Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions List

Who are the program team at Kingfisher?

We are a small San Francisco based team with a network of peers and advisors bringing a range of experience and capabilities.

How do I apply for a grant? / How can I submit an enquiry about my organization’s eligibility?

We recognize that there are many organizations doing excellent work and these organizations commit valuable resources to writing inquiries and proposals. Given our small team and very specific focus, we do not accept unsolicited proposals. Learn about the work we fund for Environment Grants and Art History Grants.

Why are you called Kingfisher Foundation?

We’re named after the kingfisher family of birds—jaunty, colorful, sharp-beaked birds that live on six continents and depend on every kind of water source, as well as earthen banks, trees, and the air to survive. Kingfishers are “systems thinkers,” often adapting to complex, interrelated changes across the environments they live in. They inspire us to work across data, information, economic and policy systems.

Who founded the Kingfisher Foundation?

Kingfisher’s founder grew up in Seattle in the 1960s and 1970s where her love of the outdoors and experience of the city’s boom-and-bust cycles sparked curiosity about how government and private resources could serve the environment and create good, stable jobs. After two decades working in the software industry, helping private sector companies and non-profit organizations use their first computer systems she transitioned to work advancing science-based environmental policies for marine fisheries, funding projects that engage a cross section of stakeholders to understand and align economic and policy incentives.

My organization is developing a new technology for collecting environmental data. Would we be a potential grantee?

Kingfisher’s approach to making technology useful is not about technology. It’s about organizations, people and processes. Technology projects usually have a shared interest in helping people be more effective and making processes more efficient and useful. But technology alone can’t do it. Eighty percent of the job is understanding how people work, what they care about, their day-to-day processes, incentives, and information needs. Only then can technology and data fill the other 20 percent and be part of the solution. The focus of Kingfisher grants is to advance this 80%.

How do Kingfisher funded projects work with stakeholders?

Cultural or environmental challenges alike have an essential social dimension including a unique and complex set of stakeholders and incentives. Kingfisher projects strive to understand and systematically engage these to make durable, broadly supported progress in practice. We value the role and expertise of many talented partners in federal and state environmental agencies, water and natural resource boards, commercial fishing and farming, academia, advocacy, visual arts and philanthropy to keep our natural and cultural systems thriving. We also recognize that achieving change in practice is complex and difficult. We strive for honesty in success and failure and to learn valuable lessons from every project.

In what geographic areas does Kingfisher make grants?

Kingfisher’s East Asian Art History program is focused on supporting North American institutions. The Environmental program funds qualified organizations and projects to advance data governance structures and data connector organizations primarily in North America and Western Pacific.

What is Kingfisher’s 501(c)3 number?


How can I contact Kingfisher Foundation?

Please email