The Gig Harbor-based Russell Family Foundation awarded $659,530 in environmental education grants to 28 Puget Sound groups on Thursday.

The foundation was founded by Jane and George Russell in 1999 as a way for their extended family to “make a positive impact in the community” by funding “local, regional and global change through community investment in causes including grassroots leadership, environmental sustainability and global peace.”

The grants were awarded through the foundation’s Environmental Education Fund, which increases youth access to outdoor environmental experiences in Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Thurston, and Pierce counties.

The idea is to support programs that help youth get their “hands in the dirt” and “feet on the beach,” according to a news release. Ultimately, the goal is to inspire a lifetime of learning, support efforts around stewardship and restoration, and encourage leadership development.

“We are inspired by the continued work of these community organizations to connect youth with nature,” said Fabiola Greenawalt, the foundation’s program officer. “These grants reflect a diverse set of programming that is available to young people in the Puget Sound region. The Russell Family Foundation is proud to support each one of these organizations, which are working to build the next generation of environmental stewards.”

More information on the Russell Family Foundation and its Environmental Education Fund is available on the foundation’s website.

Puget Sound organizations that received grants

  • YMCA Earth Service Corps – YMCA of Greater Seattle Camping & Outdoor Leadership ($75,000, multi-year)
  • Outdoor and Environmental Education at YMCA Camp Seymour – YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties ($50,000, multi-year)
  • Science on the Sea Environmental and Marine Science Education – Foss Waterway Seaport ($35,000)
  • Marine and Environmental Programs – Harbor WildWatch ($30,000)
  • OxEd: Educating the Next Generation of Environmental Stewards – Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center ($30,000)
  • Lost Urban Creeks Community Education and Revitalization Project – Puget Soundkeeper Alliance ($30,000)
  • Puget Sound Lifetime Adventures Program – After-School All-Stars Puget Sound ($25,000)
  • Greenway Education Program – Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust ($25,000)
  • PDZA Youth Volunteer Program – Point Defiance Zoological Society ($25,000)
  • Native American Student Middle School Environmental Enrichment Program – Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation ($25,000)
  • Bremerton Urban Roots, Outdoor Environmental Experiences for Urban Youth – Great Peninsula Conservancy ($23,000)
  • Harvest Crew Expansion – City Fruit ($20,000)
  • Environmental Learning Through Urban Green Space Restoration – Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association ($20,000)
  • Youth Valley Corps – Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group ($20,000)
  • Inclusive Environmental Education Program – Easterseals Washington ($20,000)
  • Environmental Science Education Programs – Friends of North Creek Forest ($20,000)
  • Nisqually Environmental Teens Team – Nisqually Indian Tribe ($20,000)
  • General Operations – Vashon Nature Center ($20,000)
  • Equity Advocacy Internship Program – World Relief Seattle ($20,000)
  • Growing Ocean Stewards – Port Townsend Marine Science Center ($19,530)
  • Outdoor Education and Stewardship Program – Camp Fire Central Puget Sound ($15,000)
  • Water World – Centrum ($15,000)
  • Seventh Grade Maritime Discovery Program– Northwest Maritime Center ($15,000)
  • General Operations – Pacific Shellfish Institute ($15,000)
  • 2019 Inclusive Pathways for Environmental Leadership – UW Botanic Gardens ($15,000)
  • General Operations – Wild Society ($15,000)
  • General Operations – South Sound Estuary Association (Puget Sound Estuarium) ($10,000)
  • Youth Mentor Training Program – Camp Solomon Schechter ($7,000)




Thumbnail photo courtesy of Pixabay