MAVA was born of the passion, vision and adventure of one man, our founder, Luc Hoffmann. Our name is drawn from the initials of his four children – Maja, André, Vera, and Daria. And today, André is our President.

Created in 1994 to support the conservation of iconic places like the Camargue and Doñana, we have since grown into a professional foundation, becoming a key funder of global conservation.

A holistic approach

Under André Hoffmann’s leadership, our approach has broadened, embracing sustainable economy, green finance and responsible resource use as well as pure conservation. Together, we have the privilege of supporting and working closely with many exceptional partners as we strive to deliver our mission.

Click here to get a visual overview of MAVA’s support over the years.

Prespa (c) ORCA Production

Our conservation journey


Iconic sites

Between 1947 and 1993, inspired by his passion for birds and wetlands, Luc dedicated much of his time and energy to the conservation of five iconic sites: the Camargue in France, the Bijagos archipelago in Guinea-Bissau, Doñana in Spain, the Prespa Lakes in Greece, Northern Macedonia and Albania and the Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania.

These unique places are our heritage, and their protection continues to inspire our conservation work today.

Sometimes neglected by mainstream conservation, they all have exceptional natural value. Click here to learn more about these exceptional sites and some of the extraordinary people working in them.



In 1994, Luc Hoffmann founded MAVA to ‘promote the protection of nature’ and consolidate his lifelong personal support for conservation.

Our beginnings were informal. We relied on Luc’s personal vision, commitment and wisdom, as well as the Foundation Board.

Together, they ran the foundation until, in 2005, the recruitment of an administrative and technical officer marked the birth of our secretariat.



In 2008, we began to develop our first strategic plan and professionalise the foundation by strengthening the secretariat and governance.

In 2010, André Hoffmann took over from his father as our President, and Lynda Mansson became our Director General, further focusing our work for:

  • conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem functions
  • management and sustainable use of natural resources
  • a strong and effective conservation community.

At the same time, our Mediterranean Basin, Coastal West Africa, Alpine Arc & Switzerland Programmes were formalised, joined in 2012 by our Sustainable Economy Programme.

And in another step toward consolidation, our West African partner Fondation Internationale du Banc d’Arguin (FIBA) merged with us in 2015.



In 2016, we launched a new strategy for the final phase of our grant-making, which will end in 2022, and began investing in Impact & Sustainability.

“For over 20 years, MAVA’s mission has been the conservation of biodiversity. Now more than ever before, our work must serve both people and nature.” – André Hoffmann, MAVA President

As we look forward, we are focused on delivering our vision, securing our partners’ past achievements, and ensuring their vital work continues.

Watch Lynda Mansson’s interview on the foundation’s closing in 2022

Help us ensure our partners continue to deliver effective and lasting conservation when our grant-making ends in 2022. We are seeking investment and support from fellow donors and foundations. To find out more about co-financing opportunities, please contact us.