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Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas Approves Million Dollar Grant for Conservation in Argentina as Well as Other Far-Reaching Environmental Grants

Submitted by: Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions, Environment

Posted: Nov 28, 2007 – 01:45 PM EST


Nov. 28 /CSRwire/ - NEW YORK - November 28, 2007 – At its annual meeting on November 26, the Board of Directors of the Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas (MCFA), formerly the Mitsubishi International Corporation Foundation, approved nearly $700,000 in new grants, including a grant of $1,000,000, payable over four years, to the Wildlife Conservation Society; $300,000, payable over three years, to the Grupo Ecólogico Sierra Gorda in Querétaro, Mexico; $130,000, payable over three years, to the Wild Salmon Center; $20,000 to the People’s Environmental Center in New Orleans; and $6,000 to International Funders for Indigenous Peoples.

The grant to the Wildlife Conservation Society, the MCFA's first million-dollar grant ever, will promote the conservation of the Patagonian coast and Southwestern Atlantic Seascape in Argentina. This unique coastal and marine ecosystem contains highly productive habitats which support squid and fin-fish resources, a large and diverse community of dependent predator species and a spectacular wild shoreline where huge numbers of marine birds and mammals breed. The breeding and feeding aggregations of some of the species that congregate on the coast of Patagonia constitute some of the most important wildlife spectacles on earth.

"We are proud and grateful that the Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas (MCFA) chose to support the Wildlife Conservation Society in our efforts to safeguard coastal Patagonia, a beautiful wildlife area of global importance," said Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "The leadership of the Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas will benefit humankind and demonstrate the power of private sector initiative in a world of global change."

The MCFA support is directed to five specific projects within this the Patagonian Coastal Management Plan, a multifaceted approach developed by WCS and various stakeholders to preserving this unique natural setting: 1) Southern elephant seal research; 2) Seabird surveys; 3) Southern giant petrel research; 4) Technical support for the Golfo San Jorge National Park, the first truly coastal marine national park of Argentina; and 5) Research and data analysis for WCS's Sea & Sky program, the first attempt at integrating research on individual species, biology and entire ecosystems in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean.
Mr. Ryoichi Ueda, the MCFA's Chairman, commented, "The Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas has supported the conservation work of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York since 2003 and we are confident that they are well-qualified to lead conservation initiatives in Argentina's Patagonia. WCS's scientific expertise and commitment to local stakeholder engagement is guaranteed to help preserve Argentina's magnificent natural heritage."

The MCFA grant to the Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda will provide timely support for the educational activities of the Sierra Gorda Earth Center founded in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve in the state of Querétaro, Mexico, Mexico's richest reserve in terms of ecosystem diversity. The Reserve faces numerous threats including inefficient agricultural practices, wildfires, pollution and widespread poverty and therefore the Earth Center's work with local communities to support environmental education, reforestation and wildlife conservation is of utmost importance. In fact, for almost twenty years the Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda has successfully worked with these communities producing quantifiable results, including increases in vegetation, reduction of illegal logging and increased annual income from biodiversity-friendly activities. The MCFA support would serve to replicate these successful conservation and sustainable development strategies throughout the Reserve as well as in other areas of Mexico and Latin America. Additionally, the MCFA grant would allow for the establishment and maintenance of an on-line virtual campus of the center's activities, which in partnership with the Open University of Catalonia will be developed based on the contents of a UNESCO educational package about sustainable development. Over the course of the three-year grant, pedagogical experts will develop further didactic materials based on local experiences.

The Wild Salmon Center (WSC), based in Portland, Oregon, is a science-based, international conservation organization with the mission of identifying, understanding and protecting the best wild salmon ecosystems of the North Pacific. The MCFA grant would support participation of Tribal and First Nation representatives in an existing public/private partnership that spans the range of salmon and steelhead fisheries in North America. The purpose of the partnership – called the North America Stronghold Partnership – is to develop and share models where healthy human communities and healthy populations of wild salmon can thrive together over the long term. Some of the healthiest remaining wild salmon rivers are managed or co-managed by Native American Tribes and First Nations which is why it is key to engage indigenous communities in this initiative.

The grant to the People's Environmental Center, a community-based scientific testing lab and training center established in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, will fund environmental education programs involving the use of science to detect and eliminate contaminants from the soil around homes and schools in the devastated city.
The grant to the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP) will support IFIP's first-ever regional convening in Querétaro, Mexico, in January 2007. The international gathering, themed Awakening Consciousness & Forming Alliances: Indigenous Peoples and Philanthropy, will bring donors and Indigenous leaders from around the world together to discuss emerging issues facing Indigenous communities.

Other grants previously approved in 2007 include a grant of $26,000 to support the Third Annual Indigenous Women’s Conference on Climate Change sponsored by Fundación Natura, based in Colombia , $25,000 to support educational signage in the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment's new LEED-certified building and $15,000 to support the Environmental Grantmakers Association 2007 Retreat, which was held in New Mexico in September..

In addition to the new grants, the MCFA Board authorized the payment of annual installments coming due for multi-year grants totaling $850,000, including multi-year grants of $400,000 to O Boticario Foundation for the Oasis Project, a watershed conservation project involving payments for ecosystem services (PES); $250,000 to Forest Trends to develop institutional support for PES in Latin America, and $150,000 to Sustainable South Bronx for its Bronx Environmental Stewardship and Training project.

The Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas, based in New York City, was established as the Mitsubishi International Corporation Foundation in 1991 with funding from Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan, and its U.S.-based subsidiary, Mitsubishi International Corporation. With a current endowment of $6 million, the Foundation has dedicated nearly $4 million to environmental causes throughout the Americas. Contributions for Europe and Africa are made by the Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe and Africa, which has given more than $2 million to environmental conservation, education and research since 1993.

For more information about the Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas, please visit www.mcfamericas.org; and for more information about the Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe and Africa, please visit www.mcfea.org.

For more information, please contact:

Phone: (212) 605-2121
Phone: (212) 605-2314

For more from this organization:

Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas


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