Prior to his death in 1984, Frank Weeden, the Foundation's founder and chief benefactor, asked that the resources of the Weeden Foundation be used to address the adverse impact of growing human populations and overuse of natural resources on the biological fabric of the planet. From its inception in 1963, the foundation embraced the protection of biodiversity as its main priority. Population growth, particularly in the United States, and overconsumption have also evolved into major program interests in order to more fully address the factors driving biological impoverishment. Organizations supported to date range from those that protect ecosystems and wildlife to those that raise the status of women and increase awareness about family planning. The Foundation financed the first debt-for-nature swap protecting the Beni Biosphere Reserve in Bolivia and is particularly interested in new and innovative efforts that help to develop sustainable models for conservation action.