Waitt Foundation

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Ted Waitt ~ founder, board chairman & president of the Waitt Foundation

A Heartfelt Commitment

Ted Waitt established the Waitt Foundation in 1993 to reflect his family’s heartfelt commitment to give back to the community by “helping good people do great things” through research and education. Since then, the foundation has donated over $125 million to non-profit and charitable organizations both at home and abroad.

From Siouxland to San Diego

The foundation’s initial focus was promoting positive change in “at-risk” communities throughout the Siouxland region where Ted was born. After investing millions of dollars in various programs, Ted concluded that the foundation’s work in domestic violence had the most measurable impact on those at risk today.

Moving its headquarters to the San Diego area in 1999, the foundation took advantage of the opportunity to broaden its goals and extend its reach to a new community. The creation of two operating institutes in 2005, the Waitt Institute and the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention, enabled the foundation to expand program interests beyond community building initiatives into ocean conservation and related projects.

Our Mission and Vision Today — Protecting & Restoring our Oceans

With the rapid decline of marine life and resources, the primary mission of the Waitt Foundation is to protect our oceans from the harmful impacts of overfishing.  To achieve this, we direct our efforts toward facilitating the creation of marine protected areas, engaging stakeholders to improve the management of fisheries, fostering sustainable solutions, and raising public awareness through a network of collaborative NGO’s and foundations.  Our vision is to restore the seas to full productivity for future generations.

Funding partnerships and projects in conjunction with its grantees and two institutes, the Waitt Foundation supports a variety of national and international programs concentrating on ocean conservation initiatives and marine related issues. By increasing global awareness, our goal is to reverse the current decline of ocean life while inspiring humanity to make informed choices that contribute to a healthy marine ecosystem

The foundation’s current funding priorities are focused on creating, strengthening, and expanding Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and promoting Sustainable Solutions.


Marine Protected Areas are some of the simplest of marine management tools that can offer the highest gains in terms of marine conservation.

Seeking Bold New Ideas with Sustainable Impact

We are looking for bold new ideas and people with the skills and determination to make a deep, lasting, and sustainable difference throughout the world and in our daily lives. To learn more about our current initiatives and programs, please visit our “Grant Focus” section.

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