Earlier this year, the Annenberg Foundation gifted $25 million to the up-and-coming AltaSea research campus in the Port of Los Angeles. The project, developed through public-private partnerships, will transform City Dock No. 1 into a cutting-edge marine research center focused on developing global solutions for ocean sustainability. A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles City Council approved a 50-year lease for AltaSea, so it looks like the project is a go. The Annenberg Foundation supports environmental causes, but isn’t known specifically for its marine conservation efforts. So what attracted Annenberg to this project?
AltaSea is expected to cost over $500 million over the course of the next 15-20 years. It is a major project with the backing of the City of Los Angeles, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and the Southern California Marine Institute (SCMI)— an alliance of 11 major universities in southern California. The project is expected to generate thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in related economic benefits over the next decade. The campus is also expected to foster partnerships between government agencies, university researchers, and industry leaders in order to advance a sustainable future.
AltaSea is set to be a major project for Los Angeles and Annenberg is an L.A. based organization. More than that though, Annenberg has been giving more to marine issues lately. According to Wallis Annenberg (see IP's profile), President and CEO of his namesake foundation, “Our oceans and waterways are among our most precious natural resources.” Other marine grantees in 2013 include the Surfrider Foundation to restore the Ventura River watershed and Heal the Bay for public education of marine education. In 2011 and 2012, there were grants to California Trout, the Ocean Defenders Alliance, and the Oceanographic Teaching Stations, Inc.
Given the prominence of the AltaSea project in L.A., it is not that surprising to see Annenberg funds behind it. The AltaSea project could also show the Annenberg Foundation’s increasing interest in marine issues.