Three types of grant enable grassroots conservationists to scale up their work and make a global impact.

“Everything is possible due to the Whitley Award; it is the greatest changemaker.”

Purnima Barman, 2017 Whitley Award winner

Whitley Awards

The charity’s flagship prizes – often referred to by others as ‘Green Oscars’ – are won competitively each year. Following a worldwide search, applications are assessed by an expert judging panel. In addition to £50,000 in project funding over one year, the awards provide profile and training.

2024 winners


Continuation Funding

Available to Whitley Award alumni, these follow-on grants enable 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. In 2020 WFN introduced a new strand of Continuation Funding for nature-based solutions that will help secure a sustainable future for wildlife, ecosystems and people; nature-based solutions funding is worth up to £100,000 over two years.

2023 winners


The Whitley Gold Award

Each year, we recognise a Whitley Award alumnus for 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.

2024 winner



An early pioneer in the sector, WFN was one of the first charities to channel funding to locally-led projects in the Global South. We support courageous changemakers who are collaborating with communities in their home countries to benefit wildlife, landscapes and people.

Our rigorous, and renowned, application process identifies inspiring individuals with staying power, who can combine the latest science with participatory action. We have earned our reputation by:

  • Using rigorous application screening involving an expert academic panel and international reference checks.
  • Interviewing Whitley Award finalists before selecting winners, ensuring we know and trust the individuals to whom we give funds.
  • Attracting applications from leaders in locations where funds are hardest to raise, most needed, and have the largest conservation impact.
  • Ensuring that 85% of donations are used to support WFN’s charitable activities.
  • Supporting grassroots nature conservationists who are nationals of the countries where they work and embedded in their community, who are often best placed to inspire change.
  • Offering laddered funding that allows for long-term conservation, not one-off grants.
  • Giving our winners PR support and media training to help raise their profile and enable them to leverage their success.
  • Maintaining close contact with our international winner network, and providing on-going advice, collaboration and funding opportunities.

“WFN is a very special organisation. It’s small. It’s very precisely focused…and so it is able to give its money where it really counts; where every penny counts.”

Sir David Attenborough, WFN Trustee

Whitley Fund for Nature and the Whitley Awards are not associated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.