Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters: Awarded $125,000 in grants to support water and climate change projects

Contact: Jane Elder, Wisconsin Academy executive director, 608.263.1692 x11

Jason A. Smith, Wisconsin Academy communications director, 608.263.1692 x21

Madison, WI—The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters has been awarded three significant grants to continue its ongoing “Wisconsin Initiatives” on environmental challenges. The Chicago-based Joyce Foundation has awarded $50,000 to support the Wisconsin Academy’s “Waters of Wisconsin” project, which seeks to develop strategies to safeguard aquatic ecosystems and water resources in our state. Waters of Wisconsin programming in the year ahead is also supported by $35,000 from The Brico Fund, based in Milwaukee.

The Sally Mead Hands Foundation, based in Madison, has provided $40,000 to support the Wisconsin Academy’s complementary initiative on climate change and energy use, called “Wisconsin’s Climate and Energy Future.”

“We are tremendously appreciative of support from The Joyce Foundation, The Brico Fund and the Sally Mead Hands Foundation,” says Jane Elder, executive director of the Wisconsin Academy, an independent nonprofit based in Madison, Wisconsin. “As an interdisciplinary organization working at the intersection of the sciences, arts and letters, we can play a unique role in bringing together people from a wide range of fields to examine—and help solve—our most pressing challenges. We will continue building a statewide network of experts in the water, climate and energy fields, as well as engaged citizens who want a better future in which Wisconsin prospers but also protects its precious natural resources.”

The current water initiative builds upon the Wisconsin Academy’s original Waters of Wisconsin effort from 2000–2003. The renewed project has examined progress over the last decade and is now focusing on new threats affecting our freshwater ecosystems. Joyce Foundation and Brico Fund support will be used to develop a statewide leadership network to collaborate on strategies that will protect our waters. Experts will examine issues such as nutrient pollution and water conservation. Public communications will share recommendations and help state residents at large get involved in water issues.

The climate and energy initiative supported by the Sally Mead Hands Foundation will build on Wisconsin Academy efforts of the past year, which included public forums in Madison, Milwaukee, and Ashland, as well as special coverage in the Wisconsin Academy’s magazine, Wisconsin People & Ideas. Project focus for the year ahead will be the development of a “road map” of specific recommendations for Wisconsin to address climate change and support clean, efficient energy choices that reduce the state’s carbon footprint. The recommendations will grow out of the Wisconsin Academy’s work with scientists, business and utility leaders, educators, farmers and many others engaged in these issues.

Those interested in exploring the Wisconsin Academy’s water and climate change projects are encouraged to visit www.wisconsinacademy.org, where there is an archive of selected video from the preceding year’s events, and where more content will be added in the future.

Founded in 1870, the Wisconsin Academy brings people together at the intersection of the sciences, arts and letters to inspire discovery, illuminate creative work, and foster civil dialogue on important issues. We connect Wisconsin people and ideas for a better world. Our Initiatives program investigates major issues and fosters dialogue about responsive approaches and potential solutions. Other Wisconsin Academy programs include the James Watrous Gallery at Overture Center for the Arts; Wisconsin People & Ideas, a magazine highlighting Wisconsin thought and culture; and Academy Evenings, a statewide series of public talks on timely subjects. Visit www.wisconsinacademy.org for more information.

The Joyce Foundation supports the development of policies that both improve the quality of life for people in the Great Lakes region and serve as models for the rest of the country. The foundation focuses on today’s most pressing problems while also informing the public policy decisions critical to creating opportunity and achieving long-term solutions. The work is based on sound research and is focused on where the foundation can add the most value. The Joyce Foundation encourages innovative and collaborative approaches with a regional focus and the potential for a national reach. Learn more at www.joycefdn.org.

The vision of The Brico Fund is to create effective, innovative systemic change that results in changed attitudes, behaviors and policies. Guided by the values of interdependence, fairness, and equality, The Brico Fund aims to secure full participation in society for women and girls, to sustain our natural environment, and to promote a just and equitable society. More information is available at www.bricofund.org.

In the spirit of her giving heart and her descendants’ desire to continue her commitment to the creation of a better world, the Sally Mead Hands Foundation supports projects that increase human and environmental capital in a world of limited resources. Sally Mead Hands (1926–2008) was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.