Category Archives: ENVIRONMENT


Heifer International has received an $8.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for project work on the East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) project.  The grant will support existing projects in Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda and explore possibilities for expansion in Ethiopia and Tanzania between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013.

“We are excited for the opportunity to continue serving dairy farming families and grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their support,” said Elizabeth Bintliff, vice president of Heifer International’s Africa area program.

EADD began in 2008 as a four-year, $42.8 million project funded by the Gates Foundation to help about 179,000 smallholder dairy farmer families to double their household income, create, connect and expand dairy market infrastructure, and sustainably increase dairy productivity and efficiency.  Currently in its final year of the pilot phase, EADD has grown to be one of the leading market-oriented agro-livestock development initiatives in East Africa, earning the farming families more than $35 million.

The project, implemented by Heifer International, is in partnership with TechnoServe, The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), World Agroforestry Research Institute and Africa Breeders Services.


About Heifer International:
Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in 40 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant. For more information, visit or call  (800) 696-1918.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.


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Northwestern Mutual, through its Foundation, announced today a two-year commitment to the American Red Cross’ Disaster Responder Program, which funds immediate response and long-term recovery efforts following major disasters. The foundation’s contribution to the fund is $500,000 over the course of two years and can be immediately dispersed during disaster efforts.

In addition, as part of the agreement with the American Red Cross, Northwestern Mutual can activate a microsite to enable its 5,000 employees and 16,000 field force members to pledge personal donations to major disasters. A microsite is being launched to designate support to those affected by the wildfires in Colorado, including some Northwestern Mutual clients and financial representatives living in the Colorado Springs area.

“Northwestern Mutual is honored to partner with the American Red Cross, which has supported people through unexpected life circumstances for more than 100 years,” said John Kordsmeier, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation. “And, that’s what makes this a great partnership — for more than 155 years Northwestern Mutual has been protecting families from unexpected financial risks and getting them through times of recovery.”

“I am thrilled that Northwestern Mutual is partnering with the American Red Cross as a Disaster Responder member,” said Patty Flowers, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross of Eastern Wisconsin. “Their partnership ensures that we are there immediately following a disaster and using our resources most efficiently to help anyone in need.”


About the Northwestern Mutual Foundation The mission of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation – the largest corporate foundation in the state of Wisconsin – is to build strong, vibrant communities that serve as a legacy to future generations. The Foundation’s giving is designed to create an impact on the communities where the company’s employees and financial representatives live and work. In fiscal year 2012, the Foundation will contribute $16.7 million to nonprofit organizations across the country.

About Northwestern Mutual The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) – among the “World’s Most Admired” life insurance companies in 2012 according to FORTUNE® magazine – has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 155 years. As a mutual company with $1.2 trillion of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual has no shareholders. The company focuses solely and directly on its clients and seeks to deliver consistent and dependable value to them over time.  Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a holistic approach to financial security solutions including: life insurancelong-term care insurancedisability insuranceannuitiesinvestment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments.

About the American Red Cross The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

 For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.

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The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the second round of grant awards from its Fisheries Innovation Fund, a program launched in 2010 to support sustainable fisheries in the U.S. With the goal of sustaining fishermen while rebuilding fish stocks, the new grants will aid the design and implementation of projects that provide technical and practical support for working fishing communities across the country.

“In the first round of the Fisheries Innovation Fund, we invested in innovative ideas that will help communities maximize limited fisheries resources, minimize bycatch and explore new monitoring technologies,” explained Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “With our new grants, we will share approaches that have proven successful with a wider audience, and support local efforts to secure fishing opportunities for the future.”

“The Fisheries Innovation Fund promotes creative ideas and solutions for better fisheries management around the country,” said Sam Rauch, Acting Assistant Administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “Many of the projects originate directly from fishermen and address local challenges and opportunities at the community level. We look forward to working with the individuals and organizations who receive the 2012 grants as they develop and share their projects to support the sustainability of U.S. fisheries.”

