Today is Blog Action Day, when bloggers all over the world take to their computers to write in concert about a single topic--water is the topic chosen for 2010.
I started Blog Action Day by looking for $ for water and water-related projects & causes. Water was listed in Foundation Directory Online Professional (FDO) 55,026 times with over 20,552 grants described with the word “water” and 801 grantmakers with the word “water” somewhere in their profile. Of course, next week the numbers will be different because we update the databases weekly.
The FDO Professional makes it easy to find out about well-known funders such as Charity:Water with total giving of $4.3 million (12/08) and the smaller funders such as Global Water Foundation established in 2006 by South African tennis player Johan Kriek.
The database also informs us foundations and grantmaking public charities have been supporting water and water related issues for a very long time. Their philanthropic work cast a wide-net regarding how we view water issues. Some of the oldest longer-lasting philanthropic gems in the database were:
- Trinity Wall Street's (formerly Trinity Church) work in New York City dates back to 1846 and they now give on a national and international basis. “Clean water access” is part of their Global South Grants Program.
- Some funders focus on our relationship to water. The Life Saving Benevolent Association of New York is an independent foundation established in 1849 and continues to grant awards to individuals in recognition of rescue from drowning and training in seamanship.
- Lake Sunapee Protective Association was established in 1898 in New Hampshire to preserve and enhance the special environment of the Lake Sunapee region. We tagged them as funding “environment, water resources.”
- Perusing the most current 2010 grants in FDO, I found out Waterkeeper Alliance in Irvington, NY, received $100,000 from Deckers Outdoor Corporate Contributions Program in CA and the Bronx River Alliance received $50,000 from The Hearst Foundation, Inc.
A 10-second peak at our web site quickly moves the focus on water to a global philanthropy issue. I found hot prospects on the list of the top 25 foundations awarding international grants for access to water and reviewed the list of the top 25 recipients of foundation international giving for access to water.
When I got deciding to search in other ways, I used the new edition of our Celebrity Directory and got good results looking up celebrity foundations with a focus on water.
Thanks to the PND staff for making it easy for me to find out about philanthropy news related to water.
The United Nations recognizes that it needs to mobilize its resources to confront the global challenges relating to water in order to reach the development and environmental objectives established by the international community. In response to that need, U.N. Water was created in 2003, three years into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). UN Water focuses on monitoring water resources and observing progress towards the MDG to cut in half "the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation" by 2015. Visit the web site for information on activities and programs -- including advocacy, mapping, country-level coordination-- and topics such as transboundary waters, gender and water, and climate change.
-- Susan Shiroma, Senior Librarian, Foundation Center-New York