Nearly a month has passed since the announcement of the deep state budget cuts that terminated the Sustainable Prisons Project’s two-year contract with the Washington State Department of Corrections. The Sustainable Prison Project (SPP) staff and students at The Evergreen State College have been working to secure alternative sources of funding to keep the Project moving forward. As mentioned in a previous blog, initial success has come in the form of “bridge funding” allocated by the The Evergreen State College. This funding will provide temporary breathing room, supporting the Project’s core staff and operations through June 2011. Even with the bridge funding, however, SPP programs and staff will be significantly reduced if additional funding sources are not secured. Therefore, it is at this time that we ask SPP supporters to step forward and aid in the continuation of the Sustainable Prisons Project by donating to the Project’s fund.
The need for the scientific research, conservation work, and education provided by the SPP is at an all-time high. The recent state budget cuts have induced severe changes for DOC: 300 jobs have been frozen or cut, monthly offender lock-downs have been implemented, and drug treatment and education programs have been substantially reduced. Meanwhile, the loss of biodiversity, accelerated by increasing pollution and habitat destruction, threatens the veryecosystems on which we all rely.
Many of our projects address these problems by connecting scientists, offenders, prison staff, and graduate students in collaborations to implement cost-saving sustainable practices, captive-rear endangered native species, while also providing a multitude of learning opportunities for offenders, students and scientists. If the Project ends, society as a whole will lose the beneficial human, economic, and ecological impacts made possible by the SPP at a critical time when the Project can serve as a national model for addressing societal problems in a healthy and sustainable way.
We are actively seeking grant and foundation support; it is our goal to restore funding to our previous level by June 2011. This process of pursuing grant and foundation funds, however, takes several months to complete. Donations received by the SPP at this time will help ensure our work continues as planned while the process of applying for grants is underway. If you have ever wished to be involved with the Project, or have been involved and have wanted to “do more”, now is your opportunity to make a difference by providing education, conservation, and life-changing hope.
Examples of what your donation will provide:
$25 = 100sqft of Rare Native Prairie Plants restoration
$100 = one fully raised Oregon Spotted Frog
$200 = total sponsorship for one Science and Sustainability Lecture in a prison
$500 = supplies needed for the new Butterfly Conservation Greenhouse
$1,200 = Science Training for Conservation Projects for offenders and staff
$1,300 = one Student Research Intern’s monthly stipend
$5,000 = Green Collar Job Training Program for offenders (beekeeping or arboriculture)
Despite funding setbacks, the SPP continues to receive regional and international recognition. We have received hundreds of notes and responses to the DOC termination announcement from people around the country and the world, stating their support for the project and their desire that it continue. The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University recently selected the SPP as a recipient of the “Bright Ideas in Innovation in American Government Award” for 2010. The SPP was also featured on the National Science Foundation’s website in a Science Nation video segment detailing the important impacts of the prairie plant restoration efforts underway at Stafford Creek Corrections Center.
While unfortunate, the loss of the DOC contract presents opportunities for growth. We are seeking participation from individuals, foundations, and agencies in the form of volunteers, ideas, contacts, and funds. Any contribution, whether it be $200 to sponsor the honorarium for a Science and Sustainability lecture, or a donation of supplies for our captive rearing projects, will make a real impact on the future course of the SPP and the lives of those it touches. We thank you for your interest and support, and encourage you to share in the success of the Sustainable Prisons Project by making a contribution. Donations may be made through the Evergreen Foundation by clicking here. We also invite you to share this message with others.
Please contact Project Co-Director Nalini Nadkarni (email@example.com) or Project Manager Kelli Bush (firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 867-6863) with any additional questions, gifting arrangements or information on how to become more involved with the Sustainable Prisons Project.