The 18 grants for 2012 total $1.55 million, and will be matched by over $1.2 million from the grantees. NFWF’s Fisheries Innovation Fund is supported by NOAA, the Walton Family Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

The 2012 Fisheries Innovation Fund grants, listed by region, are:


Designing Fisheries Licensing for Community Resilience (ME)
Grantee: Penobscot East Resource Center, Inc.
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $31,977; Matching Funds: $48,072; Total Project: $80,069

In cooperation with Maine Sea Grant, this project will develop a viable licensing model for inter-generational and entry level access to diversified community fishing, and support sustainable small-scale fisheries.

Realizing Eco-Efficiency in the Seafood Industry (ME, NH, MA)
Grantee: Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $50,000; Matching Funds: $29,732; Total Project: $79,732

In cooperation with New England Trawlers, Inc. and North Atlantic Seafood, Inc., the project will improve the efficiency associated with bringing groundfish to market in the Northeast region through innovation in the seafood supply chain.

MCFA Gulf of Maine Cod Risk Pool (ME)
Grantee: Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $110,000; Matching Funds: $75,000; Total Project: $185,000

Fishermen will face a significant cut to their Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod allocation for 2012. This project will develop a GOM Cod Risk Pool that will help fishermen stay within bycatch limits while accessing healthy stocks.

Best practices in Fisheries Trust Management (MA)
Grantee: Community Development Partnership
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $124,978.14; Matching Funds: $200,000; Total Project: $324,978.14

The project will develop a scalable model to transfer best practices and lessons learned in fishery trust management to national audiences, and to communities seeking to sustain local fishing businesses and economic growth.

New England Fishing Quota Investment Fund(s) (ME, RI, MA)
Grantee: CLF Ventures, Inc.
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $80,000; Matching Funds: $77,500; Total Project: $157,500

This project will investigate innovative financing approaches focused on a Triple-Bottom-Line (economic, ecological, and social) performance standard for fisheries. It will address the needs of investors and facilitate accelerated acquisition of permits by community fishermen across the New England region.

Electronic Logbooks in a New England Groundfish Sector (ME)
Grantee: Sustainable Harvest Sector
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $20,000; Matching Funds: $5,000; Total Project: $25,000

The project will design and install software on vessels to report catch information electronically to the National Marine Fisheries Service and sector managers. Data will be integrated with shoreside catch monitoring systems and transferrable to other fisheries.

Simplifying New England Groundfish Sector reporting (MA)
Grantee: Northeast Sector Service Network Inc.
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $110,000; Matching Funds: $20,000; Total Project: $130,000

This project will test and refine the Fishtrax Onboard module, a multifaceted reporting tool designed to simplify and satisfy the data requirements of New England Groundfish Sectors.


Bycatch Avoidance Network for River Herring/Butterfish (NY)
Grantee: Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Suffolk County
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $100,000; Matching Funds: $50,000; Total Project: $150,000

The project will initiate a fleet communication system to report and share real-time observations of river herring/shad and butterfish bycatch hotspots to reduce fleet-wide bycatch.

Gulf of Mexico:

Fishery Science & Management Education for Gulf Fishermen
Grantee: Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $125,000; Matching Funds: $50,000; Total Project: $175,000

The project will develop and implement a Fishery Science & Management Education Program for commercial and recreational fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico. Modeled after the highly successful New England Marine Resource Education Program, it will involve the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, Gulf Fishermen’s Association, and individual Gulf of Mexico fishermen who graduated from the New England MREP to improve the capacity of Gulf fishermen to engage in sustainable management.

Creating a Bycatch/Species Sharing Model for Louisiana Fishers (LA)
Grantee: Southern Mutual Help Association, Inc.
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $75,000; Matching Funds: $30,000; Total Project: $105,000

The project will conduct research, create peer-learning and technical assistance opportunities, and design model bycatch and species-sharing policy and processes among Louisiana’s traditional family fishers.


