Finding the Marine Connection with the Bullitt Foundation

Rivers are useful for many reasons. They can serve as a source of drinking water, food, coastal protection, and recreation. Many cities, however, have neglected to take care of their waterways — using rivers as outlets for waste and runoff. The Bullitt Foundation (see IP's profile here) recognizes the effect growing cities are having on their surrounding environment and has consolidated its environmental programs around the improvement of urban areas. Bullitt has funded numerous grants focusing on healthy waterways around cities.

At first glance, the Bullitt Foundation may not look like a strong candidate for marine and river conservation funding. Its environmental programs include ecosystem services, energy and technology, urban ecology, and civic engagement. However, grantees in the aquatic field should not be discouraged. A quick look at the Bullitt Foundation's grants list show numerous recipients in river, water basin, and even marine fields. The catch, however, is to connect the health of these waterways back to nearby cities.

Grants the Bullitt Foundation might find interesting include projects focusing on water supply planning, green infrastructure, urban stream restoration, or stream cleanups. Grants were funded for all of these activities in the past few years. In 2010, Columbia Riverkeeper received $30,000 for cleanup actions; in 2011, the American Rivers Northwest Regional Office received $50,000 for storm water management solutions; and in 2012, the Anchorage Waterways Council received $20,000 for urban stream restoration. Several other organizations received grants for water quality monitoring, policy advocacy, and the like. In 2009, the Bullitt Foundation gave $20,000 to the Marine Conservation Biology Institute for work on ocean acidification in the Puget Sound. The group managed to get this grant under Bullitt's Ecosystem Services program.

Although the Bullitt Foundation does not specifically list river and marine conservation as a priority on its website, it's obvious the program managers are still willing to fund programs for waterway protection and restoration. The foundation's Urban Ecology and Ecosystem Services programs both focus on improving the environment around cities. Grantees that can make a connection back to human health and urban areas may find the Bullitt Foundation a source worth looking into.