New England Biolabs Foundation grants

We are a private foundation whose mission is to foster community-based conservation of landscapes and seascapes and the bio-cultural diversity found in these places. We recognize that the natural and cultural values of landscapes and seascapes are inextricably linked, and that indigenous and local communities play a fundamental role in their stewardship.

We were established in 1982 by the founder of New England Biolabs, Inc., Donald Comb. A molecular biologist, Don is inspired by the diversity of life on Earth and the power of local community. Don created the foundation with the simple, yet powerful premise, that by thoughtfully investing in the work of people living and working in areas of high biodiversity, we can make an important contribution to conservation.

Thematic Areas

We support communities in the stewardship of their landscapes and seascapes and the associated bio-cultural diversity, ecosystem services, and food-ways. We welcome inquiries from community-based nonprofit organizations working toward:
  • Conserving biological diversity (terrestrial and marine).
  • Sustaining cultural diversity (linguistic diversity, as well as traditional knowledge systems and practices).
  • Maintaining ecosystem services (water, soil, and carbon sequestration).
  • Supporting food sovereignty and economic vitality of local communities.
  • In the marine environment, sustaining healthy reefs and fisheries.
In addition, in coastal communities along the North Shore of Massachusetts, we support projects in the area of artistic expression, with an emphasis on those focusing on the environment and social change.


We support community-based projects that seek to meet their objectives in a variety of ways. Among the kinds of approaches we support are those concerned with:
  • Creating and/or ensuring effective management and governance of protected areas, including Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), in particular where governance is led by communities (e.g., Indigenous Peoples’ and Community-Conserved Areas and Territories [ICCAs]).
  • Ecological restoration involving native species. Priority will be given to those efforts linked to existing conservation areas already valued by communities (for example, a project to re-establish a forested buffer zone near a sacred grove).
  • Providing enhanced and alternative local livelihoods, including sustainable agriculture and value-added products to support local economies.
  • Environmental education that draws on indigenous and local traditions and language to address present-day problems.
  • Use of the arts and other innovative methods to convey social and environmental messages.
  • Fostering civic engagement of communities through creative facilitation and other methods of stakeholder involvement (such as, public meetings and community-mapping exercises).

Grant Restrictions

New England Biolabs Foundation grants are limited to organizations that hold charitable status in their country. Eligible organizations must operate on a not-for-profit basis and stand by a mission to benefit local communities.
We do not typically fund:
  • Art projects beyond the North Shore of Massachusetts
  • Capital endowments, renovations, or building funds
  • Conferences or travel grants
  • Disease-specific initiatives or medical research
  • Private schools
  • Production of videos, movies, or books
  • Religious activities
  • Routine operating cost of institutions
  • Scholarships, fellowships, and internships
  • Services concerning the elderly, the needy, or the handicapped
  • Species-specific projects
Further, we cannot make grants to individuals.
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