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The Alliance's Year, Wrapped

As this calendar year comes to a close, our lens turns inward to share an update on what the Emerald Alliance has been working on this year and what’s on our agenda for 2022. Overall, the conservation sector has much to celebrate with a bevy of new funding programs and increases in established sources over the coming years - all of which could prove to be pivotal for landscape protection and natural infrastructure investment across Puget Sound. We are focused on ensuring that our partners in the conservation sector are prepared to connect those resources to meet the needs of historically impacted communities.

Wishing you a safe, healthy and restful holiday! See you next year!
 
- The EA Team

Advancing Equity in Investment

For much of 2021, the Emerald Alliance and SM Watts Consulting, working closely with local Puget Sound partners, have been developing a collaborative model for a deep network of Puget Sound-based organizations. This model is designed to transform traditional approaches to community engagement and develop a shared vision for the region’s natural infrastructure investments. We will bring together historically white-led organizations and institutions that are committed to dismantling systemic racism, with oversight from representatives of community-based organizations who are compensated for their time and not expected to bear responsibility for teaching and correcting. 

Through a carefully-designed process, participants will propose and pursue a shared vision for the region’s natural infrastructure investments grounded in trust-based relationships and equitable access to power and resources. Together, they will develop tools, processes and projects grounded in equity that center the needs of communities of color on the frontlines of social, health, and environmental crises.

Over the next 10 years, Puget Sound government officials and nonprofit, philanthropic, and business leaders will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the region’s infrastructure, including investments in natural systems.  This is a historic opportunity to direct natural infrastructure investments to meet the needs of historically underserved communities. The Emerald Alliance is committed to helping meet this historic opportunity reversing decades of systemic racism that has actively excluded millions of residents of color from investments in their health and wellbeing. We are deeply excited to launch this work in the early days of 2022!

Advancing Conservation Efforts

The EA team continues to focus on the implementation of the Regional Open Space Conservation Plan and, throughout 2021, leveraged funding from multiple sources to:
  • Host a series of webinars focused on innovations in conservation finance (watch the recordings here)
  • Complete an assessment of conservation funding programs and the entities that support them to better understand how the region currently invests in conservation acquisitions and easements. The data tells an interesting story and portends key opportunities for advancing conservation activities going forward. 
  • Track and share emerging trends in conservation finance, including:
    • Those highlighted by a second round of funding from the Innovative Finance for National Forests grant program.
    • Resilience Bonds as developed by Blue Forest Conservation.
    • Indigenous knowledge and practices in forest management as reported in this EA blog post.
    • The Nearshore Credit Marketplace, launched by the Puget Sound Partnership in August, which streamlines the permitting process for building residential or commercial in- and over-water structures and protects habitat for Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed species within the nearshore ecosystem.

Advancing Governance 

Our small ad hoc advisory group steered the EA to prioritize equity in new conservation dollars promised through increases in infrastructure spending (what we called the “Infrastructure Olympics”). We are grateful for the support and guidance provided by our partners, advisors, and funders who are committed to working with us in prioritizing the needs of the communities most historically impacted by disinvestment and neglect. 

Starting in January 2022, the EA will move its fiscal sponsorship from the Bullitt Foundation to the Seattle Parks Foundation. This is an exciting time for our team to address the question of a collaborative and sustainable governance structure to carry our work forward in 2022 and beyond.

We are grateful to carry forward with support from the Bullitt Foundation in the remaining years of their grantmaking. Their fiscal sponsorship made it possible for the EA to focus less on its internal/organizational self and more on its external networking, partner building, and programming. With much gratitude and thanks to the whole Bullitt Foundation team; and a special shout out to Steve Whitney for his vision, trust, and guidance and to Salley Anderson for so capably and agilely managing our fiscal matters.   

Advancing Communications

The Emerald Alliance hired a new Communications Consultant, Zan McPherson, who has been leading a variety of initiatives to bolster engagement with the EA network. This includes:
  • Reinstating and developing our monthly newsletter
  • Creating a new LinkedIn page (give us a follow!)
  • Redesigning our website, including building out our website's Resources page to include an archive of past newsletters and webinars (check it out!)
Our monthly newsletter remains the key platform through which we communicate with the Emerald Alliance network. We'd really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to fill out this quick survey to provide feedback on our newsletter, including topics you are most interested in, people or projects we should feature, etc.
Thank you for your continued interest in our work! Send us your ideas and stories for future newsletters: Tracy Stanton at Tracy@EmeraldAllianceNW.org

We are building a collaborative, multicultural coalition to ensure that all voices are included and recognized. If you have a stake in the future of the Puget Sound's open spaces, consider becoming a partner:

 
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