A long-term commitment to our ocean: the Neptune Fund

Image: Alifa Haque

By |2023-02-27T17:35:24+00:00February 27th, 2023|Endowment Fund, Funding, Marine, Ocean, Philanthropy|Comments Off on A long-term commitment to our ocean: the Neptune Fund

There is an urgent need for increased long-term funding to support effective ocean conservation action. Mainstream ocean conservation efforts struggle to halt and reverse the decline in ocean health, while the ocean’s most reliable custodians—the people and communities who have long depended on it for sustenance—have often been overlooked and disenfranchised in efforts to protect it.

Synchronicity Earth is pleased to launch the Neptune Fund, established in collaboration with the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), to provide a source of vital, targeted funding for critical yet overlooked and underfunded marine conservation challenges. The Neptune Fund is an expendable endowment fund enabling donors to provide long-term support to locally-led and grassroots organisations working at the forefront of ocean conservation.

Marine funding skews heavily towards grant recipients in North America and large conservation organisations, despite the fact that locally-led work is one of the most effective and equitable way to achieve conservation goals. According to the ‘Funding the Ocean’ marine philanthropy tracker, 70 per cent of grants between 2020 and 2022 served the North America region, compared to one per cent for Oceania.

The Neptune Fund will work to redress this imbalance by providing long-term, core funding to effective, locally-led conservation in the Global South. Initially, the fund will focus mainly on Southeast Asia, Melanesia and the East Indian Ocean, regions with exceptionally high levels of marine biodiversity, but which face key gaps in resourcing.

A narrow fishing boat silhouetted on a coastline with trees, a calm sea and rainbow in a cloudy sky.

One of the organisations the Neptune Fund seeks to support is the Piku Biodiversity Network, which focuses on the Kikori River and its delta in Papua New Guinea. Image: Piku Biodiversity Network

How the Neptune Fund works

Unlike traditional endowments that lock up capital in perpetuity, the fund is an expendable endowment that allows both capital and income to be spent on ocean conservation.

The Neptune Fund gives donors the opportunity to provide long-term support—either through a single donation or a series of donations—and plug the gaps left by more traditional fundraising approaches. It aims to:

  • grow donations over time;
  • put donations to work over the long-term, providing a stable source of annuity funding to key organisations and groups working on ocean conservation; and
  • bring donors together to provide coordinated and strategic funding for ocean conservation.
Scientist Alifa Haque completes a task off the side of a fishing boat with colleagues/fishers.

Alifa Haque leads the Bengal Elasmo Lab collaboration, which is working to conserve the Critically Endanger