The Highlands Biological Foundation, Inc., is a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that represents the continuation of the original private corporation that founded the Highlands Biological Station and supported it for its first 50 years of operation (1927-1977). Its mission is to raise funds, invest these, and use the income to support the research and educational programs of the Station. Traditionally, this has been done in the form of an annual grant to HBS, representing roughly 10% of the annual budget for the Station and being spent primarily for scholarships and grants-in-aid of research. Some of the endowment funds of the Foundation are restricted in their use, such as the six named scholarship funds (Olive, Sargent, Bruce, Howell, Ash, and Coker). The Foundation also has separate funds to help support the outreach mission through the Highlands Nature Center and the Highlands Botanical Garden.
The Highlands Biological Foundation is controlled by a Board of Trustees with 30 members, elected in four cohorts of eight to four-year terms. The annual meeting is held the last weekend in June. Between meetings, decisions are made by an Executive Committee that consists of the officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) and two at-large members elected by the trustees. In addition, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors and the Executive Director of the Station serve in an ex officio capacity. Thus, although there is some overlap between the Station’s and Foundation’s Boards, which facilitates communication and coordination of activities, HBS and HBF are effectively independent.