The Chesapeake Trust Fund Financing Task Force is a new University of Maryland collaboration between the Environmental Finance Center and the Center for Social Value Creation, located at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. The two centers will establish a student led Task Force, which will be charged with developing a detailed business plan for establishing a new public-private financing institution in support of the Chesapeake Bay restoration and protection effort. The result of the Task Force’s work will be the development and implementation of one of the most innovative and potentially effective public-private financing partnerships in support of environmental protection. In short, this effort will result in the potential allocation and investment of billions of dollars in support of watershed restoration across the Chesapeake region. In addition, the processes and models developed by this student-led team will have applicability and impact in watersheds across the region and the country.
Background. The complexity of large-scale environmental restoration and protection efforts often seem insurmountable due to a lack of sufficient funding or innovative financing structures. In the future, successfully protecting the environment and natural systems like the Chesapeake Bay will require meeting some key financing needs, including:
An important step in the financing process has been the establishment of public programs such as the Maryland Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund (the Trust Fund) in Maryland. The Trust Fund has become one of the region’s most important financing tools, generating upwards of $50M annually in support of watershed restoration. However, in spite of the unique nature the Trust Fund, it is not sufficient in and of itself to achieve large-scale restoration goals and requirements. For programs like the Trust Fund to reach their full potential, it is essential that they be catalytic in nature, thereby facilitating the flow of private capital and improving the effectiveness of other restoration policies and programs. The purpose of the Chesapeake Trust Fund Financing Task Force is to identify opportunities to successfully link public and private capital with the goal of targeting billions of dollars towards environmental restoration and protection efforts.
The Task Force Process and Structure. The key feature of this project will be the student-led Task Force. The Task Force will couple four MBA students from the Center for Social Value Creation’s Social Venture Consulting Practicum, with four Environmental Finance Center Project Assistants from the School of Public Policy. The goal of the Task Force will be to draft a detailed business plan for establishing a new public-private financing mechanism that will support and advance efforts to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay. The business plan will address key issues related to establishing a new venture of this type, including:
Project Advisory Committee. The project Task Force will be guided and mentored by an Advisory Panel comprised of experts from key disciplines and industries, including:
The Advisory Committee will serve as a sounding board for Task Force decision-making and ideas, and will help mentor students throughout the process. Both the Project Advisory Committee and the Task Force will be managed and administered by the Environmental Finance Center in partnership with the Center for Social Value Creation and the Smith School of Business.
Anticipated Outcomes. This project effectively couples the collective environmental, educational, and business mission of two important University of Maryland institutions: the Environmental Finance Center and the Center for Social Value Creation. The resulting collaboration will have broad impact across the community, including:
Project Timeline. The project Task Force will convene in the Spring Semester of 2015 and will deliver the final business plan report in May 2015.
This project is supported through a grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, under the guidance of the Chesapeake and Coastal Service division. The Environmental Finance Center has partnered with DNR over the past four years to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and scale of environmental investments across the State of Maryland.
For more information, please contact EFC director, Dan Nees at email@example.com or 301.405.5421; or the Associate Director of the Center for Social Value Creation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.405.9454.