All posts by Laura Deaton

One of Our Own Taken In Oakland Warehouse Fire

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It is with a heavy heart that I share that Amanda Allen Kershaw, our Human Resources and Operations Manager has been confirmed as a victim of the tragic Oakland “Ghost Ship” warehouse fire that erupted late Friday, December 2, 2016. Starting as a Program Associate and moving into the HR/ops role in mid-2015, Amanda served as the primary contact and a key liaison for many of our employees and contracted project teams and had just celebrated her 5th anniversary with the Trust for Conservation Innovation the day before her death. Prior to working with us, Amanda worked at the California Academy of Sciences as an administrator in the entomology department. Amanda, who was 34, leaves behind her husband Andy, her parents and three brothers, an extensive constellation of family and friends, and our devastated team of staff and projects here at the the Trust for Conservation Innovation. You can learn more about this deadly fire that killed 36 students, artists, musicians and dancers here and read more about our amazing, passionate, kind and devoted teammate Amanda here and here.

Living with Floods in Louisiana

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“An estimated 6.9 trillion gallons of rain fell on Louisiana between Aug. 8-14. In less than one week, 31.30 inches fell….[w]e must think about how we can learn to live with water, even at this scale of inundation. We can’t avoid the rain, but we can prevent the flood.”
~Susannah Burley and Andreas Merkl, The ADVOCATE, Baton Rouge, Sept. 1, 2016.

Susannah is the project director of Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL), one of our newer projects focused on driving a resilient and equitable New Orleans through strengthening local water and food systems. Andreas Merkl, is a resident of New Orleans, Chairs the SOUL Advisory Committee, and is the CEO of Ocean Conservancy.

Read the Full Article here and learn more about SOUL here and here.

Photo Credit: Prairieville, LA, Photo by J.T. Blatty/FEMA

Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions – Hiring an Alliance ED

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iStock_000028045480_DoubleThe Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions (the “Alliance”) welcomes applications for  the new position of Alliance Executive Director, available immediately.

About The Alliance
The Conservation Alliance connects leading conservation organizations with businesses that together represent over 80% of the North American grocery and food service markets. Members and collaborators work together to solve sustainable seafood’s biggest  challenges so that oceans and the businesses that depend on them can thrive while advancing vibrant and resilient ocean and freshwater ecosystems that contribute to improved livelihoods and food security.

The Alliance Executive Director position is newly-created and is a critical next step in an Alliance-wide capacity-building initiative. With community energy, a robust and challenging work plan, and a growing pipeline of interested potential new member organizations, the Alliance is at an important inflection point in its programs and services. The Alliance seek an entrepreneurial and well-connected Executive Director with a track record of experience in the conservation community. The Executive Director, alongside the Steering Committee and its contractors, will capitalize on this growing momentum by strategically leading the Alliance in weaving together the strategies of member organizations, incubating new ideas and elevating the Alliance as a key leader within the sustainable seafood movement.

To learn more or express interest, view the full announcement here.


Root Solutions and the Story of Stuff

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RSIt’s very exciting to see one of our projects, Root Solutions, featured for the cool work that they are doing, and what better place to be featured than on the Story of Stuff Project blog?

Root Solutions is dedicated to providing conservationists and policy makers with tools and resources informed by the proven methods of behavioral science, allowing them to create more effective campaigns, polices and strategies that reflect how people process information and make decisions. With techniques like, “green nudges,” people can be motivated to use behavior that is  both good for them and good for the environment.

The project is the brainchild of Nya Van Leuvan and Rod Fujita, who met at the Environmental Defense Fund where they led the introduction of decision science to their colleagues. The project is also producing a book called “Choices for Change: Using Behavioral Insights to Save the Planet,” which they hope will help policy-makers, advocates, and the general public understand how to frame and encourage behavior that makes conservation a part of our daily lives.

Read more about how behavioral science can improve conservation outcomes at the Root Solutions  website and on the Story of Stuff blog!

Forbes article highlights limited fiscal sponsorship as an emerging option for entrepreneurs

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iStock_000019152453_MediumIt’s always exciting to see the type of work we do profiled in a national business publication like Forbes. Yesterday, Anne Field wrote about “limited fiscal sponsorship” dubbing it a “new tool in the arsenal of social enterprise.”  In the world of fiscal sponsorship, limited fiscal sponsorship is often referred to as a “Model B” sponsorship, and Field is right – it’s far less commonly used than other forms of fiscal sponsorship.

