The Foundation embraces the protection of biodiversity as its overarching priority.

Frank Weeden, the Foundation’s founder and original benefactor, established the Weeden Foundation to address the impact of growing human populations and overuse of natural resources on the biological fabric of the planet. Since his death in 1984, the Foundation has helped preserve more than 6 million acres of biologically important habitat worldwide and provided financing for the first debt-for-nature swap in Bolivia in 1992, a strategy that is now widely used by international conservation organizations. Program efforts have supported projects in environmentally sensitive regions of the western United States, Alaska, Russia, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, Belize, Namibia, Mexico, and various Caribbean nations.

In 2015, the Foundation co-founded the Quick Response Fund for Nature, which is a rapid response mechanism to enable local organizations to purchase and protect the world’s most important sites for conservation.

In 2019, long-time trustee John (Jack) D. Weeden and his partner David Davies bequeathed the majority of their estate to the Foundation.