Friends gets $100K grant to boost shipping safety

  • Fri Jun 12th, 2015 6:54pm
  • News

Staff and board members of Friends of the San Juans display a $100

Washington Women’s Foundation recently awarded a $100,000 grant to the Friends of the San Juans to increase shipping safety standards in the Salish Sea.

Raising the level of shipping safety will reduce oil spill risks and other impacts to wildlife, marine habitat and people in the region, Friends said in a news release.

“Our $30 billion dollar economy depends on safe shipping and so do the 7 million residents that call the Salish Sea home,” Friends Executive Director Stephanie Buffum said. “Increasing shipping safety standards will protect our waters from existing and proposed vessel traffic and is crucial to preserving our culture, our economy and our environment.”

With multiple projects proposed that could increase coal and oil exports from ports in British Columbia and in Washington state, potential shipping risks are anticipated to escalate.

Each year, as many as 16,010 large ships transit through the Salish Sea each year. That number could rise to 20,736 given the slate of new, approved and proposed projects in the region, according to Friends.

To reduce the risks posed by increases in fossil fuel exports, Friends of the San Juans will lead a trans-boundary effort in Washington and in B.C. to designate the Salish Sea as a “Particularly Sensitive Sea Area” under the International Maritime Organization.

Designation as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area is a tool that the global community can adopt for an area that needs special protection because of significance for recognized ecological, socioeconomic or scientific reasons and because it may be vulnerable to damage by international shipping activities. Worldwide, there are 14 PSSAs worldwide, two within the U.S., in Hawaii and in the Florida Keys.

“The Washington Women’s Foundation’s Pooled Fund Grant Award has created the first wave of support in making the Salish Sea the 15th PSSA in the world,” Buffum said.

Washington Women’s Foundation President Beth McCaw says, “Friends of the San Juans submitted a compelling proposal to our membership. This designation will help to reduce the probability of an oil spill and to strengthen environmental protections for our region. We are proud to support their work.”

The Foundation’s “pooled fund grants” were awarded in each of the its five funding areas: arts and culture, education, environment, health, and human services. Its $100,000 grant represents a significant portion of the funds needed to further what’s required for the designation, but Friends must raise additional funds to complete the PSSA nomination.

To learn more about IMO’s PSSA, visit

Contact Friends at 378-2319, or

About Washington Women’s Foundation

The mission of Washington Women’s Foundation is to educate, inspire and increase the number of women committed to philanthropy in order to strengthen community and demonstrate the impact that can result from informed, focused grant-making. WWF’s pooled fund grant awards are determined by a vote of the Foundation membership. Foundation members, now more than 500 strong, have invested $15 million of in nonprofit organizations in the last 20 years. Membership is open to women interested in philanthropy.