The William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia has announced grants totaling $17 million to thirty-five local and regional nonprofit organizations working to accelerate the protection and restoration of the Delaware River watershed, the primary source of drinking water for more than fifteen million people.
The grants will support conservation and constituency building at the state and local levels, as well as efforts to promote enforcement of existing environmental regulations. Recipients include Berks Nature, the Schuylkill River Greenway Association, and the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in support of implementing outdoor recreational and educational activities on rivers and trails, and developing key segments of circuit trails that parallel rivers, streams, and canals; Philadelphia City Rowing and On the Water Consortium of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia, which will work to increase public access to water and youth-focused environmental education programming along the rivers between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey; and the Cooper's Ferry Partnership, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, the New Jersey Tree Foundation, and the Camden City Garden Club, which will boost support for clean water in Camden by developing new circuit trails and public parks near the Delaware and Cooper Rivers, outreach and education about clean water, and water quality-focused programs for youth and families.
In addition, the National Wildlife Federation was awarded two grants for continued support of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, which provides collaboration, advocacy, and shared learning to its one-hundred member organizations; and to mobilize people who engage in water- and trail-related outdoor recreational and educational activities in the region to encourage the governors of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York to develop a shared vision for watershed protection. The William Penn Foundation also awarded grants to the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices to establish a water policy institute that will provide research and analysis to governors and their staffs, and a grant to River Network to promote coordination, alignment, and collaboration among state agencies, research institutions, and NGOs across the four watershed states.
"The foundation's Watershed Protection Program is a strategic, science-informed approach to conservation, based on the power of the collective impact of organizations working locally to protect or restore priority waterways, from the Catskills and the Poconos to the Delaware Bayshore," said Andrew Johnson, program director for Watershed Protection at the Penn Foundation. "We deliberately focus our grantmaking on specific threats to clean water in specific places within the larger system to achieve a critical mass of effort on research, advocacy, on-the-ground conservation, and building a constituency for clean water. We award more than $30 million each year toward watershed protection to continue the forward momentum on addressing environmental issues, even as federal support hangs in the balance."
For a complete list of grants, see the William Penn Foundation website.