Whitley Fund for Nature

Transforming global ambition into grassroots action

Who we are

Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) is a UK fundraising and grant-giving charity, which supports conservation leaders working in their home countries across the Global South. Over 30 years we have channelled £20 million to more than 200 conservationists in 80 countries.

We offer long term, laddered support to courageous changemakers leading local solutions to the global biodiversity and climate crises; they are acting on the latest science and igniting projects with passion. Through these award winners we support work rooted in communities that creates lasting benefits for wildlife, landscapes and people.

what we do

We offer three types of grant to enable grassroots conservationists to scale up their work and make a global impact:

  1. Whitley Awards: WFN’s flagship prizes, the Whitley Awards are won competitively each year. Following a worldwide search, applications are assessed by an expert judging panel. In addition to £40,000 in project funding over one year, the awards provide profile by means of PR support and training through our Winner Network programme.
  2. Continuation Funding: Available to Whitley Award alumni, Continuation Funding provides follow-on grants for winners to expand effective projects, respond to changing needs, and collaborate with other conservationists. Applications are invited annually and applied for competitively, with grants worth up to £100,000 over two years.
  3. Whitley Gold Award: Each year a Whitley Award alumnus is given the Gold Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution to conservation. Whitley Gold Award winners are international advocates for biodiversity, pioneering large scale projects and acting as a mentor to new Whitley Award winners. Our most prestigious prize, the Whitley Gold Award is worth £100,000.

upcoming event: People for Planet Summit

Join the world’s top conservation experts from across the Global South for an inspiring 2-day programme at the Whitley Fund for Nature’s ‘People for Planet’ Summit. To mark the charity’s 30th Anniversary, the Whitley Gold Award winners will discuss the transformational power of grassroots conservation alongside expert peers and special guests.

When: Monday 6th November and Tuesday 7th November

Where: The Royal Institution, London W1S 4BS

Ahead of COP28, this event will offer unique insights from on-the-ground conservation entrepreneurs working to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change. With panel discussions, networking sessions, exciting evening events and more, we will cover topical issues in the biodiversity conservation space, and why without biodiversity there is no net zero. This is a cross-sector event where optimism and an open-mind are our first tools of action!

Orangutans in Sumatra where Whitley Award winner Hotlin Ompusunggu works

How you can support

Become a Friend of WFN: Friends of the charity collectively fund the Whitley Gold Award and support our Continuation Funding programme, providing vital funds to enable scale-up of grassroots conservation projects.

Join the WFN NextGen Network: NextGen is a community of young professionals who are passionate about conservation, raising funds for the grassroots initiatives of Whitley Award winners around the world. One million species are threatened by extinction, yet only 4% of UK philanthropic giving is directed to the environment. Through fundraising challenges and events, NextGen seeks to leverage the passion and dedication of our network to collectively fundraise and help close this wildlife funding gap for conservation. Join the movement!