How a Corporate Giant is Teaming Up With a Top Conservation Group on Local Projects

Alcoa gave about $8 million last year to environmental programs, a mix of conservation, education, and sustainability. Its latest effort takes advantage of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s backing and infrastructure to give a major boost to six community conservation projects. 

Alcoa is a multinational metals corporation, the third-largest producer of aluminum in the world. It also has a notably well-developed corporate giving program, split between STEM education and the environment. Considering it has offices in far off locales like Brunei, Jamaica, Hungary and Cleveland, it tries really hard to make its philanthropy community-focused.

Related - Alcoa Foundation: Grants for Conservation

Its latest endeavor to do so in the United States involves a partnership with the NFWF, the Congress-created charity that combines private and public funds to support competitive conservation projects. The Alcoa/NFWF Biodiversity Initiative just announced its first round of six grants, which was seeded by a $300,000 investment by the company and matched with agency and other private funds to award a total of $3.8 million in funds and in kind support.

The six grants are going to a mix of projects in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Kentucky and Washington state, with most going to the first two states. Funds were directed by three existing NFWF programs—Five Star and Urban Waters Program, the Forestlands Stewards Initiative, and the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund. So the grants will back forest, watershed, and rivers restoration. 

A couple of interesting projects will involve work on farmland in Pennsylvania, including establishing strips of forested “buffers” near rivers, and improving land management on six strategic farms.

There are a couple of clear reasons that such a partnership is so valuable to Alcoa’s grantmaking program. For one, bang for the buck when bolstered by NFWF funds is incredible—a $300,000 investment bolstered to the equivalent of $3.8 million. They get to call it the Alcoa partnership, and the NFWF gets to build off of the initial chunk of company support. 

The arrangement also takes a chunk of funds from a global corporation and turns it into community funding. Really big funding too, considering these projects are local. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has about 30 or so corporate partners like this. It basically takes the checks and sends them through its well-established infrastructure for awarding competitive grants.

Alcoa’s foundation does have many other irons in the fire, however. To learn more about its other conservation work check out our IP profiles