Develop Video Monitoring for Full Retention Fisheries (WA, OR)
Grantee: Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $100,000; Matching Funds: $30,000; Total Project: $130,000

This project will develop a video-based catch monitoring system and computer-aided video review software. By reducing the number of human observers and reviewers involved in the monitoring of full-retention fisheries, it will lower the cost of observer programs.

Development and Evaluation of Image Recognition Software (CA)
Grantee: Fishermen’s Marketing Association, Inc.
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $96,178; Matching Funds: $50,000; Total Project: $146,178

This project will develop and evaluate image recognition software that can be used to screen video images collected onboard commercial fishing boats. It will track discard activities and identify the species of fish being discarded.

Shorebased Whiting Overfished Species Risk Pool Cooperative (WA, OR, CA)
Grantee: Shorebased Whiting Cooperative
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $75,000; Matching Funds: $105,000; Total Project: $180,000

The project will provide a Pacific whiting cooperative with the technical support infrastructure to manage rockfish bycatch, using real time, historic observer and electronic data to assist with hotspot avoidance.

Fishing Community Sustainability Planning and Development (CA)
Grantee: City of Morro Bay
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $135,000; Matching Funds: $125,000; Total Project: $260,000

This project will develop a strategic plan for Morro Bay and Monterey fisheries aimed at building economic, social and environmental sustainability, and community fishing association capacity.


Securing Community Opportunity in Kodiak’s Jig Fishery (AK)
Grantee: Alaska Marine Conservation Council
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $90,000; Matching Funds: $126,460; Total Project: $216,460

Through governance support, quality enhancement and market innovations, this project will assist the fishing community of Kodiak in securing entry-level opportunity in the jig fishery.

Electronic Monitoring for Small Boats in Alaska—Next Steps
Grantee: North Pacific Fisheries Association Inc.
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $65,568; Matching Funds: $50,000; Total Project: $115,568

This project will field-test new electronic monitoring hardware and software in the small boat halibut fishery in Alaska. Software will include event-flagging and species identification to facilitate data review.

Great Lakes:

Stakeholder-centered Management of Lake Erie Yellow Perch (MI)
Grantee: Michigan State University
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $73,432; Matching Funds: $24,584; Total Project: $98,016

A stakeholder-centered working group will use Management Strategy Evaluation techniques to develop harvest policies for Lake Erie yellow perch fisheries. Stakeholders will work with managers and scientists in using models to determine the policies that work best for both the fishing community and the resource.


Community Fisheries Network Capacity Building and Expansion
Grantee: Island Institute
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $84,000; Matching Funds: $110,000; Total Project: $194,000

This project will expand the Community Fisheries Network by building organizational and business capacity in additional ports and regions, disseminating innovations that will improve the long-term sustainability of fishing communities and fisheries businesses.

To learn more about the Fisheries Innovation Fund, visit and

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.

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The Walton Family Foundation in Bentonville, Arkansas, has announced that during 2011 it awarded grants totaling more than $71.4 million to environmental organizations in the U.S. and around the world working to protect natural resources and strengthen local economies that depend on them.

The majority of the grants were awarded through the foundation’s core environmental initiatives, Marine Conservation ($30.5 million) and Freshwater Conservation ($26.8 million). Among other things, the foundation supported efforts to bring conservation, business, and community interests together to find long-term solutions to big environmental problems. For example, the foundation helped facilitate the formation of a coalition of environmental advocates, small business owners, and local governments which is working to ensure that fines paid as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be directed to restoration projects along the Gulf Coast.

Foundation grant recipients in 2011 included Conservation International, which was awarded nearly $5 million to implement a three-year program designed to empower local communities to manage and conserve fishing resources on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast; the Marine Stewardship Council, which received $3.1 million to work with seafood buyers and retailers to create a market for sustainably caught seafood; the National Audubon Society, which was awarded $2.7 million to develop nature-based tourism opportunities in the Mississippi River Basin; and the Nature Conservancy, which received almost $1.9 million to develop innovative methods to protect and restore the Colorado River that benefit both people and nature.