Unlike the vast majority of our projects at the Trust for Conservation Innovation,  Limited or Model B projects are not operated as a direct project of the sponsoring organization. Instead, the sponsoring organization receives funds that are then managed, under contract, directly by an independent contractor, which can be an individual or a firm.  The contractor maintains its own liability coverage, manages its own accounting, hires its own vendors and contractors, and bears ultimate responsibility for the program outcomes of the project.

The Forbes article highlights recent pilot efforts by Third Sector New England, a veteran fiscal sponsor founded in 1959,  which has recently begun to experiment with this model as a way to work with innovative companies and social entrepreneurs who have established for-profit organizations but want to leverage philanthropic funds to accomplish social good.

It’s important to note that although the model does hold some promise as a more limited and flexible form of fiscal sponsorship, if it isn’t managed carefully, it can create significant risk for entrepreneurs, funders, and fiscal sponsors. For for-profit enterprises, navigating the compliance and reporting requirements that accompany charitable work can be daunting.  State and federal tax laws for governing the use of tax-exempt funds are vastly different than laws governing for-profits and issues can arise around conflict of interest and private benefit that can put contractors, donors, and fiscal sponsors in jeopardy.

Model B fiscal sponsorship is definitely one option in an evolving model for cross-sector social innovation, yet we also serve social innovators in a number of other ways, often with far less risk and complexity.  Learn more about fiscal sponsorship in our White Paper here.

World Oceans Day – Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet

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WorldOceansDay2015Today, June 8th, we join the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate World Oceans Day and recognize that “our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea.” 1. It also gives us a chance to shine a spotlight on the amazing work of a few of the projects in our portfolio that focus on conserving and protecting our marine ecosystems across the world.

Olazul is reinventing the aquarium trade in Indonesia to protect reefs, repurposing fisheries waste to relieve pressure on wild fish on Mexico’s Baja peninsula, and restoring our oceans for future generations.

Ocean Outcomes works hand-in-hand with commercial fishermen to improve high risk fisheries with key initiatives underway in Russia (one of the world’s top ten producers of wild fish) and in Japan, which is home to the largest seafood market in the world, yet is not home to any publicly recognized Fishery Improvement Projects.

cChange (formerly SeaWeb Asia Pacific), with offices in Fiji and Papua New Guinea, works in the background to foster  community-owned social media campaigns that create immediate and sustainable change.  Check out the super successful West Maui Kumuwai and 4Fiji campaigns!

These are just a few of the projects that we support that are focused on conserving our oceans.  Learn more about our other ocean-focused projects: CeDePesca, LMMA, MarViva Foundation, and the Conservation and Community Investment Forum.


T4CI welcomes Menlo Spark!

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usca32878The Trust for Conservation Innovation (T4CI) is pleased to announce that Menlo Spark is now part of our community of projects focusing on Energy Efficiency & Urban Infrastructure! A Bay Area initiative, Menlo Spark seeks to establish a zero net carbon dioxide pollution for all buildings, land uses, and vehicles originating in Menlo Park, CA. As the problems of climate change loom increasingly large in the future, Menlo Park and similar cities will eventually be required by state and national mandates to pursue more aggressive climate action. By being an early adopter, Menlo Park can create a test bed for innovation and ease its inevitable transition to a low- or zero-carbon economy.
Menlo Spark’s dedication to environmental progress stems from their pride in the city’s civic heritage, and their desire to make Menlo Park a national leader in sustainability and climate action.

Learn more about Menlo Spark’s mission and work by checking them out online at:
T4CI’s Profile Page
Menlo Spark’s website

Welcome, Maven’s Notebook!

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The Trust for Conservation Innovation welcomes Maven’s Notebook, a California-focused water and policy blog to our project portfolio.  Maven’s Notebook helps cut through the complicated and controversial details of water flow, water supply and water quality and environmental disputes, leading to more rational outcomes that will benefit the environment.  The blog also serves as a highly-valued source of objective and understandable information about these often complex and multi-faceted issues.

Learn more about Maven’s Notebook.