Wallace Global Fund Announces Emergency Funding for Groups Dealing with Gulf Spill






Contact: Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director

202-452-1530 x 108



Wallace Global Fund Announces Emergency Funding for Groups Dealing with Gulf Spill



Washington, DC, August 3, 2010 ---Recognizing the long-term environmental and human tragedy ongoing in the Gulf of Mexico, Wallace Global Fund announced today it had authorized a special appropriation to support Gulf activists dealing with BP's massive oil spill.  


"The Gulf spill is a disaster of truly epic scale" said Janet MacGillivray Wallace, a trustee with the Fund who recently visited the region to investigate the disaster.  "Wallace Global Fund is taking extraordinary action to commit special resources and hope other donors will join us. The groups we are supporting are aggressively seeking to hold BP and the US government accountable for this unprecedented disaster and will continue to demand that local ecosystems are restored while the human rights of the local populations are respected." 


The Fund announced more than $600,000 in support to 14 non-governmental groups responding to different aspects of the spill.   Among them are activists dealing with the disaster's economic impact on local communities, developing an aggressive media and communications response, and calling for new regulations to curb corporate abuse.  


One of the special grantees, Saket Soni of the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice, underscored the spill's impact and the need for emergency funding: "The BP oil spill is a human rights crisis for directly affected communities.  Workers have lost their livelihoods, and in the course of the clean-up could lose their lives."


Nearly all of the recipients are local organizations that the Fund believes have been the strongest advocates to date in tying the spill to the need for fundamental change in our nation's attitude toward energy extraction and rigorous governmental oversight.  While the Fund had hoped national groups would play a more aggressive and coordinated role, it has concluded that thus far, the most effective advocates on the national stage come from the communities most directly impacted.


As part of the package, Wallace Global Fund announced start-up funding for Counterspill, a new media platform to counterbalance oil industry domination of the Gulf story.  Counterspill will feature an around the clock Internet newsroom, video archives, images, and editorial messaging designed to counter disinformation from BP and others.


Chris Paine, the documentary filmmaker who helped create Counterspill, explained: "BP has its communications war room; Gulf communities impacted by the spill need theirs.  As the mainstream media lose interest in the Gulf oil disaster, it's critical that we have ongoing accurate information and a way to share news and stories.  The oil industry wants this story to go away so it can return to business as usual.  Counterspill's priority is to keep the story front and center, and ensure the truth is told."


The Wallace Global Fund is a family philanthropy guided by the vision of Henry A. Wallace, vice president to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Progressive Party candidate for president in 1948.  It holds assets of approximately $175 million dollars and annually grants over 10 million dollars in the areas of environment, human rights, women's empowerment, civic engagement, media, and other areas of progressive social change.


Groups funded by the Wallace Global Fund's special initiative on the Gulf include:


  • Wilma Subra with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network ($50,000)
  • Mobile Baykeeper ($30,000)
  • The New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice ($45,000)
  • Louisiana Bayoukeeper ($30,000)
  • Gulf Coast Fund ($75,000)
  • Turkey Creek Community Initiatives ($50,000)
  • Gulf Restoration Network ($30,000)
  • Counterspill ($80,000)
  • Philippe Cousteau's Earth Echo International ($50,000)
  • Papercut Films at the International Humanities Center ($35,000)
  • Global Green ($50,000)
  • Bayou Interfaith Sponsoring Committee ($20,000)
  • Advocates for Environmental Human Rights ($40,000)
  • Riki Ott, the leading Exxon Valdez activist, of Earth Island Institute ($40,000)





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