“The foundation and our grantees embrace ‘conservationomics’ — the idea that conservation efforts can and should bring economic prosperity to local communities,” said Scott Burns, director of the Walton Family Foundation’s environment focus area. “Our commitment to conservationomics means that we support restoration projects that create jobs and boost local economies. We are proud that our grantees are working to ensure that our rivers flow as strongly as the electricity they generate for nearby towns and that fishermen’s families and fishing communities are thriving alongside recovering fish populations.”

For a complete list of the foundation’s 2011 environmental grantees, visit the Walton Family Foundation Web site.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.

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When fifth-grader Kaylee Echard found out that her school playground will have an outdoor classroom, her mouth dropped open and her eyes sparkled.

“That would be awesome,” the 10-year-old said. “It would be like a field trip every day.”

That “field trip” is just one aspect of the new and improved play area envisioned by students and staff at B.F. Kitchen Elementary School, which has a health and wellness focus.

The play area will become reality, in part, through a $250,000 Colorado Health Foundation Active Play Areas grant awarded to the school two weeks ago. It will feature a track, an outdoor classroom, a community garden, and soccer and baseball fields.

The playground equipment, most of it original to when the school was built in 1969, will be replaced with new equipment, but the specifics have not yet been identified.

“This is our big vision, but we can’t do it all at once,” said Kandi Smith, school principal.

The vision started in May 2011, when the school received a $6,300 planning grant from the Colorado Health Foundation in Denver to map out what students and staff want for their recess and break time.

B.F. Kitchen partnered with Learning Landscapes, a program in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver, to turn that map into a master plan.

Over summer and fall 2011, Learning Landscapes developed three different scenarios using input from the students, parents and staff. The students drew pictures and made lists of what they wanted to see in the play area.

“The cool thing about it is we involved the kids. They were able to draw their dream playground,” said Kathy Schlepp, wellness coordinator for Thompson School District.

The play area, which sits on 7.4 acres, currently has three soccer fields, a basketball court, asphalt games area and playground equipment. The improvements to that area will take several years, requiring the highest priority projects to be identified first, Smith said.

“I believe it’s just an extension of our learning,” said Kristin Quere, physical education teacher and the health and wellness coordinator at the school. “We make movement a priority at our school. It’s important for us to have room to move.”

The community garden, planned at 3,800 square feet, will be tied to the school’s plant unit in science, and will also draw interest from the community during the summer months and the growing season, Smith said.

The outdoor classroom will extend learning outdoors, allowing students to tie their learning to nature, she said.

And the track will be available to both students and the community, she added.

“It’s going to be so fun,” said fifth-grader Jared Abeyta. “We can play more stuff. We can run. We can play more games.”

A large portion of the grant, which has to be spent by August 2013, will be used to address drainage issues in the play area.

The district will need to hire an architect to firm up the designs for the play area and to provide estimated costs for drainage improvements and the other aspects of the project. The school is working with the district’s facilities department and the materials and procurement department to issue the requests for proposals.

“We wanted this to be a draw for our community and a sense of pride,” Smith said.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.

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A 1-mile stretch of demolished railroad tracks in Beaufort has caught the attention of the head of media conglomerate Cox Enterprises.

Jim Kennedy’s family has owned the Clarendon Plantation in Grays Hill for 50 years. When he heard about the proposed Spanish Moss Rail-Trail walking and bike path from Port Royal to the Whale Branch River, he wanted to give the plan an initial push and set it up for long-term success.

“These trails are wonderful, and with the kind of weather we have in the Beaufort area and the number of cyclists we have here, it would just get such use,” Kennedy said.

His interest has led to the offer of up to about $1.2 million in grants and the help of an experienced staff of path builders to kickstart the long-discussed project.

Kennedy and his wife, Sarah, are from Atlanta, where they are on the board of the PATH Foundation, which has helped build more than 200 miles of paths in Georgia. The James M. Cox Foundation has donated millions of dollars to PATH over the years.

