On July 7th, 2017, the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative hosted its third annual funders’ lunch in partnership with Southern California Grantmakers. This year’s event focused on the intersection of water, equity, and smart growth-related issues.
Twenty-one funders attended the lunch, including several who already work on water-related issues, including from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Water Foundation, and the Resources Legacy Fund.
Both the presentations by water experts and subsequent discussions yielded key insights on water-related issues in Los Angeles County that affect people, specifically in low-income communities of color.
Key Takeaways from Speakers
Wade Crowfoot, CEO, the Water Foundation
- 85% of water in Los Angeles originates from four river systems, all of which are under stress.
- In Los Angeles County, the Water Foundation is supportive of a process that could yield significant public investment in stormwater infrastructure, which could help create more greenspaces in low-income communities.
- Water quality and affordability need to be part of integrated water management solutions, such as the One Water movement, an ongoing strategy to break down siloes.
Liz Crosson, Water Policy Advisor, Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles
- Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Executive Directive Number 5: Emergency Drought Response – Creating a Water Wise City sets ambitious targets to reduce water use in the city of Los Angeles.
- Los Angeles’ Sustainable City pLAn links to water-related issues in multiple sections, including climate, environmental justice, green jobs, green infrastructure and resiliency.
- Water-related investments can yield a wide range of co-benefits, especially for communities and the environment.
Mark Gold, Associate Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability, Sustainable LA Grand Challenge, The Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA
- Multi-benefit projects could also help Los Angeles achieve water self-sufficiency, which could both generate green jobs and increase the quality of life.
- Strategic water-related projects could be supported with funds from the recently passed park and transportation bonds in Los Angeles County (Measures A and M).
Ways Funders Can Engage on Water Issues
As with all gatherings of the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative, the agenda included a considerable amount of time for funders to ask questions and engage in a dialog with the speakers. When asked how funders can learn more and make a difference, the speakers suggested the following:
- Support education related efforts such as #OurWaterLA
- Support research (the Water Foundation is supporting several water-related research projects)
- Attend future tours to learn more (the Water Foundation occasionally hosts these)
- Read the new paper on the optimization of water supplies in Los Angeles
- Read Toward Water Sustainability: A Blueprint for Philanthropy and learn more about the Water Funder Initiative
- Learn more about the Community Foundation Water Initiative, which is supported by Smart Growth California