The Russell Family Foundation announces $770,000 in grants for Puget Sound restoration and improved education access

Grants further community work dedicated to salmon and orca preservation, shoreline restoration and reducing barriers to academic achievement in region

The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF) announced 16 grants totaling $770,000 between its Puget Sound Fund that prioritizes protection and restoration and Jane’s Fund, which focuses on education, ending youth homelessness and developing grassroots leaders in Pierce County.

Grants range in size and scope from supporting PureBlue’s efforts to expand peer-to-peer networks and trainings with technologies used to address green infrastructure in Puget Sound to funding Resource Media’s communications studio that houses storytelling and campaigns elevating voices in support of sustainable communities in Puget Sound and to supporting College Success Foundation’s programming to help Tacoma students select the college that best fits their educational needs and goals.

“People, education and natural resources are forever intertwined. Intentional planning and strategizing on the parts of individuals, nonprofits, local communities and governments ensures we can do the necessary work to keep our region healthy,” said Richard Woo, Chief Executive Officer at TRFF. “At the same time, setting young people up for success throughout their educational careers ensures that our best and brightest are supported in their academic endeavors and can help contribute to a just and sustainable world.”

Details for Puget Sound grants totaling $595,000 are as follows:

American Rivers – $40,000, Protecting and Restoring Puget Sound Rivers and Floodplains

American Rivers will work on federal river and floodplain policy and management for the benefit of Puget Sound. With a focus on the endangered Green-Duwamish and Puyallup-White-Carbon watersheds, this project’s work concentrates on floodplain management and restoration, safe fish passage and reduction of polluted water into Puget Sound.

Bullitt Foundation – $30,000, Emerald Alliance: Building Diversity, Equity and Inclusion into Environmental Organizations Across Puget Sound

Funding for the Bullitt Foundation’s Emerald Alliance will help maintain a platform for regional and federal government representatives, nonprofits, corporations, environmental consultants and academics to collaborate across sectors and inform the Regional Open Space Conservation Plan, intended to protect the rich natural heritage of Puget Sound. The Alliance will also utilize funds to guide environmental organizations through the process of incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion into their work and ultimately grow an interconnected and equitable movement dedicated to Puget Sound recovery.

Forterra NW – $40,000, Little Skookum Inlet

Funding for this project will aid Forterra NW’s efforts to purchase a conservation easement for 816 acres along the southern shore of Little Skookum Inlet, including two miles of shoreline and three salmon-bearing creeks. A critical habitat for threatened Chinook and steelhead salmon, orca, river otters, shorebirds, crustaceans and forage fish, as well as a keystone for water quality, outdoor recreation, forest products and rural jobs in Puget Sound, Little Skookum Inlet in Mason County is at imminent risk of being lost forever to development.

Our region is only as healthy as every individual species and habitat thrives. Photo by Morf Morford
Our region is only as healthy as every individual species and habitat thrives. Photo by Morf Morford

Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Association – $40,000, General Operating Support: Community-Guided Investment in Vibrant Northwest Straits Shorelines and Coastal Waters

Through this funding, Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Association will strengthen their capacity to protect the health of the Northwest Straits’ marine resources by promoting and implementing science-based restoration and stewardship, enhancing collaboration, and attracting resources for the work of the Northwest Straits Initiative. A network of community partners, nonprofits, tribes and other stakeholders engaging meaningfully in hands-on conservation and restoration in northern Puget Sound, the initiative will begin implementing its Strategic Plan in 2019 to develop integrated branding collateral materials, strengthen engagement with tribes around the Salish Sea region and identify reliable funding streams for community conservation projects in northern Puget Sound.

Oceans Initiative – $40,000, Strengthening Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) Conservation in Puget Sound

With this funding, Oceans Initiative will boost its research efforts to identify targets for Chinook salmon recovery (a major food source for SRKWs), assess impacts of vessel and acoustic noise on SRKWs’ foraging, map key foraging areas that support orca protection and provide technical and scientific expertise on collaborative around conservation of the whales.

