ForEverglades Endowment campaign has raised more than $59 million to date
Photo by Mac Stone
November 29, 2023 - Thanks to a tremendous philanthropic response, The Everglades Foundation announced that it has raised more than $59 million in its first endowment campaign, ensuring perpetual protection of America’s Everglades – for now and forever.
The milestone marks a significant step toward achieving the science-based nonprofit’s goal to raise $75 million by the end of 2024 through its historic ForEverglades Endowment Campaign. As The Everglades Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, the endowment campaign underscores the non-profit organization’s future sustainability and unwavering dedication to its mission to restore and protect the Everglades through science, advocacy and education.
“The Everglades Foundation has been the guiding force for Everglades restoration through 10 U.S. presidents and Florida governors. We are now ensuring that our work will be carried on through future administrations and generations,” CEO Eric Eikenberg said.
“We will be the generation that restores America’s Everglades — the largest environmental restoration project in the world – and we are determined to leave a legacy of permanent protection for this national treasure and extraordinary natural resource. Our drinking water, our economy, and our very lives depend upon it.
The Everglades Foundation’s nationwide endowment campaign is led by ForEverglades Endowment Campaign Chairman Marshall Field V, a Foundation Board Member and longtime Martin County resident who is an active outdoorsman and head of one of the country’s most historically philanthropic families. In the campaign’s public phase, the Foundation is committed to raising the remaining $16 million over the next 13 months.
“After restoration is complete, the Everglades will continue to be threatened by encroaching development, saltwater intrusion, and greater demands for its freshwater,” Field said. “We must protect that water from being wasted, polluted, or diverted for private industry’s exclusive use. Freshwater in Florida is the public’s resource, and it must be valued for the biodiversity that depends upon it. This campaign is about where we want the Everglades to be long after all of us are gone.”
The ForEverglades Endowment Campaign launched quietly in 2022 with more than $1.6 million from three funds:
The Field Family Fund established by Marshall Field V and his children, Marshall Field VI, Jamee Field Kane, Stephanie Field Harris and Abigail Field Gerry.
The Nathaniel P. Reed ForEverglades Stewardship Fund, which honors the late “Nat” Reed, a founding Everglades Foundation Board Member, Everglades defender and former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and National Parks whose legacy includes the Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts.
The John Marshall Legacy Fund that honors John Arthur Marshall, the late environmentalist whose fierce conservation advocacy mirrored the dedication of his uncle, namesake of South Florida’s Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. John Marshall’s wife, Nancy Marshall, is an Everglades Foundation Board Member and Palm Beach County philanthropist who champions the Foundation’s college internship program and annual Everglades symposium named for her husband.
To date, more than 50 individuals, foundations and companies have committed to the endowment. Significant contributors include the Crawford Taylor Foundation, Enterprise Mobility Foundation, The Batchelor Foundation, Paul T. Jones and Sonia Jones, Mary Barley, Carlos and Claudia de la Cruz Jr., Karen H. Bechtel and William M. Osborne III, Jennifer and Joe Duke, Donna S. Hall, the Ashken Family Charitable Foundation and The McCausland Foundation, among others.
The commitments strengthen The Everglades Foundation’s agility in addressing top priorities and responding to emerging challenges, as well as the Foundation’s long-term sustainability. Additional funds have been established for endowment gifts dedicated to the organization’s three pillars of science, advocacy and education.
The Everglades Foundation’s work is driven by a team of Ph.D. scientists and a chief economist whose research and expertise guide environmental solutions, a team of advocacy experts who rally bipartisan support for restoration, and a team of educators who have created the world’s first Everglades Literacy Program for pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students, fostering a new generation of Everglades stewards through a STEM-based initiative that has trained 6,000 teachers and impacted 200,000 students in 30 Florida school districts to date.
“Restoring and protecting the Everglades is the No. 1 issue we need to care about for the sake of our children and our children’s children,” said Everglades Foundation Board Chairman Carlos de la Cruz Jr. “Access to clean freshwater is the most important human need, and it cannot be taken for granted. It is the life source of our health, as well as our tourism-based economy and jobs, our real estate, our wildlife, and our resiliency. Florida’s future depends on the Everglades – and The Everglades Foundation is determined to be here forever to protect that future.”
For more information about the ForEverglades Endowment Campaign and how to participate, contact Vice President of Development Jodi Farrell at firstname.lastname@example.org, 786-249-4424, or visit: evergladesfoundation.org/endowment-campaign
For media inquiries, contact Director of Communications Begoñe Cazalis at email@example.com, 305-202-1672.
About The Everglades Foundation
Founded three decades ago by two concerned fishing buddies, Paul T. Jones and the late George Barley, The Everglades Foundation has become the undisputed leader in restoring and protecting America’s Everglades. The Foundation led the charge for Congressional passage in 2000 of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) – the largest environmental restoration project in the world – and has energized advocates, built coalitions, and unified bipartisan support to secure joint federal and state funding obligations under the plan. The Foundation’s respected science team has become a trusted resource and voice in guiding the plan, which aims to recapture freshwater currently pumped out to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico and redirect it south, as nature intended, into Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.
The Everglades Foundation advances a powerful central message: It’s all about the water. Stretching from its headwaters in Shingle Creek near Orlando to its culmination in Florida Bay in the Florida Keys, the slow-moving Everglades, or “River of Grass,” is that water – the largest subtropical wilderness left in the United States that includes four national parks and provides habitat for nearly 2,000 species of plants and animals, more than 70 of which are federally threatened or endangered.
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Everglades recharges the Biscayne Aquifer, which supplies the drinking water for millions of South Floridians and supports an $85.9 billion tourism-driven economy that employs 1.5 million people. Drained, diked and dismantled for most of the 20th century to accommodate agriculture and urban development, the Everglades suffers from poor water quality, toxic algae blooms, fish kills, unnatural drought, wildfires, land loss, saltwater intrusion, water shortages and degraded wildlife habitat. However, thanks largely to efforts led by The Everglades Foundation, there are signs of progress: a balanced plan for managing Lake Okeechobee has been developed for the first time in history, freshwater is now flowing into the Everglades beneath Tamiami Trail bridges, a Restoration Strategies water quality plan is expanding treatment wetlands to clean water, and construction has started on the critical Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir, a project the size of Manhattan that is designed to improve the quantity, timing and distribution of water flows. The Foundation is dedicated to driving the completion of the EAA Reservoir – the project that will reconnect Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay, allowing freshwater to flow south again – as part of its “Focus 2030” strategic plan. If momentum built by the Foundation continues, the most impactful CERP infrastructure projects will be under construction or online by the end of this decade – a monumental environmental achievement.
With a Board of 35 directors, a staff of 36 employees and an annual budget of $15 million, The Everglades Foundation leverages annual support from more than 1,200 philanthropists for great public benefit. Along with its immediate, science-driven Everglades restoration advocacy, the Foundation has seeded long-term generational impact through its PreK-12 Everglades Literacy education program, a summer college internship program, science research fellowships for PhD students, and a far-reaching communications effort that aims to educate and empower the public about the importance of the Everglades and its impact on our everyday lives.