The Environmental Finance Center, through the support of the William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, recently launched the Delaware River Watershed Innovative Financing Strategy Project. The EFC and its project partners will convene an expert environmental financing panel charged with identifying innovative and scalable options for financing Delaware River watershed restoration and protection efforts. The panel’s work will result in a financing strategy that will enable the William Penn Foundation and its funding partners to allocate capital and funding in a way that is catalytic and ultimately successful in protecting water resources across the region. The Financing Panel will be charged with identifying innovative financing mechanisms in support of Delaware River watershed restoration and protection efforts. The panel will focus on stressors to the watershed including:
In addition to managing the panel process, as well as providing intellectual resources (including research and content development), the EFC will work in partnership—including managing sub-awards and grants—with key conservation and research institutions including the University of Delaware, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Pinchot Institute. The Panel’s work will culminate in a series of recommendations that will be designed to guide and influence future grant making and investments on the part of the William Penn Foundation and its funding partners.
The primary focus of this project and the work of the Panel is to identify new and innovative ways of mobilizing capital and investment in watershed restoration and protection. Institutions like the William Penn Foundation play a critical role in natural resource restoration and protection efforts through their support of new and successful programs, projects, and conservation initiatives. However, succeeding in the ultimate goal of ensuring that the citizens of the Delaware River watershed have long-term access to safe and reliable water resources will require the Foundation’s investments to be catalytic in nature, thereby incentivizing further investments from within the public and private sectors. In addition, although there are myriad organizations addressing a variety of financing and funding options and interventions across the region and the country, there is often very little coordination to these efforts with respect to the needs of particular resources and regions such as the Delaware River watershed.
The complexity and scale of large-scale watershed restoration and protection efforts often appear to be insurmountable due to a lack of sufficient funding or innovative financing programs. However, by putting the right incentives in place, the opportunity exists to achieve multiple restoration and financing goals, including:
The goal of the Innovative Financing Panel is to identify where these opportunities exist and the steps and investments that will be necessary to achieve financing and restoration success. The Panel will be comprised of experts from a variety of disciplines and areas of expertise and will represent multiple interests and institutions. Though the Panel will presumably address a variety of financing and funding options, the primary focus of its work will be to identify opportunities to engage private capital and the private sector specifically. To that end, the EFC’s priority with this project is to work in partnership with the Foundation to leverage the collective skill and resources of innovative thinkers, practitioners, and financing experts through the convening of the Innovative Financing Panel. At the end of the 18-month project, the Panel, through the Environmental Finance Center and its partners, will deliver to the William Penn Foundation the structure for a long-term watershed investment strategy.
University of Delaware, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Pinchot Institute
William Penn Foundation
For more information, please contact Dan Nees at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.405.5421.