Gateway: News

GGHF announces grants to support watersheds, environmental education

Thanks to the success of the second annual Cider Swig, held on National Public Lands Day in September, the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation announced Monday the doubling of its community impact through the 2015 Lu Winsor Memorial Grants program.

This year the program will provide $15,000 in support to more than a dozen area organizations, agencies and schools for projects centered on environmental education, stewardship and watershed enhancement and restoration activities within the Key Peninsula-Gig Harbor-Islands (KGI) Watershed.

The grant will be presented to the KGI Watershed Council at the foundation’s annual Holiday Gathering, Grant Awards and Volunteer Appreciation event on Thursday (Dec. 17). During the event, the foundation will also award the first Distinguished Volunteer Leadership Award to one exceptional GGHF volunteer. Nominees were considered for providing sustained, outstanding volunteer leadership for a minimum of two years, demonstrating exceptional leadership qualities, and providing volunteer leadership that significantly contributes to the fulfillment of the foundation’s mission.

Other grants supported by Cider Swig proceeds will also be made during the evening to Key Pen and PenMet Park Districts, Curious by Nature School, and others, for their support of the event that drew more than 2,500 attendees from around the region and more than a dozen states stretching from Honolulu, Hawaii to Brooklyn, New York to Prince Rupert, north of the border.

Cider Swig is the signature event of the GGHF’s Parks & Environment Core Area Board, which works to provide support for initiatives that improve local parks, trails and open space resources, promote environmental awareness and stewardship, and engage greater peninsula communities in the protection of our natural resources.

With a mission to “protect, preserve, and sustain environmental, cultural and personal health” across the greater peninsula community, the P&E CAB is engaged on the ground through the EnviroCorps program, volunteer efforts on National Public Lands Day, Parks Appreciation Day, and other efforts funded by donor directed gifts.

“The collaboration, sharing of knowledge, visions, talents and time of the P&E CAB members from several area agencies and organizations has been amazing. The results have led to an especially powerful opportunity to connect and sustain our community on many levels, while having fun,” Julie Ann Gustanski, founding GGHF board member and Cider Festival chair, said in a release.

The ability to provide important funds to support key environmental education programs and work focused on water quality is dependent on directed gifts and the success of the Cider Swig, said Lindsey Johnson, 2015 P&E CAB co-chair said.

The 2016 Cider Swig is already in early planning with some interesting additions for the coming year, including a Cidermakers Dinner, which will pair regional ciders with a locally grown 5-course meal and music.

“We doubled our impact in 2015 over the prior year and hope to again double our support for the Lu Winsor Environmental Grants and other work in 2016,” Johnson said.