PITTSBURGH, March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Colcom Foundation's Board of Directors has awarded $900,000 in the first round of grants under a $1 million (now increased to $1.3 million) Marcellus Environmental Fund announced in December 2010. This fund was established to address the accelerating environmental impact of shale drilling in western Pennsylvania. Grants are directed toward public education, community engagement, best practices, baseline data collection, water quality monitoring, land owner guidance, and collaborative projects.
Grantees include: Group Against Smog & Pollution, Clean Water Fund, The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Conemaugh Valley Conservancy, Elk County Conservation District, Evergreen Conservancy, Greene County Watershed Alliance, McKean County Conservation District, Mountain Watershed Association, and Washington County Watershed Alliance.
According to Program Director, Carol Zagrocki, "The grant requests communicate a widespread hope to avoid the legacy costs of energy extraction. The Foundation received 80 grant applications representing requests in excess of $7 million. Additionally, countless volunteer hours provided the backbone of many requests. This speaks to the commitment and concern of caring community members."
The grant requests demonstrated a particular need for water quality monitoring. Conservation groups and volunteers have been organizing around the region to track toxins in the waterways. In response to the aspirations of local nonprofit organizations and residents, the Foundation's Board of Directors earmarked an additional $300,000 for monitoring in this first round of grants.
John F. Rohe, Colcom's Vice-President of Philanthropy, noted a long-term vision in the requests: "Western Pennsylvania's sensitivity to Marcellus drilling has been communicated by the grant applications. Our region perceives a relationship between the benefit of turning on a light bulb and the corresponding risk of turning toxins loose in the environment. If the community and the Commonwealth cannot expect highest standards for shale drilling, then the room illuminated by energy today could dim the prospects for health tomorrow."
Another round of grants will be addressed by the Foundation's Board of Directors in May. The submission deadline is March 14, 2011. Application guidelines are found on the Foundation's website: www.colcomfdn.org
About Colcom Foundation
Colcom Foundation was created by the late Cordelia S. May. In southwestern Pennsylvania, the Foundation funds environmental projects addressing land conservation, watershed remediation, habitat protection, and air quality. In Pittsburgh, the Foundation supports programs enhancing the quality of life and community livability. Nationally, the Foundation addresses population issues.
SOURCE Colcom Foundation