Puyallup River Watershed, WA
In 2011, The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF) announced its decision to make a long-term commitment to invest in the Puyallup River watershed. The goal of the initiative is to enhance the capacity and resiliency of the people and institutions in the watershed. By fostering collaboration, supporting and strengthening leadership, and promoting learning, they aim to ensure that the values of the Puyallup River are restored and sustained by capable, knowledgeable and engaged local watershed citizens.
TRFF has partnered with BEF to help develop the initiative’s investment approach and to act as a near-term coordinating institution. In time, BEF’s role will be transitioned to a Puyallup watershed-based organization or leadership structure that will sustain the work over the long-term.
The initial stages of the initiative entail making direct investments of financial and technical resources toward self-organized “Communities of Interest,” defined as groups of individuals, organizations and/or partnerships that share specific values, interests or concerns related to the health of the watershed and its communities. Investments will be made annually with an intention to support the efforts of selected Communities of Interest over multiple years.
The long-term nature of this initiative offers the opportunity to sustain and track progress over time, learn from successes and failures, adapt strategies, and maintain a focus on desired outcomes. Over time, as each Community of Interest defines goals and begins to carry out actions to achieve these goals, communication and coordination between groups will be promoted to ensure that an integrated watershed-scale vision emerges and a leadership structure is cultivated to carry the vision well into the future.