I am pleased to announce that, as of Feb. 1, 2022, the Water Foundation hosts the Water Table, a philanthropic funder collaborative that invests in promising water solutions for people and nature across the U.S.
In the spirit of transparency, I’d like to summarize why and how this is happening and what it means for the people and organizations involved.
This move comes as many of us are working double-time to take advantage of the historic window of opportunity opened by federal infrastructure funding. It’s the largest government investment of its kind since the Eisenhower Administration and provides approximately $85 billion for water. We believe the Water Foundation’s partnership with the Water Table will boost our ability to direct these dollars to where they are needed most, helping to fundamentally transform our nation’s relationship with water.
“Water Table funders are committed to working with the Water Foundation team to expand the Table’s reach during this important time. In partnership with field partners and community advocates, our goal remains the same: to raise and align the resources people need to permanently change how water is managed in the 21st century.” –Ted Kowalski, Water Table Chair and Senior Program Officer with the Walton Family Foundation.
Now is the time to usher in policies that value water as our most precious resource. To do that, we need to change who decides how water is shared and delivered. Thank you to all our partners who are committed to a more resilient, equitable water future and who are going to such great lengths right now to make it so.
The Water Foundation and the Water Table were both started with this vision of sustainability in mind, and our missions remain complementary. Together, we aim to grow the field of water philanthropy and strengthen it by facilitating greater coordination among funders and with our partners in the field.
“This partnership between the Water Foundation and the Water Table will grow the national field of water philanthropy with smart investments that support clean water projects to advance fresh ecosystems, social justice, and human health.” – Jim Lochhead, Denver Water CEO and chair of the Water Foundation’s Board of Directors.
The Water Table collaborative began as an experiment to see whether funders could do more together with the field on water issues on a larger scale. The Water Table was the brainchild of the Walton Family and S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundations, which launched it alongside the Pisces Foundation, this organization (then the California Water Foundation), and Susan Bell, as founding Managing Director.
I had the pleasure of being a part of this founding team in my previous role at the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and worked closely with Susan to grow the collaborative. I have been delighted to see our experiment work!
The Water Table has just concluded a four-year Water Campaign that generated over $250 million in aligned funding, provided $32 million in matching grants, and engaged more than 85 funders and 85 nonprofit partners. These accomplishments would not have been possible without Susan’s steadfast leadership. I’m thrilled to announce that Susan is staying on as a Senior Advisor and consultant. I’ve assumed the role of Water Table Managing Director as part of my continuing role as CEO of the Water Foundation. Susan and I share a vision for the future of the Water Table, and we will work tirelessly together to realize it. Susan is joined in this new role by her team at Susan Bell & Associates, which includes longtime Water Table staff leads Jenn Kurz, Josh Lohmer, and Nicky Conroy.
The Water Table’s move to the Water Foundation gives this successful experiment a permanent place to continue growing water philanthropy. It brings together the capital, relationships, and expertise of both entities under one roof. Our goal is that the Water Table remains a fast-paced, impact-driven initiative, now in an enduring home with dedicated staff and ever-strengthening ties to the field it serves.
“I’m proud of the Water Table’s many accomplishments during its initial phase and excited for what comes next through this new partnership with the Water Foundation. The Water Table is advancing its mission with greater resources and coordination with the field.” – Susan Bell, Water Table Co-founder and Senior Advisor.
I’m grateful to all our funders and partners who are by our side as the Water Foundation and the Water Table enter into this new and exciting phase. As this transition proceeds over the coming year, with continued good work from Susan and her team, we will continue to share information with, and seek advice from, our partners to shape the shared work of the Water Foundation and Water Table.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, concerns, and suggestions.
As ever, onward.
With support from the Water Foundation Board of Directors:
Jim Lochhead, Chair/President
Celeste Cantú, Vice Chair