Gives $10,000 Grant to Chesapeake Conservancy for Tech-Savvy Program

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The Future Fund announced the winner of its 2017 grant cycle today, awarding $10,000 to Chesapeake Conservancy to establish Northern Virginia as a tech-savvy conservation innovation hub.  This is the sixth grant cycle of the Future Fund, the Community Foundation’s giving circle for young professionals, and brings total grants to $233,000.

As the Future Fund has continued to grow, and its members become increasingly aware of the issues impacting the greater metropolitan region, the group discovered new ways to contribute to the community and sought out environmentally focused groups and projects for the 2017 grant cycle.

“The current grantmaking year proved to be a great year of new ideas for the Future Fund. For the first time since the inception of the Future Fund, we expanded outside of our five core focus areas to include other spheres of need within the Northern Virginia community,” stated Matt Paddock, Co-Chair of the Future Fund. “The result of this transition was passionate involvement by our membership in the grants process. …The selection of the environment was great for the organization as it is an area which many of our young professionals are deeply interested in, especially with regard to the environmental issues we see close to where we live and work.” 

This year’s grant-winning organization, Chesapeake Conservancy, is a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring a healthier Chesapeake Bay watershed where fish and wildlife thrive, and everyone enjoys healthy waters and abundant forests, wetlands, shorelines and open spaces. To achieve this mission, the Conservancy serves as a catalyst for change – advancing strong public and private partnerships, developing and using new technology, and driving innovation to protect the watershed. “Our funding dollars will go above and beyond our $10,000 grant as the data the Chesapeake Conservancy uses will help to educate other organizations and policy makers to create solutions founded in actual research,” explained Future Fund Grants Committee Co-Chair Kelsey Corbin.

chesapeakeJeffrey Allenby, Chesapeake Conservancy Director of Conservation TechnologyWith support from the Future Fund, Chesapeake Conservancy will enable Northern Virginia to become an early adopter of the integration of powerful data to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their water quality improvement work. The $10,000 grant will be used to match a $15,000 grant from the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program and allow Chesapeake Conservancy to fund technology and outreach staff at the Conservancy to engage stakeholders to understand current water quality challenges and complete 1-meter flow path mapping for Northern Virginia’s 5 county footprint. “Using groundbreaking high-resolution land cover data, we can help community members zoom in at the right scale and identify where conservation and restoration projects could provide the greatest benefit. Ultimately, this project will showcase the power of data to support restoration and protection goals for the Bay watershed and showcase Northern Virginia, already renowned for its strong technology sector, as one of the leading conservation innovation hubs in the Chesapeake," Chesapeake Conservancy Director of Conservation Technology Jeffrey Allenby said.

Chesapeake Conservancy’s work in other regions has created a demonstrable savings-- an estimated $35,000-70,000 in costs previously paid to design green infrastructure projects and hundreds of hours of staff time were saved by a similar project they completed in York County, PA. This program will also use the data set to help local residents understand their impact on the landscape and make better choices on local infrastructure decisions.

“I have always been told that being on the Grants Committee is one of the most rewarding experiences of being a Future Fund member, and I couldn't agree more,” said Rachael Pashkevich, Co-Chair of the Future Fund and Member of the Grants Committee. “I became more educated on a topic that impacts my community, I met with local nonprofits that are already working to improve Northern Virginia's water quality, and I was able to vote for the organization that I felt could make the most impact with our grant. This process was the opposite of most donations experiences; here, I know exactly how the nonprofit will be using my donation to impact my community.”

The Future Fund is sponsored by Grant Thornton.

For more information about the Future Fund, contact Allison Cook, Philanthropy Officer, at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, at allison.cook@cfnova.org or (703) 879-7642.

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