About Us

Our History

The Volgenau Foundation (TVF) was established in 1994 as an operating foundation fostering conservation of natural resources and the education of children. As of 2016 it is primarily a grantmaking foundation.

The Volgenau Foundation Phillips Creek Farm
The Volgenau Foundation Phillips Creek Farm

Board of Directors

  • Ernst Volgenau, President
  • Lisa Volgenau*, Vice President and Board Director
  • Lauren Volgenau-Knapp*, Vice President and Board Director
  • Jennifer Volgenau Wiley*, Vice President and Board Director
  • Chris DeCardy, Board Director
  • Jonathan Kaledin, Executive Vice President and Board Director


  • Andi Pearl, Executive Director
  • Julie Kennedy, Foundation & Grants Administrator

*Given their expertise in areas in which the Foundation funds, family members Lisa Volgenau, Lauren Volgenau-Knapp, and Jennifer Volgenau Wiley serve in both board and programmatic roles for the foundation. They have a deep, longstanding interest in developing and maintaining relationships with foundation partners and serve as primary points-of-contact for a portfolio of grantees. Lisa, Lauren, and Jennifer also provide sector leadership and represent TVF at numerous conferences and coalitions.

Our Grantmaking

The Volgenau Foundation supports only pre-selected organizations.

Our Funding Priorities

Learn more about our priorities and strategies here

Our Mission

The mission of The Volgenau Foundation is to protect and restore the natural environment, support education of under-resourced communities, and strengthen appreciation of classical music.

Our Vision

We envision a world in which all living things have the resources to thrive within sustainable ecosystems, and culturally vibrant opportunities are accessible for all.

Our Values

We are guided by two fundamental values: honesty and service.

1. Marine, Freshwater, and Land Conservation

To protect land, marine, and freshwater resources that support natural ecosystems, biodiversity, and people, and to increase resilience to climate change.

Goal Statement: The foundation is deeply committed to the preservation of natural resources, both on land and in marine and freshwater ecosystems, with a dual focus on nurturing thriving natural ecosystems and improving the well-being of communities that depend on them. Our overarching goal is to ensure that protected areas support the balance of nature and enhance the quality of life for people.

A few of our Conservation grant recipients:

Clicking the logos below will take you to that organization's website.

2. Wildlife Protection, Co-existence, and Connectivity

To increase resilience to our changing climate, address and mitigate the impact of humans on wildlife habitat and movement, and promote healthy coexistence between humans and wildlife.

Goal Statement: The Foundation seeks to enhance resilience of wildlife in the face of climate change and mitigate the impacts of human activities on wildlife movement, habitat, and survival. Our main objective is to ensure that the planet's remarkable biodiversity not only endures but thrives, while fostering coexistence between human communities and the natural world.

A few of our Wildlife grant recipients:

Clicking the logos below will take you to that organization's website.

Defenders Of Wildlife
Greater Yellowstone Coalition
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Yellowstone To Yukon Conservation Initiative

3. Education focused on Conservation and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

To provide under-resourced communities with access to conservation and STEM education.

Goal Statement: The Foundation is committed to increasing access to conservation and STEM education for under-resourced communities, equipping young people with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to become conscientious stewards of the environment. This includes understanding the full ramifications of climate change, and becoming productive members of society. Our goal is to inspire a new generation that is not only academically proficient but also socially and environmentally conscious.

A few of our Education grant recipients:

Clicking the logos below will take you to that organization's website.

Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys
Capital Partners for Education
Friends Of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Living Classrooms
Meadowland Botanical Gardens
Nature Bridge
The Ocean Foundation
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Wolf Trap Park Foundation for the Performing Arts

4. Funding Priority: Classical Music

To increase youth exposure to, appreciation of, and interest in classical music.

Goal Statement: We provide funding to a select number of organizations to honor our family’s long-standing interest in fostering a deeper connection to classical music, with a specific focus on engaging and inspiring youth. We aspire to kindle an enduring appreciation for classical music, ensuring it remains a vibrant art form and cultural experience that enriches the human soul for generations to come.

A few of our Music grant recipients:

Clicking the logos below will take you to that organization's website.

From The Top
Levine School of Music
National Symphony Orchestra