In 2013 The Thomas Foundation continued the evolution of its philanthropic grant-making. "Fight for the Reef" is the first major marine project to benefit from a significant Thomas Foundation grant. The project is jointly run by the World Wide Fund (WWF) and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) in a coalition initiated by the Foundation. As well as bringing the two groups together, this is also the first time the Foundation has funded an advocacy program - a significant shift from the science-based grants programs that were the focus of the Foundation's terrestrial conservation activities over the previous decade.

At establishment in 1998, the Foundation's initial interests were in education, the arts and conservation. Then in 2002, the Foundation shifted its primary focus to science-based terrestrial conservation. Among its terrestrial projects, it took two important initiatives that brought a fundamental shift to private conservation in Australia. First it identified The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as being the world's foremost private conservation www.nature.org - an outcome of the considerable expertise, funding and scientific resources at its disposal. At that time, no other organisation could match these assets or the depth of TNC's experience, and the Foundation played an important joint role - with businessman and philanthropist Rob McLean - in bringing TNC to Australia.

The benefits of this initiative have been considerable, and continue to flow, with TNC now further... read more


'Perfect Storm’ facing Australia’s oceans requires a new deal


Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of York, delivered the 4th Thomas Conservation Oration at the University of Sydney on March 18, 2013. He is author of Ocean of Life: How our Seas are Changing. His oration can be viewed, or heard by clicking here