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What’s essential to ocean funding when it’s geared toward saving a species on the brink of extinction?
For the Marisla Foundation, a private foundation whose environmental giving focuses largely on marine conservation, being open to taking on roles beyond what it normally does as a grantmaker has been critical. Eight years ago, as the species decline accelerated, Marisla realized it needed to add a new dimension to its grantmaker role: that of
Eight years ago, as the species decline accelerated, Marisla realized it needed to add a new dimension to its grantmaker role: that of advocate. “We decided it was time to step out of our role of just making grants and become more active and directive in what we wanted to happen.”
The foundation joined forces with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation to make an appeal to the Mexican government. Together, representatives from each of these foundations traveled to Mexico City and met with Mexico’s environment minister. “Our message was, we’re providing resources that can complement your efforts to save the vaquita from extinction,” says Sara. “We hoped our commitment would help cement the government’s commitment.”
While the vaquita’s fate remains in flux, one thing is certain from Marisla’s example: playing multiple roles allows a funder to come at an issue from different angles, which can be critical when facing complex circumstances and high stakes. Let’s hope for the vaquita it can make the difference.