To our Grantees and Colleagues,
Since its founding in 1998, the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment has been working with its grantees to realize our vision – A healthy and productive Chesapeake Bay supporting a high quality of life and vibrant economy across the Bay’s watershed communities – and we are extremely proud to have been associated with your many achievements towards this goal. As all healthy organizations must periodically do, the Campbell Foundation recently assessed its approach to ensure that its strategies and tactics are optimally aligned with the challenges and opportunities presented by changing political, social, and economic conditions. This communication is designed to provide our grantees, stakeholders, and partners with initial insights into the Campbell Foundation’s approach and priorities in the coming years.
The work our grantees and partners have carried out over the years has identified flaws in our social, economic, agricultural, commercial, and environmental management systems that compromise the Bay’s health, while simultaneously generating positive pressure to address these flaws. Today, it is evident that your work has helped to stabilize the Bay’s health, even amid the unprecedented development pressures and other human induced stresses the watershed has experienced over these past two decades. However, it must be acknowledged that we began this journey together looking for more progress than we have realized to date.
As we look forward, the Campbell Foundation seeks solutions that will provide rapid and robust advancements and allow us to break out of this relatively stable, but still unrestored state of the Bay. We believe that the best way to achieve this ‘breakout’ and restore vitality to our ecosystem is to leverage both the demands for positive change your successes have brought, and the common interests of Bay watershed citizens, environmentalists, farmers, and businesses in improving our quality of life.
Inclusive solution-oriented collaborations will improve and evolve current agricultural, social, and business systems in ways that provide long lasting improvements in the Bay’s water quality. The corresponding response of aquatic vegetation, fisheries, and other living resources will, in turn, provide enhanced ecosystem services that benefit our communities and their businesses in multiple ways. For example, significant progress towards a healthier Chesapeake will not only support vibrant recreational opportunities and enhance tourism, but will also enhance our communities’ ability to attract and retain new businesses and a talented workforce.
Recognizing that focus is often the strongest ally of any funding organization, our portfolio over the next several years will emphasize projects that address problems associated with legacy phosphorus in Delmarva soils, those that encourage enhanced efficiency in the application of row crop fertilizers, and manure and litter problems in nutrient source ‘hotspots’ across the watershed –especially within the Susquehanna watershed. To accomplish this, the Campbell Foundation’s portfolio will also be specifically tuned to support behavioral changes, technological advancements, and enhancements in the capabilities of farmers, and local and state governments.
Our approach outlined here represents a refinement in our historical approach, but certainly not a wholesale change. And while our grants portfolio will soon begin to migrate towards the points of focus outlined here, full transition will occur gradually over the next few years. We have had the honor of working with a large and diverse group of talented and dedicated grantees and partners over these last few decades and we look forward to continuing and strengthening those relationships as we move forward together.
In partnership for a healthy Chesapeake Bay,
Program Director, Chesapeake