Foundation embraces "conservationomics": conservation solutions that make economic sense
BENTONVILLE, Ark., April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the Walton Family Foundation announced investments totaling more than $71.4 million in environmental initiatives in 2011. The foundation made grants to more than 160 organizations in the U.S. and other countries that work to protect natural resources while strengthening the local economies that depend on them. The foundation directed an overwhelming majority of the grants toward its two core environmental initiatives – Freshwater Conservation and Marine Conservation.
"Our work is rooted in our belief that the conservation solutions that last are the ones that make economic sense," said Scott Burns, director of the foundation's Environment Focus Area. "The foundation and our grantees embrace 'conservationomics' – the idea that conservation efforts can and should bring economic prosperity to local communities."
The Walton Family Foundation worked over the past year to bring conservation, business and community interests together to find long-term solutions to big problems. The foundation's work to repair the damage done to the Gulf Coast by the 2010 oil spill led to the formation of a coalition of environmental advocates, small business owners and local governments dedicated to the economic and environmental restoration of the region. This coalition worked tirelessly to ensure that fines paid for the spill will be directed to restoration projects along the Gulf Coast.
In 2011, the foundation made strategic investments to further its Freshwater Conservation and Marine Conservation initiatives.
Freshwater Conservation - $26.8 Million
- The National Audubon Society helped develop nature-based tourism opportunities throughout the Mississippi River Basin that will bring jobs and economic growth to the region.
- The Nature Conservancy developed innovative ways of protecting and restoring the Colorado River that benefit both people and nature.
Marine Conservation - $30.5 Million
- Conservation International continued to implement a three-year program to empower local communities to manage and conserve fishing resources on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast.
- The Marine Stewardship Council worked with seafood buyers and retailers to create a market for sustainably-caught seafood, preserving the livelihoods of fishermen while protecting depleted fish populations.
The foundation's 2011 portfolio included conservation projects across the globe, from the Mississippi River Basin to the islands of Indonesia and from Colorado to Costa Rica. In each region, the foundation supports programs that work toward healthy environments, healthy communities and healthy economies.
"Our commitment to conservationomics means that we support restoration projects that create jobs and boost local economies," said Burns, a former commercial fisherman. "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."
About the Walton Family Foundation and the Environment
The Walton Family Foundation promotes environmental solutions that make economic sense for communities and their natural resources. The foundation works to achieve change that lasts by creating new and unexpected partnerships and bringing conservation, business and community interests to the same table to build long-term solutions to big problems.
A majority of the foundation's environment grants are made to organizations and programs that pursue lasting conservation solutions for oceans and rivers while also recognizing the role these waters play in the livelihoods of those who live and work nearby. The foundation divides its environmental giving into two initiatives:
- Freshwater Conservation, which works to sustain healthy and resilient communities of both people and wildlife in the Colorado River basin and along the Mississippi River from its headwaters to the delta; and
- Marine Conservation, which supports initiatives that create economic incentives for sustainable resource management in some of the world's most ecologically rich ocean areas, from Indonesia to Ecuador to the Gulf of Mexico.
About the Walton Family Foundation
When Sam and Helen Walton launched their modest retail business in 1962, one of their goals was to increase opportunity and improve the lives of others along the way. This guiding principle has played a pivotal role in the phenomenal growth of their small enterprise into a global retail leader. This principle also drives the philanthropic mission of the Walton Family Foundation. Today the foundation is more focused than ever on sustaining the Walton's timeless small-town values and deep commitment to making life better for individuals and communities alike. By working with grantees and collaborating with other philanthropic organizations, the foundation is dedicated to making a positive difference in three focus areas:
- Systemic K-12 education reform
- Freshwater and marine conservation
- Quality of life initiatives in our home region
During 2010, the foundation invested more than $1.49 billion in domestic and international projects that addressed significant social and environmental issues, and sought to create exciting new opportunities. The foundation continues to implement and expand grant making to fund a positive difference in many diverse communities – and in the lives of the people who call them home. For more information, visit www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org.
Environment Grant-making Profile
2011 Environment Grants $71,406,878
- Freshwater Conservation $26,842,289
- Marine Conservation $30,541,682
Other Environment Grants $14,022,907
Top Five Grantees
- Conservation International $16,208,278
- Environmental Defense Fund $13,683,709
- Marine Stewardship Council $3,122,500
- Nature Conservancy $3,024,539
- National Audubon Society $2,739,859
2010 Environment Grants $71,823,528
- Freshwater Conservation $22,877,967
- Marine Conservation $36,341,561
Other Environment Grants $12,604,000
SOURCE Walton Family Foundation