Our plans for the future are ambitious and we know our community is curious about what we’re building. Here are a few things we know so far. 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 10-year 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. We believe it has succeeded in creating a more cohesive, effective movement for river health in the Willamette Basin. As we approach the WRI’s end, we are building a new, community-led Network to assume many of the support roles WRI has played.
What will the new organization look like?
It will live outside of Meyer Memorial Trust and may operate as a stand-alone organization or be housed within an existing organization(s). It will be 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 a director and some staff. 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 as a unified voice for actions that make a healthier river possible. It will be 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. We believe more diverse community leadership is important to the future success and resilience of a Network, but Meyer intends to continue to be involved as a partner. Our 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 enabling it 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 final grantmaking year ends in March 2019, 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 our 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?
We will be working in the coming months to build the Network, beginning with governing board appointments this spring. The board will hire a director for this new organization in the summer of 2019, with an anticipated Network launch of fall 2019.
How can I get involved?
Join our mailing list to get updated on our planning process and alerts about opportunities to get involved.
Have a question we haven’t answered? Get in touch.