Walton Family Foundation Invests $36.3 Million In Marine Conservation Initiatives In 2010

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The Walton Family Foundation announced investments totaling more than $71.8 million in environmental initiatives in 2010. A majority of grants were made to organizations and programs that pursue lasting conservation outcomes in ocean and river systems to the benefit of both people and wildlife by aligning economic and conservation interests.

"We focus our work in the United States' primary river systems and in some of the world's most ecologically significant marine areas," said Scott Burns, director of the foundation's Environment Focus Area. "It's important to us to protect and conserve natural resources while also recognizing the roles these waters play in the livelihoods of those who live nearby."

The foundation's conservation program supports two key initiatives, described below:

Freshwater Conservation – $22,877,967
Through its Freshwater Conservation Initiative, the foundation works with grantees and other partners to ensure healthy and resilient communities of both wildlife and people in targeted river systems – the Colorado River Basin and the Mississippi River Basin. The foundation's strategies in these river basins are organized around four core components, which are key to a healthy river system:

•River flows that are appropriate in both quantity and timing for wildlife, while providing sufficient water for sustainable human uses;
•Water quality that is healthy enough for both human and wildlife uses;
•Riverside habitat that enables resilient wildlife communities and recreational access for people; and
•Built infrastructure (such as dams, levees, riverside buildings, etc.) that is designed to utilize the river in a manner that minimizes impacts to rivers and wildlife.

2010 Freshwater Conservation grantees include: National Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, Tamarisk Coalition, Pronatura Noroeste and Western Resource Advocates.

Marine Conservation – $36,341,561
Through its Marine Conservation Initiative, the foundation focuses on globally important marine areas and works with grantees and other partners to create networks of effectively managed protected areas that conserve key biological features, and ensure the sustainable utilization of marine resources – especially fisheries – in a way that benefits both nature and people. Target marine areas include:

•Bird's Head Seascape (Indonesia)
•Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape (Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama)
•Gulf of California
•Gulf of Mexico

Within the Marine Conservation initiative the foundation also works to create economic incentives for ocean conservation. The foundation supports projects that reverse the incentives to fish unsustainably that exist in "open access fisheries" by creating catch share programs. In addition, the foundation's grantees work with major seafood buyers to encourage improvements in fisheries sustainability through partnerships with fishermen and by encouraging fisheries to apply for certification by the Marine Stewardship Council.

2010 Marine Conservation grantees include: Conservation International Foundation, Ocean Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund, Marine Stewardship Council and World Wildlife Fund.

In addition to freshwater and marine conservation grant making, the foundation also invested approximately $13 million in 2010 in organizations and programs for other environment-related efforts.

Environment Focus Area Grant-making Profile

2010 Environment Grants $71,823,528

By Initiative

• Freshwater Conservation  $22,877,967
• Marine Conservation $36,341,561

Other Environment-Related Grants $12,604,000

Top Five Grantees

• Conservation International $18,640,917
• Nature Conservancy $9,305,449
• Environmental Defense Fund $7,086,054
• Marine Stewardship Council $4,500,000
• Ocean Conservancy $3,757,768

2009 Environment Grants $55,598,778

By Initiative

• Freshwater Conservation $7,951,673
• Marine Conservation $36,192,593

Other Environment-Related Grants $11,454,512

For a full list of 2010 Environment Grantees visit http://waltonfamilyfoundation.org/environment/2010-environment-investments

About the Walton Family Foundation and Environmental Initiatives
The Walton Family Foundation's environmental giving focuses on achieving lasting conservation in some of the world's most important ocean and river systems. Desired outcomes are intended to benefit both people and wildlife by aligning economic and conservation interests. Accordingly, the foundation invests in projects that create new economic incentives for sustainability and biodiversity protection. The foundation divides environmental giving into two initiatives:

•Freshwater Conservation in two of the United States' primary river systems; and
•Marine Conservation, which supports conservation in some of the world's most ecologically rich areas, as well as initiatives that create economic incentives for conservation.

Both initiatives pursue conservation in a manner that protects and conserves natural resources while also recognizing the role these waters play in the livelihoods of those who live nearby.

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 2009, the foundation invested more than $378 million 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.

Source: Walton Family Foundation