After selecting the three finalists from a surprisingly strong field, we had an impassioned internal discussion to choose the winner.
First, let us tell you a little bit about the three finalists…all of which were worthy of winning our support…but alas, we could choose only one.
We met with the Alliance’s Executive Director, Al Todd and Corinne Stephens, the Alliance’s Business Partnerships Manager.
This organization, created in 1971, was originally known as “The Citizens Program for the Chesapeake Bay” and brought regional leaders together to discuss a coordinated approach to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers. In 1976, the Citizens Program was renamed the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
Over the next 30+ years, the Alliance would help to build consensus, broker agreements, and create policies on a diversity of watershed issues, while developing programs that could deliver restoration results. Through pioneering work such as the Bay Journal, Businesses and Builders for the Bay, Volunteer Water Monitoring, green stormwater practices like rain gardens and Bayscapes, watershed planning, stream and riparian buffer restoration, forest conservation, and a myriad of other innovative efforts, the Alliance continues to make significant contributions to restoration progress.
Of note, the Alliance has been instrumental in:
- Establishing multi-jurisdictional goals for the Chesapeake Bay Program
- Involving new stakeholders in restoration efforts
- Building innovative partnerships
- Expanding awareness and action “upstream” of the Bay itself
- Empowering locally-led efforts through networking and training
- Getting 100’s of thousands of people involved as volunteers
We really enjoyed meeting Al and Corinne and were asked to help them increase the membership of their innovative Businesses for the Bay (B4B) partnership.
We met with Earth Force’s President/CEO, Vince Meldrum.
Earth Force’s mission is to engage young people as active citizens, who improve the environment and their communities, now and in the future. They do this by providing middle school educators with the training and support they need to create an engaging, hands-on classroom that empowers students to solve environmental problems. Earth Force then helps students to develop civic skills by showing them how to work with their communities to solve local problems.
Students who participate in their programs increase their knowledge of science, their skill at engaging in community change, and their motivation to make a difference.
Vince asked us to help Earth Force to double the number of school supervisors, teachers, and students participating in their programs.
We met with FOR’s Education Director, Daria Christian and her colleagues Lowery Becker and Nick Cadwallender.
Founded in 1985 as a non-profit, grassroots conservation organization, Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) works to educate everyone about the river and to advocate for actions and policies that will protect and restore the Rappahannock River.
The organization has made great strides to make sure that the Rappahannock River:
- Is clean and safe for fish consumption and recreation from its Headwaters to its confluence with the Chesapeake.
- Supports a healthy and diverse aquatic ecosystem, with submerged grasses, oysters, crabs and other species returned to their historic levels and productivity.
- Watershed is protected, and where land use and runoff is managed to protect and enhance our riparian habitats, downstream waters, scenic viewsheds and historical resources.
- Community and its citizens and local governments are educated about river stewardship, where they take a sense of personal stewardship over the river resource, and where they take action in their own backyards and communities to protect it.
They asked us to help them with a project that would guarantee that the river remains a beautiful, healthy and productive part of the many Virginia communities it touches, for years to come.
We are happy to announce that the winner of our Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility program, StoryAid, is Friends of the Rappahannock!