The National Audubon Society has announced a $5 million gift from board chair Maggie Walker in support of its national network of forty-one community-based centers.
The funds will enable the society to develop new programs, approaches, and activities at its centers in three focus areas: conservation, youth leadership development, and community engagement. Walker has earmarked $1 million of her commitment as a matching fund to help stimulate local fundraising efforts at individual centers, which connect a million visitors a year to many of America's most treasured ecosystems, from the Everglades to the Platte River to San Francisco Bay.
"Audubon centers have enormous potential to create opportunity for young people and develop a new, diverse generation of conservation leaders," said Walker. "We want to solve real environmental and social problems in communities and connect people to the joy that birds and nature bring. All of this work requires deep community involvement — that means doing with, not to — and a clear focus on cultivating talent and learning from new perspectives."
"Growing the next generation of leaders and reimagining what's possible in communities are the two big ideas at the heart of Maggie Walker's investment in Audubon's network," said Audubon president and CEO David Yarnold. "And everyone who's worked with her knows that when Maggie Walker decides to invest in your work, what you get is expansive vision and transformational change."
(Photo credit: Rona Schwarz)