It’s not news that how funders relate to grantees matter. There’s a lot of talk – and advice giving – about how funders need to take the time and shift the power in their exchanges with grantees.

Authentic relationships, where people feel heard and respected, are healthier and more productive. Building trust and flattening out power yields better outputs and outcomes. Indeed, when people connect in real ways beyond project or position, the work quite often becomes more meaningful and the results last.

While many marine conservation funders underscore the importance of relating what happens with oceans to the well-being of humans, they don’t always take a humanistic approach in their due diligence processes with grantees. This case highlights how the Leona M. and Henry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust’s “human touch” to ocean funding due diligence has helped it consistently reflect the grantmaking values it espouses.

Through its conservation program, The Helmsley Charitable Trust has taken a place-based approach, funding areas of the world like Madagascar, where habitat and human interests struggle to harmoniously co-exist. Helmsley’s website describes a collaborative way of working “with outstanding global and local organizations to resolve environmental threats in ways that ensure the well-being of local communities while sustaining natural resources and biodiversity.”

According to Alasdair Harris, executive director of Blue Ventures, an international conservation organization that rebuilds tropical fisheries with coastal communities via transformative, locally-led approaches, the foundation has consistently operated in this fashion.

Read the source article about place-based ocean funding by Anna Pond at Grantcraft.