Dear Friends of the Puyallup Watershed Initiative:
We often consider our organization’s “superpower” to be our ability to invest in people – to help people connect and collaborate on projects that improve environmental and social well-being throughout the Puyallup Watershed. In the last year and a half, the Puyallup Watershed Initiative (“the Initiative”) has encountered significant challenges that have diminished this “superpower”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it unsafe to convene large groups of people, affecting our ability to work alongside each other. That in turn has made it harder to foster the community relationships that drive our work. At the same time, the landscape for funding sources has also changed in terms of strategic priorities and available resources. As a result, the Initiative’s funding prospects have fallen.
Despite these setbacks, the Initiative is committed and well positioned to finishing out our current annual cycle of activities; however, the resources we have will not be sufficient to support a new year of operation for the Initiative. After careful consideration of the Initiative’s strategic direction and financial position, the Initiative’s Board of Directors has therefore recommended that the Initiative wind down its operations by the end of 2021 and begin the process to dissolve the organization in early 2022.
In these remaining months of 2021, the Initiative is working closely with community members participating in our Communities of Interest to distribute our remaining resources. We hope this last round of support from the Initiative will help build the foundations for projects and activities that could preserve the best aspects of the Initiative.
The Initiative is immensely grateful to The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF) for launching the Initiative nearly a decade ago. The close collaboration and direct support from TRFF helped make the Initiative’s journey possible. In that journey we were able to create spaces and foster connections where community could fully express its dynamism, leadership, and creativity. We look forward to doing our part to help sustain that legacy and the progress that has been made.
We regret we do not have space to thank every supporter, contributor, and participant in this message. Instead, in the coming weeks, we plan to use our public platforms to highlight and celebrate the many participants who led the Initiative’s projects. We hope that these profiles will inspire new support for the people and projects that could carry forward the Initiative’s vision of community-led change.
With Sincere Gratitude,
The Puyallup Watershed Initiative