The Nature Conservancy Receives $26 Million in Funding—one of the Largest Gifts to Conservation in Africa

Commitment from the Peter Hawkins Dobberpuhl Foundation will benefit wild places and the people living in them

Arlington, VA | March 04, 2014

The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a global non-profit organization, announced today receipt of $26 million in funding through the Peter Hawkins Dobberpuhl Foundation for projects in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia that are designed to conserve wild places and benefit the people who live in them, with $3 million allocated specifically for work to combat the elephant poaching crisis. This is one of the largest gifts, other than through bequest, to on-the-ground conservation in Africa.

The Dobberpuhl family – Joel, Holly, and their children Samuel and Lily – chose to make their funding commitment a strategic combination of philanthropic giving and impact investment capital: $22.5 million is outright philanthropy, and $3.5 million is a seven-year, zero-interest loan to scale up an innovative conservation financing program in Kenya focused on sustainable livestock grazing. The Dobberpuhls aim to encourage more philanthropists to engage in this blended funding strategy.

“TNC is doing the right thing by bringing their resources and expertise to the marketplace to make a greater conservation impact, but it is not without risk” said Joel Dobberpuhl. “Like any venture it is important to provide them with flexible capital. Innovation is alive in conservation and it’s definitely alive at The Nature Conservancy.”

This transformative funding support builds on generous support from the Peter Hawkins Dobberpuhl Foundation to TNC projects in their home state of Tennessee and second home, Washington state, where they support the Pacific Northwest’s Emerald Edge program to protect the world’s largest temperate rainforest.

“TNC's efforts in Africa are aimed at easing the tension between people and wildlife; helping to create a healthy balance for both – and that is one of the main reasons we wanted to participate,” said Holly Dobberpuhl.

“The fact that a family from Tennessee is stepping up at this level is an indication of how important Africa is on a global scale for social and conservation causes. Populations are growing and demand for resources is increasing. It really is crunch time. If we’re going to make it through, people in the U.S. and other parts of the world must also step up,” said David Banks, Director of TNC’s Africa Program.


  • $7MM in IMPACT CAPITAL to Livestock to Markets ($3.5MM is to be repaid after seven years)
    Through the Livestock to Markets program, local partner, the Northern Rangelands Trust, incents herders to manage grasslands to benefit cattle and wildlife. Cattle is fattened on conservation land before selling in Nairobi. Earnings are used for wildlife conservation and community projects. The Dobberpuhl funding will help pay for infrastructure, such as cattle transport and processing equipment, that is needed scale up from 1,000 head of cattle annually to the goal of 10,000.
  • $6MM to Secure Land in Kenya
    Loisaba is a 60,000-acre private ranch that is rich in wildlife and serves as a critical elephant corridor. It also provides grazing land for local herders and jobs through eco-tourism. The Dobberpuhl funding will cover most of the $10.7MM cost to conserve the property and ensure that it continues to support wildlife and local people.
  • $3MM for The Nature Conservancy’s Elephant Protection Initiative
    The Elephants Matter initiative is a multi-region effort to protect habitat and improve security for elephants in Africa while raising awareness and reducing demand for ivory in China.
  • $6.7MM for Tuungane, a multi-partner collaboration addressing the interconnected challenges of population growth, poverty and natural resource consumption in western Tanzania.
  • $3.3MM for work in western Zambia with the Zambian Wildlife Authority and local communities to improve natural resource management within the 16-million-acre Kafue Ecosystem.

The Nature Conservancy in Africa works with partners to conserve wild places and improve the lives of people who call them home. We focus on communally owned lands and provide people with tools to conserve their wildlife and other resources.

The Nature Conservancy in Washington works to protect, connect and restore vital lands and waters across the state. Partnering with diverse groups and using science-based innovation, the Conservancy is doing wide ranging work on the Washington Coast, around Puget Sound and in the East Cascades, bringing new health to damaged environments, strengthening local communities and economies and protecting land, air and water.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Misty Herrin
Director of Marketing, Africa Program
(323) 356-5420

Geraldine Henrich-Koenis
Director of Media Relations
(703) 841-3939

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