The Oak Hill Fund

To promote the well-being of mankind through effective and inspiring grantmaking.

Conservation of the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR)

Coral reefs are the lifeblood of the planet's oceans and a source of sustenance and resources for people everywhere. The Mesoamerican reef is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, stretching nearly 700 miles from the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula down through the Honduran Bay Islands. The MAR is threatened by climate change, overfishing, pollution, and tourism.

Specific threats to the MAR include:
  • Mass tourism: Coastal development, hotel zones, piers for cruise ships, and the attendant sprawl and pollution are devouring mangroves and coasts at a pace that is destroying the reef.

  • Overfishing: This is affecting the reef ecosystem directly by over-harvesting certain species of fish thereby disrupting the ecological balance on the reef while depleting commercial species.

  • Pollution from industrial agriculture: Pineapple and banana plantations dot the coasts, especially in Honduras and these fruits are heavily sprayed. Oil palm and sugar cane are also crops that require heavy chemical treatments.

  • Land-based development and sedimentation problems: The Atlantic slope drainages are developing so fast that sediment transport via freshwater rivers is choking certain areas of the reef. Deforestation is causing sediment plumes in some areas.

The Oak Hill Fund supports efforts that
  • Advocate and educate to improve coastal and marine policies that protect or restore the reef and surrounding marine areas.
  • Improve Marine Protected Area (MPA) management and enforcement.
  • Support coral aquaculture and restoration efforts within the MAR

Important Update, December 1, 2023: The Oak Hill Fund Board and Staff are currently working with consultants on a new strategic plan as part of the next generation of the family taking the helm. During this time, we will not be accepting any requests for funding. We will of course honor all current commitments whether invitations to submit proposals, multi-year grants, or contracts. Our intent is to resume grantmaking starting June 1, 2024. Any changes to our programs or processes will be posted on our website. We recognize this may have an impact on our grantees and ask for your patience and understanding as we develop the next iteration of The Oak Hill Fund.

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