Bobolink Foundation




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2019):

Revenue: $6,125,566
Expenses: $17,332,550
Assets: $235,725,521


Environmental grant making organization

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The Bobolink Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation created by former Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO and George W. Bush administration Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and his wife, Wendy. It focuses on the conservation of landscapes and wildlife, especially in grasslands and coastal areas throughout the Americas.


The Bobolink Foundation was established in 1986 in Chicago, Illinois by Hank and Wendy Paulson. After Hank finished working as the Treasury Secretary in the George W. Bush administration, he founded the Paulson Institute, an organization devoted to the environment and supporting Paulson’s beliefs about economic growth. The foundation supports both large and small organizations but does not accept requests for funding. The founders, particularly chair Wendy Paulson, and their interests are what drives the grantmaking of the foundation. 1

The Bobolink Foundation provides grants ranging from $5,000 all the way to $2 million. It is focused exclusively on environmental conservation. Its main giving areas are community-based conservation, wildlife and wild landscapes, coastal conservation, and American grasslands. The community-based conversation focus area supports efforts to create communities that are empowered to care for the environment that is near them. The American Grasslands focus area supports and promotes organizations that try to conserve and sustain the environment in American communities. Some of the grantees funded in these areas include Citizens for Conservation, Keystone Science School, Rare, and Student Conversation Association. 2

The coastal conversation area primarily focuses on the Altamaha River in Georgia including the conservation of shorebird species that live there. The foundation also supports organizations that have projects focused on freshwater and marine habitats. Some of the organizations that received funding in this area are the Friends of the Chicago River, the International Crane Society, and the Freshwater Trust. The Wildlife and Wild Landscapes area focuses on preserving places where wide ranging animals freely roam in the United States. This area conducts grantmaking throughout the Americas, from Mexico to Argentina. Grantees in this area include the Vermont Center for EcoStudies, the Owl Research Institute, and Rare, one of the biggest grantees, which was formerly chaired by Wendy Paulson. 3


Henry Merritt Paulson, also known as Hank Paulson, is a founder of the Bobolink Foundation. 4 He is also a member of the board of the Bobolink Foundation. 5 He is the former chairman of the investment banking giant Goldman Sachs who served as the secretary of the U.S Department of the Treasury from 2006 to 2009 in the Bush Administration. Paulson was also a member of the board of governors of the International Monetary Fund through his position as Treasury secretary. He graduated from Harvard Business School with a master’s degree in business administration in 1970. He worked at the Pentagon as staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense until 1972, and was a member of the White House Domestic Policy Council in the administration of President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1973. 6

Wendy Paulson is the chairman of the Bobolink Foundation. 7 She is the wife of Henry Merritt Paulson and a founder of the Bobolink Foundation. Previously she was a public-school teacher in Boston, chairwoman of the Illinois and New York chapters of The Nature Conservancy, and vice chairman of the Conservancy’s international Board of Governors. She graduated from Wellesley College with an English degree in 1969. 8


  1. “Bobolink Foundation.” Inside Philanthropy. Last modified May 4, 2022.
  2. “Bobolink Foundation.” Inside Philanthropy. Last modified May 4, 2022.
  3. “Bobolink Foundation.” Inside Philanthropy. Last modified May 4, 2022.
  4. “Bobolink Foundation Profile: Commitments & Mandates.” Venture Capital, Private Equity and M&A Database | PitchBook. Accessed June 4, 2022.
  5. “How We Work.” Bobolink Foundation. Accessed June 4, 2022.
  6. [1] Nolen, Jeannette L. “Henry Paulson.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed June 4, 2022.
  7. “How We Work.” Bobolink Foundation. Accessed June 4, 2022.
  8. “Wendy Paulson.” Openlands. Accessed June 21, 2022.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 1986

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form PF $6,125,566 $17,332,550 $235,725,521 $11,733 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form PF $5,331,646 $10,926,298 $268,436,245 $9 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Mar Form PF $106,264,599 $36,905,019 $274,032,830 $1,942 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Mar Form PF $160,910,967 $26,351,263 $204,671,308 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Mar Form PF $2,873,305 $19,327,856 $70,096,607 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Mar Form PF $3,847,429 $3,784,719 $86,551,158 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Mar Form PF $4,114,223 $4,715,997 $86,488,448 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Bobolink Foundation

    180 N STETSON AVE STE 2550
    CHICAGO, IL 60601-6778