Ray C. Anderson Foundation



Atlanta, GA

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Assets: $57,754,337


Private Grantmaking Foundation



Executive Director:

John Anderson Lanier

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Ray C. Anderson Foundation is a left-of-center private grantmaking foundation that focuses on climate change and environmentalism-related technology. This organization was formed after the death of manufacturer Ray C. Anderson by members of his family with money from his estate; his wife and two daughters were its initial trustees, and the organization is now headed by his grandson, John Anderson Lanier. 1 In 2015 it pledged to give $5 million over a decade to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Business Strategy for Sustainability which, in turn, was renamed after Ray Anderson. 2


Founded in 2012, the Ray C. Anderson Foundation was launched with an estate endowment from Anderson, founder and chairman of industrial textile manufacturer Interface Inc. 3 Its website states that the foundation has divested from fossil fuels, citing both ethical reasons and the expectation that alternative energy sources will become more and more cost-efficient in the future. 4

It offers the Ray of Hope Prize, which is geared toward “nature-inspired startups,” and provides a 10-week training program to help these organizations to streamline their business models and communication programs. The prize favors groups working in the area of climate change, carbon sequestration, or implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 5

First place winners of the Ray of Hope Prize receive $100,000 in funding; another $50,000 is divided among the remaining participants. Past participants include Biohm, which developed a mushroom-based insulation product; biodegradable fiber developer Werewool; and industrial photocatalyst developer New Iridium. 6


Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business at Georgia Institute of Technology

In 2015, Ray C. Anderson Foundation announced a $5 million pledge to the Georgia Institute of Technology (colloquially known as Georgia Tech), which renamed its Center for Business Strategy for Sustainability to “The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business.” Anderson was a graduate of Georgia Tech; the Center had received funding for its first two years from the Kendeda Fund. 7

In 2018 Georgia Institute of Technology announced the Global Change Program, an undergraduate research internship and education program designed to facilitate networking among students and organizations interested in tackling climate issues. The plan includes hosting speakers and roundtable discussions, as well as the creation of a “climate solutions lab,” and a new “Climate and Energy” minor at the Institute. 8

Drawdown Georgia/Georgia Climate Project

Based on the global initiative Project Drawdown which aims to “draw down” carbon emissions, the Drawdown Georgia project aims for a 57 percent cut of carbon emissions in that state by the year 2030. Its plan is centered around alternative energy sources such as hybrid solar/battery energy, an increase in large-scale solar farms, and the capture of “waste energy” such as methane and “cogeneration” heat energy produced by manufacturing processes. 9

This group also addresses questions of “equity” as related to various climate issues, and the approaches to tackling these issues. Its “Beyond Carbon: Equity” chart rates these factors in areas such as affordability “workforce and business diversity,” or “cultural fit.” For example, landfill methane capture rated well on affordability, but poorly in diversity and cultural fit. 10

In 2018, Ray C. Anderson Institute founded the Georgia Climate Project in conjunction with several colleges and universities including Spelman College, Emory University, the University of Georgia, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. With an initial funding of $650,000, this project aims to bring together specialists in climate and environmental issues, especially from institutes of higher learning. In 2019, it hosted a Georgia Climate Conference in Atlanta. 11 12

The Ray/ BioMimicry Launchpad Accelerator

The Ray is a think tank founded by Ray C. Anderson Foundation that specializes in the development of new technologies in the area of climate change and carbon reduction. This project is focused on a specific stretch of Highway I-85 in Georgia, with plans to implement a series of initiatives such as solar-powered vehicle charging stations, “bioswale” groundwater collection systems, and development of unmanned drones for surveying data and information transmission to firefighters. 13 14

Ray C. Anderson Foundation also founded the Biomimicry Launchpad Accelerator, which works in the field of applying artificial, but nature-inspired, solutions to environmental and industrial problems. In 2023, this group announced a free 10-week training conference to bring together specialists and students in the field of biomimicry for networking and mentoring opportunities. 15

NextGen Committee

NextGen Committee is a coalition of Ray Anderson’s grandchildren and their respective spouses. This group functions as a sort of steering committee, identifying possible grantmaking opportunities and providing the relevant funding. In 2020, NextGen Committee provided $100,000 in funding for the Native American advocacy group Cultural Survival. These funds were then distributed through Cultural Survival’s “Keepers of the Earth Fund,” which focuses on indigenous-led environmental advocacy. 16

NextGen also awarded $100,000 in 2019 for the Inga Foundation’s soil fertility project in Honduras, and $90,000 in 2018 to campus-based environmentalist group Second Nature to fund its goal “to increase the number of large-scale renewable energy projects in the national grid, and to achieve climate neutrality on more U.S. campuses.” 17 18


John Anderson Lanier is the executive director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, and a former associate attorney at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP. The grandson of Ray Anderson, Lanier is also a former board member of the environmentalist group Project Drawdown. 19


  1. “Ray C. Anderson Foundation Leadership.” Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  2. “$5 Million Commitment Names Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business.” Georgia Tech. January 30, 2015. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  3. “Ray C. Anderson Foundation Leadership.” Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  4. “Our Divestment from Fossil Fuels.” Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  5. “Ray of Hope Prize.” Biomimicry Institute. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  6. “Ray of Hope Prize Startups.” Airtable. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  7. “$5 Million Commitment Names Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business.” Georgia Tech. January 30, 2015. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  8.  “Georgia Tech Launches Global Change Program.” Georgia Tech. March 19, 2018. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  9. “Solutions: Electricity.” Drawdown Georgia. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  10. “Beyond Carbon: Equity.” Drawdown Georgia Accessed October 2, 2023.
  11. “Climate Change.” Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  12. “Georgia Climate Project.” Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  13. “Climate Change.” Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  14. “Launching Soon.” The Ray. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  15. “The Launchpad Mission.” Biomimicry. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  16. Bennet, Valerie. “Ray C. Anderson Foundation’s NextGen Committee Awards $100,000 Grant to Cultural Survival.” Ray C. Anderson Foundation Accessed October 2, 2023.
  17. Bennet, Valerie. “Ray C. Anderson Foundation’s NextGen Committee Awards $100,000 Grant to Inga Foundation.” Ray C. Anderson Foundation. December 5, 2019. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  18. “NextGen Grants $90,000 to Second Nature.” Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.$90,000-to-second-nature
  19. “John Anderson Lanier.” Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 1991

  • 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
    2020 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $57,754,337 $5,241 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2019 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $53,133,729 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $47,328,811 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $41,079,992 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $40,937,387 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $36,565,450 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $4,784,463 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Ray C. Anderson Foundation

    1180 W PEACHTREE ST NW STE 1975
    Atlanta, GA 30309-3893