Conservation Influencers

Paul G Allen Family Foundation/Vulcan Inc


Vulcan Inc was founded in 1986 and the Paul G Allen Family Foundation in 1989. The former is a privately owned company, which manages the philanthropist’s and Microsoft co-founder’s network of organisations and initiatives. The latter is Vulcan’s vehicle for making grants to NGOs, especially ones concerned with wildlife and oceanic issues.

Vulcan Inc’s assets range from global financial investments and business ventures, to a vast property portfolio, high-value art and a professional American football team, Seattle Seahawks. Since Paul G Allen’s death in 2018, Vulcan has been the sole property of his sister Jody Allen.

In 2016, Vulcan was one of the founding members of the Shark Conservation Fund (SCF), which was created, in SCF’s words, ‘to list at least 50 percent of the most commercially valuable sharks in CITES’ appendices’. To this end, Vulcan provides SCF with funds which are then passed on to NGOs which campaign to list sharks and rays in Appendix I or II of CITES. 

Vulcan’s money and management was the force behind the pan-African Great Elephant Census, in cooperation with Elephants Without Borders. This two-year survey counted from the air and from dung samples the number of savanna elephants throughout Africa. Air surveillance is a technique that Elephants Without Borders has since been accused of manipulating: see The New York Times’ Doubts Mount in Botswana Over Charity’s Claim of Elephant ‘Poaching Frenzy’. IUCN has relied on Vulcan’s and EWB’s findings to calibrate the status of Africa’s elephant stocks and to provide advice to CITES. In other words, neither IUCN not CITES did the research themselves.

Unlike most philanthropic foundations, Paul G Allen Family Foundation/Vulcan attends CITES’ CoPs as an active participant.

Leaders and governance

Jody Allen is co-founder, board chair, and president of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.


According to form 990, in 2019 Paul G Allen Family Foundation’s revenue was USD74 million and it had USD931 million in assets.

About the directory

Conservation Influencers is a searchable directory of the animal activist, environmental and ecological lobby. It examines the history, mission, methodology and reputation of NGOs to assess their impact on the global conservation cause.


Wildlife Conservation Society

In 1906, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) put an African man on display in Bronx Zoo’s Monkey House. In 1918, one of WCS’s founding fathers, Madison Grant, published Passing of the Great Race, which Adolf Hitler referred to as his ‘Bible’. Another leading creator and early leader of WCS, Henry Fairfield Osborn Sr, was also a founder of the American Eugenics Society. His son headed WCS from 1940 to 1968, overseeing a series of major initiatives in Africa. There, WCS became one of the architects of the prohibition movement, which put wildlife for consumptive use and vast regions of land out of bounds to humanity. In 2020, WCS distanced itself in public from the racist views of Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn Sr. But it has yet to issue a critical account of the legacy of Fairfield Osborn Jr, even though he led WCS into the modern era while sharing similar politically-inspired ecological goals to his father and Grant. WCS devotes considerable financial resources to influencing outcomes at CITES. WCS’s CEO reportedly earns USD$1,320,978.