(Image courtesy of the William Penn Foundation)
The William Penn Foundation announced today that it’s offering $35 million in grants to protect the Delaware River Watershed.
The funding will go towards over 40 national and regional environmental organizations that are joining together to protect and restore critical sources of drinking water for 15 million people in New York, Philadelphia, Camden and Wilmington. These organizations include the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Open Space Institute and other national and regional partners.
The Foundation is supporting four major areas of investment:
- Local operations and cross cutting innovation: Support 46 of the region’s conservation organizations and research institutions through grants totaling $15 million over three years.
- Restoration activities: A $7 million grant to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to set up a restoration focused re-grant fund.
- Protection activities: $10 million in grants to the Open Space Institute to set up a protection
focused re-grant fund.
- Scientific monitoring: $3 million grant to the Academy of Natural Science of Drexel University supporting rigorous scientific modeling and monitoring.
The Foundation also worked with the Academy of Natural Science to determine how and where to allocate funds for maximum impact and to lay the groundwork for future investment.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for our nationally renowned water quality scientists to work hand-in-hand with leading conservationists who know these geographies inside and out,” said George W. Gephart Jr., president and CEO of the Academy of Natural Sciences, in a press release.
The grants will be used to protect more than 30,000 acres of the watershed and focus on eight sub-watershed clusters. The Delaware River Watershed covers more than 13,500 square miles and, in addition to supplying drinking water, supports water-related economic enterprises valued at $25 billion.
The William Penn Foundation switched gears in November 2012 to primarily fund closing the achievement gap for low-income children; ensure clean drinking water by protecting the Delaware and Susquehanna watersheds; and make Philadelphia an even more creative community. In addition to this grant, the William Penn Foundation has provided $52 million dollars through 121 grants in watershed-related projects since 2011, according to the William Penn website.
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