The Kennedys approached PATH’s executive director, Ed McBrayer, about the Spanish Moss Rail-Trail, and he visited Beaufort last week. Through an intergovernmental agreement, the organization will provide planning and design services for the first mile, between Allison and Depot roads in Beaufort.

But that’s only part of the help headed Beaufort’s way.

“They ultimately gave us a grant to try and help the Friends of the Spanish Moss Rail-Trail down there and see if we can’t get at least a mile of it on the ground so everybody can see what it looks like and hopefully generate a lot of interest,” McBrayer said.

A $567,000 grant will pay for design and construction of the first mile, which McBrayer hopes will be under way by fall. A second grant of up to $600,000 will be available to match money raised by the Friends of the Spanish Moss Rail-Trail.

“I thought perhaps if we made some challenge grants … we can get it going and get the kind of critical mass needed,” Jim Kennedy said.

The city of Beaufort and the county have obtained grants totaling $1.2 million that can now be used for subsequent legs of the proposed 14-mile path. Initial designs by the county were for a 12-foot-wide paved path connecting neighborhoods and attractions.

McBrayer’s hope is that PATH’s experience will not only quicken the pace of the project, but set up everyone involved with the knowledge to succeed. To that end, the foundation is using as many local companies as possible, he said.

“We’re trying to mentor the Friends group down there so they don’t have to make any of the mistakes we’ve made and they get this off to a good start,” he said.

As for that first mile, Jim Kennedy said he can’t wait to get his bike wheels on the pavement. But his enthusiasm does not stop there.

“It’d be unbelievable if we had a trail that went all the way from Beaufort to U.S. 17, all the way to Charleston,” he said.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.

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Business leaders and Sen. Dianne Feinstein launched a $1 billion, 10-year fundraising goal on Thursday that is aimed at preventing some of Silicon Valley’s leading technology companies from going underwater — literally.

The money, the biggest share of which is expected to come from the federal government, is being sought to build a new earthquake- and storm-proof levee system along the southern part of San Francisco Bay, where the corporate campuses of Facebook, Google and other high-tech ventures abut land that was drained a century ago for commercial salt-making.

Planners predict those sites and thousands of South Bay homes are at risk of catastrophic flooding over the next half-century due to a climate change-fueled sea level rise. Currently, the bay’s tidal waters are contained by low-lying levees constructed more than 100 years ago to create salt ponds, and they would be inadequate to the task of protecting prime real estate even if they were not deteriorating, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation President Steve McCormick said.

“There are dozens of corporate campuses in that flood zone,” said McCormick, who is leading a committee of corporate and foundation heads, elected officials and environmental representatives who plan to promote and lobby for the project. “There is billions of dollars’ worth of land that would be, for all intents and purposes, rendered unusable.”

Most of the $1 billion in anticipated costs would go toward building new levees, but the preliminary budget also covers restoring about 36,000 acres of wetlands that were drawn off and filled in over the last 150 years, Save the Bay Executive Director Davis Lewis said. Returning the bay’s shores to a wetland state would not only be a boon for wildlife, but provide a natural safeguard against future flooding, Lewis said.

“The need for wetland restoration is already on the radar screen and is under way in parts, but to get it all done is going to require a lot more money,” he said. “The significance of what’s happening today is these powerful constituents in business, the foundation world and government are saying one of the next big priorities is raising the money to make this happen.”

At this stage, the coalition expects half of the money for the project to come from the federal government, a quarter from the state and the remaining quarter from local sources such as a property parcel tax, McCormick said. Corporations and foundations are being encouraged to foot the bill for preliminary planning, public education and lobbying, he said.

Feinstein, California’s senior U.S. senator, endorsed the effort while she was in San Jose on Thursday to break ground on a public transportation project. The work would comprise the largest wetlands restoration plan in the nation outside the Florida Everglades, she said.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.

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