Steve Whitney on Regional Planning and Resilience in the Pacific Northwest The Bullitt Foundation's Senior Program Officer, Steve Whitney, just published a blog post on Resilience in the Pacific Northwest on the Regional Open Space Strategy (ROSS) website.

Leadership and Civic Engagement

We will nurture leadership, strengthen organizations, and broaden the coalition to create a more dynamic and powerful constituency for environmental responsibility.

In order for the Bullitt Foundation to realize its vision and to see its programs succeed, two fundamental building blocks must be in place. First, there must be strong and effective institutions that shape and advance needed policy initiatives.  And second, there must be an informed and broadly representative citizenry who actively participate in civic affairs in their communities. Increasingly, this means understanding the complex interplay of environmental issues and appreciating the direct connection these have to their own lives.

Through the Leadership and Civic Engagement program, the Foundation will focus on the performance of strong organizations. This will require careful stewardship of the environmental community’s leaders, both paid staff and volunteers. Success requires talented, results-oriented program and administrative staff backed by knowledgeable boards and reliable systems to provide adequate compensation levels, guard against burnout, and ensure effective succession planning.

The Foundation will underwrite efforts to develop the next generation of leaders, providing the resources needed to support leadership training, as well as the organizational assistance needed to recruit and retain individuals with great leadership potential. The movement needs many more people who are skilled organizers, communicators, policy analysts, advocates, and fundraisers. The Leadership and Civic Engagement program will support initiatives intended to reach young people from all racial, ethnic, and economic groups to attract them into the environmental non-profit sector.

At the same time, the Foundation seeks to create a political context that favors the work of the environmental non-profit sector. It aims to elevate the profile of environmental issues in the public consciousness, and to broaden, deepen, and diversify individual involvement in civic affairs, particularly decision making related to the environment. The program acknowledges the rapid demographic shifts occurring in the region that reflect the Pacific Northwest’s increasingly multicultural society.

Program priorities:

  • Develop and sustain capacity and leadership in the grantee community.
  • Ensure access to and utilization of best available communications techniques and technologies.
  • Educate voters and inspire civic engagement.
  • Foster effective alliances with a diversity of constituencies.