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Social Impact Partnership Development: George Barley Water Prize


Nutrient pollution affects nearly 15,000 bodies of water across the U.S., often affecting sources of clean drinking water. Algae blooms caused by nutrient pollution are conservatively estimated to cost the U.S. economy between $2.2 billion and $4.6 billion annually, but removing even a fraction of phosphorus pollution could cost more than $3 trillion worldwide. 


To respond to this critical challenge and elevate its leadership in water stewardship, The Everglades Foundation launched a $10 million competition, the George Barley Water Prize, named to honor one of its founders. The magnitude of the Prize required securing major corporate partners to fund and communicate the competition.


The Prize was created to discover a cost-effective solution to remove excess algae blooms from thousands of water bodies in North America that threatened humans, wildlife, and commerce. The EPA called the issue “one of America’s most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems.”


CCOP created a focused approach to partnership development to help fund and advance the Prize. We developed the overall positioning and messaging for the Prize, in line with the Everglades Foundation’s influence as a “powerhouse” in the environmental world, via science, advocacy, and education. We searched for organizations with significant business interest in solving the algae bloom epidemic -- companies in the fields of water filtration, manufacturing, agriculture, gardening and recreation, etc. We identified and helped secure Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation as a presenting sponsor of the Prize, a commitment that followed the company’s decision to remove phosphorus from its lawn maintenance fertilizer products. 


Secured partnerships, the most significant with the Scotts MiracleGro Foundation, which became the $1.5M presenting sponsor for the George Barley Water Prize.

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