2012 Message from the President of the Board of Trustees
This was a year of taking stock for the NW Fund for the Environment. We surveyed our grantees about our grantmaking programs and processes and we were pleased to receive responses from over 70% of the current and past grantees of the Fund. In general, grantees found the information and services provided by the Fund and its staff to be helpful, clear and accessible. Furthermore, the feedback on the focus of our grantmaking programs – aquatic ecosystem protection and growth management — was also very positive. Many noted that NW Fund serves as a key funder, sometimes the sole foundation funder, for their work in these areas.
One question that came up in the survey was why we do not lessen the application requirements for “renewing” grants for groups who receive funding over several years. As this came from a number of different respondents, I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify our approach to reviewing grants from organizations that frequently receive NW Fund support. Although we have made multiple grants to some organizations for projects or programs that have spanned several years, we do not consider these renewals. Our process for reviewing grants is open and competitive and all applications in each cycle, regardless of past history, are considered together. Continued funding for projects we have previously funded is not guaranteed. While we deeply value some ongoing work and the relationships we have with those organizations, we must work within our own limitations as a small funder and choose to not commit funds in advance of cycles. We feel this also leaves us more able to be responsive to changes or new threats. This said, however, we do want to ensure that our requests for information do not unduly burden grantees with whom we have a long history so staff will be striving in the future to streamline the vetting process for those applicants going forward.
Finally, 2012 also marks the end of my nine years of service at the Fund and the end of my term as President. Serving as President of the Fund has been a great privilege. Looking back on my time at the Fund, I am particularly grateful to the Trustees and staff for their commitment to community engagement demonstrated through their support of such efforts as our Community Response Fund program, which is now in its fourth successful year.
I also want to say a heartfelt thanks to Doug Lawrence and David Harrison, two Trustees who also served three terms on the Board, including many years in leadership on our Finance and Executive Committees. Doug and David helped see the Fund through changes in our investment management, grantmaking programs and two economic downturns. We are very grateful to them for their commitment and service. Lastly, a huge and sincere thanks to Pam Fujita-Yuhas and Zoë Rothchild for the help, support, and endless patience they have shown me over the last nine years, as well as for the wonderful service they have provided to our environmental community. I have been honored to work with them.
As I leave the foundation, I am pleased to announce that Jennifer Dold, who served as an officer of the Fund for the past two years, will succeed me as President. Jennifer brings a wealth of experience in law, environmental issues and nonprofit management to her new role. I know the Fund will continue to do good work under her leadership. I would also like to extend a welcome to two new Trustees: Janna Rolland of Seattle and Rick Moore of Colville. On behalf of the trustees and staff of the NW Fund, I want to thank all of our grantees for their efforts to protect and conserve the natural resources of Washington State.
Sandy Moore, President