Our History

In 1998, Leonardo DiCaprio established his foundation with the mission of protecting the world’s last wild places. LDF implements solutions that help restore balance to threatened ecosystems, ensuring the long-term health and well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants. Since that time the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) has worked on some of the most pressing environmental issues of our day. Here is a timeline of some of our biggest milestones. 

  • 1998

    Founding of LDF

    Leonardo DiCaprio establishes the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) with the mission of protecting the Earth's last wild places and saving vulnerable wildlife from extinction.

  • 2007

    "The Eleventh Hour"

    Leonardo produces and narrates "The Eleventh Hour," a documentary on the state of the global environment featuring interviews and insights from over 50 scientists, environmental activists, and world leaders.

  • 2010

    First Large-Scale Conservation Grant

    LDF donates $1 million to expand an innovative tiger conservation project in Nepal in partnership with World Wildlife Fund.

  • 2013

    Thailand's Pledge

    Following an LDF sponsored petition signed by 1.5 million supporters, Prime Minister Yingluck Shingawatra pledges to end the ivory trade in Thailand.

  • 2013

    Sharks Listed Under CITES

    With LDF support, a coalition of seven organizations secures new protections for five species of endangered sharks under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

  • 2014

    $7 Million for Ocean Conservation

    At the "Our Oceans" conference hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, LDF pledges $7 million in funding for marine conservation initiatives.

  • 2014

    U.N. Climate Leaders Summit

    As U.N. Messenger of Peace for the Climate, Leonardo speaks before the 2014 Climate Leaders Summit. The speech garnered millions of views on the U.N. channel and was echoed in 45,000+ news articles across the globe, reaching over 1B people.

  • 2015

    $15 Million in Grants Awarded

    LDF announces $15 million in new grants to fund innovative organizations and cutting-edge environmental projects dedicated to preserving and protecting the future of the planet.

  • 2016

    Launch of the Planet Pledge Fund

    LDF announces a bold new fund that will invest up to $10 billion exclusively in clean development projects that directly mitigate climate change, with net earnings donated to protect and restore the Earth's most vital ecosystems.

  • 2016

    "Before the Flood"

    In partnership with National Geographic, Leonardo's film about climate change, "Before the Flood," was streamed on all digital platforms and NatGeo channels. The film had 60 million views in just 3 months, making it one of the most watched documentaries in history.

  • 2016

    $15 Million+ in New Commitments

    At the World Economic Forum, Leonardo announces more than $15 million in new LDF grants to fund an array of projects - technology to monitor illegal fishing, increased protection for rainforests in Indonesia and the Amazon, and support for local communities transitioning to 100% renewable energy.

  • 2017

    People's Climate March

    Indigenous leaders from the U.S. and South America invite Leonardo to join them on the streets of Washington, D.C. to march with over 200,000 people demanding action on climate change.

  • 2017

    Saving the Vaquita

    Leonardo meets with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and philanthropist Carlos Slim Helú to plan a new collaborative effort to save the critically endangered vaquita - of which there are less than 30 left - and protect its native home in the waters of the Gulf of California.

  • 2017

    $18 Million in New Grants Awarded

    LDF expands its grants program to respond to the environmental crisis across six areas – Climate Change, Wildlife & Landscapes, Marine Life & Oceans, Indigenous Rights, Media & Technology, and Local Solutions in California.