Water is the essence of life and vital to every person, economy, and ecosystem on the planet. But around the globe, freshwater resources are being stretched beyond their limits and the drivers of water stress are only intensifying.
Recognizing the urgent need to solve water problems at scale, a group of foundations launched the Water Funder Initiative. WFI is a collaborative effort to identify and activate promising water solutions through strategic philanthropic investments in the United States, starting in the West where scarcity and reliability of clean water are urgent issues.
WFI is supported by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, Pisces Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. WFI also receives expert guidance from the Energy Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Water Foundation.
WFI is a project of these funders, and the focus of this effort has been to:
- Identify priority strategies for water-related philanthropy
- Engage funders and support coordinated action on priority strategies
- Increase support for priority strategies over time
Because water is intertwined with so many social, economic, and environmental issues, tackling the world’s water challenges will be essential for making progress in health, energy, urbanization, and the food supply.
We have the knowledge and most of the tools needed to make progress on the problems that plague our freshwater systems—and there is an essential role for philanthropy to play in advancing these solutions.
Effective, strategic, and collaborative grantmaking already has made a difference by advancing critical policy reforms and new water management practices. But with the threats only mounting, the field must rapidly scale up this progress and take advantage of a fleeting opportunity to transform our relationship with water.