConnell Foundation typically range from $50,000 to $350,000. The foundation does not accept unsolicited grant application for its international program, but it does “appreciate collegial exchanges of knowledge, lessons learned, and being apprised of the work others are doing in or fields of interest.” It invites groups working in Nepal or Laos that have an interest in communicating with the foundation to contact Jesica Rhone at (530) 226-6223 or by using the email contact form.


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