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Seattle is a key financial and business center of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle’s spectacular natural setting and high quality of life have always attracted skilled workers to our area. Seattle’s economy is currently undergoing a shift from a manufacturing base to service and knowledge-intensive software, telecommunications, and biotechnology industries. Attracting the creative workforce needed by these industries and ensuring the economic future of the region increasingly depends on the region’s environmental and cultural strengths.
 
An additional 250,000 people and 47,000 new households are expected in Seattle over the next 20 years. One of the great challenges facing our city is accommodating this growth while maintaining a strong economy and livable communities. An important element of livable communities is green space. The parks, trails, and greenways that give city residents an opportunity for recreation and connection to nature help sustain a vibrant urban life. Forterra has recently launched the Cascade Agenda, a 100-year vision for conservation and economic growth in the Pacific Northwest. At the heart of the Agenda is building vibrant urban communities. With its focus on forested parkland, the Green Seattle Partnership will play a key role in meeting that goal.

Corporate sponsors, foundations and private donors will be a critical component of the Green Seattle Partnership. They will provide much of the gap funding needed in the early years of the program. Employees of our corporate sponsors may participate in large volunteer restoration events each year, providing a substantial additional labor pool. Sponsors will also be called on to make other contributions as appropriate. For example, they may be asked to donate supplies or services that can be provided through their company. In return, these corporations will have the opportunity to be stewards of their community. Companies can offer their employees both an outlet for community engagement and the chance to be associated with the largest urban reforestation effort in the nation.

During the first 5 years (2005-2009), in addition to staff support City of Seattle agencies will continue to direct existing funding streams to the Partnership. Near-term City funding will come from the following:
·    SPU’s stormwater drainage capital improvement program (CIP) funds ($150,000/year from 2005 – 2010)
·    Seattle Parks/Urban Forestry CIP funds ($150,000 in 2005)
·    Office of Sustainability and Environment’s short-term contract to the Cascade Land Conservancy ($50,000 in 2004-2005).

During the first 5 years (2005-2009), Forterra plans to raise $3 million from philanthropic support and community awareness through a widespread Green Seattle Partnership community campaign. That funding will greatly accelerate the amount of invasive removal, tree planting, and monitoring that can be done by 2009 in sensitive target areas.


The campaign is segmented into six phases, with funding benchmarks and tasks identified for each year. External fundraising counsel will guide campaign efforts and develop a fundraising plan. Complete details will be available in the Fund Development Plan, which is currently in draft.


By 2010 the groundwork will be laid for establishing long-term public funding source. That source or sources will provide the funding for implementation of the second phase of the partnership. This funding stream will need to provide a stable level of revenue at or above $2.5 million a year. Several possible mechanisms for generating this funding could be tapped either separately or in combination to meet the stable public funding goal:

1.    Issuing a city levy (either as a part of the Pro-Parks levy or as a separate levy)

2.    Increasing fees or rates for utility ratepayers for management of forested parklands as stormwater management (and other ecosystem services) infrastructure

3.    Allocating a portion of the annual Conservation Futures Tax to supporting the maintenance of urban forests lands acquired with CRF funds

4.    Increasing the City’s contribution of REET funds to its already funded urban forestry program

5.    Including Green Seattle Partnership funding in a countywide levy

6.    Seeking separate state funding for forest restoration for urban areas, or cities throughout Washington

7.    Setting up an endowment that would generate enough annual interest to support the Partnership

We will also investigate the feasibility of market-based mechanisms, such as selling carbon credits, for reforestation generated through the partnership. Corporate philanthropy is currently thought to play a minor role in funding the second phase of the partnership.

 

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