Marine Debris Foundation Establishing Headquarters in Juneau

Image: Marine Debris Foundation.

The Marine Debris Foundation (MDF), established by Congress as a public-private partnership with NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, will base its headquarters in Juneau, Alaska.

The foundation, on the campus of the University of Alaska’s College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, has enormous potential, said Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, who made the announcement Feb. 21 in his annual address to the Alaska Legislature.

NOAA’s program is our nation’s sole government agency exclusively focused on the complex issue of marine debris,” foundation Executive Director Susan R. Sherman, said.

“Government agencies typically enter into public-private partnerships like this one to expand the scope of work they can accomplish,” she explained. “Government agencies by design have statutory limitations that private, nonprofit organizations like the Marine Debris Foundation do not.”

MDF will make its next open call for grants in the spring and issue its second round of awards in the fall, Sherman said.

MDF was launched with seed funding from NOAA as well as a U.S. State Department grant that in part supported the foundation’s first round of grants, for amounts of up to $30,000, which were awarded last year .

“In the meantime, our charge is to raise significant funds from the private sector to sustain and grow MDF, including our grantmaking capacity,” Sherman said. “Because marine debris is an international issue, MDF will make both domestic and international grant awards.”

“No one organization or agency can tackle marine debris alone, and partnership will be key to our success. Locating an office in Juneau will put us in proximity to agencies, academia, NGOs, Alaska Natives and others who are working on aspects of ocean health that align with MDF’s mission,” she said.