Board Approves ACWA Foundation, Making Aspirational Goal a Reality

  • by Pamela Tobin
  • Oct 14, 2022
  • Voices on Water

After years of discussion and several months of intense planning by a dedicated steering committee and multiple workgroups, my aspirational goal for ACWA of forming a new nonprofit foundation is finally becoming a reality. 

I’m proud to announce that on Sept. 23, the ACWA Board of Directors approved filing the necessary legal paperwork to form the nonprofit ACWA Foundation, which will advance the association’s efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the water industry.  

I can’t say enough about how thankful I am for the Board’s support, as well as the hard work and leadership of everyone who helped get us over the hurdles and toward the finish line. I’ve heard from so many people within our membership who agree that ACWA must be able to lead on this issue within California’s water industry.  

This foundation will provide a tax-exempt structure to educate, mentor, research and invest in the next generation of water leaders, while focusing on attracting a diverse workforce representative of the communities we serve. This nonprofit foundation will also provide a way to fund scholarships, which will open pathways for those who have demonstrated their potential as future water leaders.  

ACWA has committed significant resources into launching the foundation by providing staff support and covering the costs of legal services. I hope member agencies and corporate partners will help play a key role in furthering the foundation’s success.  

The foundation will operate independently from ACWA itself with its own Board of Trustees. It will take a little time for it to make a difference, but there is no better time than now to start making that difference.  

Forty-five years ago, ACWA’s leaders recognized a long-term need and created what is known today as the Water Education Foundation. Formed in 1977, this foundation today offers educational materials, tours, water leadership training and conferences that bring together diverse voices. Education about water was then, and remains today, an urgent need. Today, I feel strongly that we need to invest in attracting, inspiring and training tomorrow’s water workforce in a way that reflects California’s diverse population. The ACWA Foundation is poised to fulfill that mission on a generational scale.

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