The Network’s plans for the future are ambitious and we know our community is curious about what we’re building. We’ll update this page as our vision for this new organization takes shape.
Why is the Willamette River Initiative ending?
The Willamette River Initiative was conceived as a time-limited funding commitment by the Meyer Memorial Trust that aimed to realize measurable gains for the river and provide a springboard for the Willamette restoration community’s continued success. It has succeeded in creating a more cohesive, effective movement for river health in the Willamette Basin. Although WRI’s grantmaking has ended, Meyer continues to support the new, community-led Network that has sprung from the success of WRI.
What does the new organization look like?
The Network organization lives outside of Meyer Memorial Trust with fiscal sponsorship from the Tides Center. It is the service-providing backbone of a Willamette River Network made up of people and groups from throughout the basin. A governing board will lead the Network with support from staff, including Director Tana Atchley Culbertson and additional future hires. Learn more in the Network blueprint developed by our advisory group.
What will this new Network do?
The Network will support the people and groups working toward a healthier Willamette River system by seeking funding for the field and providing convening, coordination, technical assistance and other services, while advocating on behalf of members for actions that make a healthier river possible. Its work is guided by the following goals: A healthy river system with engaged, diverse leadership, in which communities and rivers thrive together. View the Network blueprint to learn more.
Like WRI, the Willamette River Network will continue to champion river restoration. But it will do so while engaging a broader, more diverse set of partners and projects. Equity, inclusion and community wellbeing will be woven deeply into its mission.
Will Meyer be involved in the new Network?
Yes. Meyer believes more diverse community leadership is important to the Network’s success, but Meyer intends to continue to be involved as a partner. Meyer trustees have committed $1 million in funding over four years to help launch this new organization. Meyer will also be engaged in inviting other partners and funders to join the Network.
Where will the Network get its operating funds?
As stated above, Meyer has committed a total of $1 million to support the Network’s operations during its first four years. The Network will also develop a long-term funding strategy to pursue support from a variety of sources. It aspires to bring new money into the Willamette Basin, not compete with other organizations for support.
Will Meyer continue making grants in the Willamette?
While the Willamette River Initiative’s grantmaking program has ended, Willamette Basin conservation groups may apply for grants through Meyer’s annual funding opportunity.
In addition, Meyer has committed $1 million in grant funding to support restoration projects on the mainstem Willamette River through 2022. This reflects Meyer’s continued funding partnership with the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) and Bonneville Power Administration through the Willamette Mainstem Anchor Habitat Focused Investment Partnership.
Will the Network be a grantmaker?
The Network aims to be a source of funding for river health efforts in the Willamette Basin. It will fundraise on behalf of the Willamette Basin river health community, attracting support for our partners’ basin-wide vision and pursuing grant opportunities that may not be available to individual partner groups operating on a smaller scale.
When will the Network be up and running?
The basic infrastructure for this Network, including a governing board and staff director, is already in place. The director and board will be working in the coming months to hire additional staff and build out Network programs.
How can I get involved?
Join our mailing list to get updated on our planning process and alerts about opportunities to get involved.