by Hellmut Golde, President
In many ways, 1998 mirrored 1997 in the operation of the Fund. The stock market again fluctuated considerably, but its overall growth increased the assets of the fund by about 13 percent compared to year-end 1997.
We also maintained our giving level in 1998. We awarded 57 grants (including three emergency grants) in the amount of $505,000, compared to $198,900 in 1995, $268,148 in 1996, and $496,627 in 1997. Since our distribution in 1999 will be primarily based on the 1998 performance, we expect to maintain the same giving level in the coming year. The dollar value of grant requests grew by about 20 percent in 1998 compared to 1997.
Let me briefly review the distribution of our grants.
Two environmental concerns, Land Use and related issues, and Water Quality, Quantity, and Wetlands received 11 grants each, followed by Forestry and Wilderness with 9 and Constituency Building with 8.
Geographically, the number of grants with a statewide impact increased by about 20 percent compared to 1997. This increase was accompanied by a decline of more regional grants. Following a consistent trend, the number and total amount of General Support grants increased again, although the number and amount of pure Project grants is still significant larger, but less than in 1997.
Again, many methods were used to address environmental issues. Litigation, Grassroots Activities, Negotiation and Regulatory Oversight, and Multiple Methods each received 9 grants. This year, we also created a new methods category, Campaign Strategies (10 grants). This category is used for the increasing number of grant requests proposing multifaceted campaigns to achieve their environmental objective(s).
Additional details of our grant activity for 1998 can be found in our report “Grant-Making Trends, 1998”, which can be requested from the Fund office. We also plan to make it available on our web site.
At their annual meeting in December, the trustees started a discussion on possible future funding initiatives. Several strategies were considered; the board will refine these strategies in the coming months and select one or more for implementation in our second proposal cycle later this year. Details will be announced on our web page as soon as final decisions have been made.
I want to express my thanks to two of our trustees whose term expired this year: Jack deYonge and Emory Bundy. Their guidance and council has been invaluable and we will sorely miss them. Let me also welcome four new trustees: Roger Contor, who rejoined the board in mid-year, and Kim Moore, Shirley Muse, and Derek Poon, who were elected for three-year terms at our annual meeting. Kim is Vice President of Pugh Capital Management in Seattle; Shirley lives in Walla Walla and is a long-term Audubon activist with a background in forest management; and Derek is a fishery biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle. These new members bring additional strength to our board.
In closing, my thanks go to Gayle Rothrock, our Fund Administrator, who not only keeps the office running smoothly, but is also a great source of help and inspiration to the environmental community. She fulfilled her role in spite of a serious physical impairment; we all wish her well for a continued recovery. A warm welcome goes also to Pam Fujita-Yuhas, who has joined Gayle as Deputy Fund Administrator.
Financial Highlights -1998
Total Assets $7,800,000
Operatng Expenses $ 85,000
1998 Grant Awards  $ 505,000