CURE is proud to announce that our long-standing relationship with the McKnight Foundation will continue through 2015 and 2016. In November of last year, CURE received word that the board of the McKnight Foundation approved a two-year grant to support the organization’s Water Program.
The McKnight Foundation is a Minnesota-based family foundation with several program areas. The Foundation’s website notes that it is “unusual in being one of the country’s largest foundations while remaining anchored in one state and still under the direction of the family board.” McKnight funds organization like CURE through its Mississippi River Program.
The grant awarded to CURE is for a project designed to develop a shared understanding of the causes of water pollution in the Minnesota River, build collaboration among partners, and better align scarce advocacy resources toward water quality improvement.
The McKnight Foundation has funded CURE for 20 years. Over the years, CURE and McKnight have both learned from the project successes and failures tested in the Minnesota River Basin. “We intend that this project, using a tool called systems mapping, will allow us to bring together and learn from many of the people that have witnessed these ups and downs in the clean water movement,” stated Ariel Herrod, CURE Water Program Coordinator.
Incorporating a strategic approach and taking the time to develop an informed plan for action is critical at this point in the Minnesota River Basin’s history. Water quality impairments continue to plague the river and its tributaries. Seasonal floods and heavy bank erosion are the symptoms of the Basin’s altered water system.
Yet cleaning up the river is not something that can be done with one simple law or one creative ad campaign. Rural community culture, land use, economics, and policy, are all part of the very complex issue at hand. “We will need to understand how all these factors interact with each other in order to turn the tides on pollution,” said Herrod. “We also need to develop closer relationships with others working on the problem so that we can better align resources and work together.”