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance – $50,000, Puget Sound Leadership, Clean Water Regulation & Enforcement Project

These funds support Puget Soundkeeper Alliance’s continued clean water monitoring and enforcement work, community engagement in policy and civic activism and the prevention of pollution in Puget Sound.

PureBlue – $95,000 (multi-year), Technology Adoption for Puget Sound Recovery

With this funding, PureBlue will continue to assist end-users in adopting technologies that address green infrastructure, pollution runoff, stormwater, wastewater and nutrient reduction targets. The first year of funding will expand staffing capacity to engage and support partner organizations to increase the frequency of peer-to-peer learning opportunities, supplementing the need for technical support and collaboration with nonprofits and municipalities.

RE Sources for Sustainable Communities – $50,000, Protecting and Restoring the Rich Biodiversity and Marine and Fresh Waters of Northern Puget Sound

With this funding, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities will further develop its research and monitoring of Puget Sound water quality, educate and empower citizen scientists and clean water advocates, work with polluters to change their practices and engage in public land use processes addressing the health of North Puget Sound.

Resource Media – $40,000, Communications Studio & Puget Sound Storytelling

Resource Media will work to empower and elevate a wider array of voices in support of just and sustainable watersheds and communities around Puget Sound through creation of a communications-centered professional development studio and cultivation and dissemination of campaigns and media storytelling.

Salmon Defense – $50,000, Billy Frank Jr. Salmon Coalition – United to Save Salmon to Save the Orca

Through this funding, the Billy Frank Jr. Salmon Coalition, a network of tribal governments, nonprofits and non-tribal governments will hire a facilitator who will lead the development of work around systemic change for salmon recovery and addressing threats to Puget Sound’s waters, set goals and strategies for habitat and fishery management within the region and propose improvements to stormwater and land use management policies and regulations.

Washington Association of Land Trusts – $35,000 (multi-year), Advancing Advocacy and Local Networks for Puget Sound Shoreline Protection

Washington Association of Land Trusts will use funding to convene coalition meetings and strengthen the grassroots network of citizen advocates of the Puget Sound Shoreline Conservation Collaborative, leading strategic plan progress around policy solutions and working to increase funding to ensure Puget Sound shorelines are healthy, vibrant, clean and accessible.

Washington Environmental Council – $85,000, Puget Sound Protection and Restoration

Washington Environmental Council will engage citizens, stakeholders and decision makers as advocates for solutions to continue to protect and restore Puget Sound through work focused on clean water, orca recovery, healthy habitats and strong environmental regulations. Funding will also help expand WEC’s Shore Friendly pilot, which works with Kitsap and Island County property owners to protect shoreline habitats.

Details for Jane’s Fund grants totaling $175,000 are as follows:

College Success Foundation – $50,000 (multi-year)

Funding will support College Success Foundation’s work to enhance their college selection support services for Tacoma-area Achievers Scholars (students entering 12th grade), empowering high school students to select the type of school that best fits their educational requirements while emphasizing campus visits.

Foundation for Tacoma Students – $25,000

This funding will support the Foundation’s efforts to increase high school graduation and college completion rates by 50% through a collective impact network of parents, educators, early learning and higher education organizations, youth and community service organizations, business, philanthropy, labor and government. This work will also further strengthen existing education partnerships, improve existing college completion programs and reduce barriers to progress that exist in adjacent sectors like housing and transportation.

Greater Tacoma Community Foundation – $50,000 (multi-year), Lea Armstrong Scholarship and Networking Project

Funding for this project will provide support for the Lea Armstrong Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to qualified single parents with children at home who are pursuing higher education in Pierce County. The continued funding will help the Fund’s Scholarship Committee increase the amount of scholarship awards to $2,000 per student, which is commensurate with rising costs of living in Pierce County.

R. Merle Palmer Scholars – $50,000 (multi-year), General Operating Support

This award will support work from 2019 to 2021 during which Palmer Scholars will continue to support and provide a pathway to career and life success for Scholars, equipping them with college readiness training, mentorship, support throughout their college careers and financial scholarships.

– The Russell Family Foundation