Deadline nears for 40 Chances Seed Grants Program

February 6, 2014

The deadline has been set for a new four-year program that will award 40 seed grants of $10,000 each, and engage young people in identifying innovative and impactful efforts to address hunger, conflict and poverty.

The application due date for the first set of four Howard G. Buffett Foundation 40 Chances Seed Grant Program funding is March 1. Applications are available at Download Full Image

The program will provide the grants over four years to the most innovative nonprofit organizations built on the effective philanthropic principles described in The New York Times best-selling book, “40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World,” written by Howard G. Buffet with Howard W. Buffett.

Students and faculty enrolled in Arizona State University’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation graduate-level course, “Strategic Philanthropy: Learning by Giving” (taught by Lodestar senior fellow and former vice president of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Robert F. Long), will identify and recommend seed grant funding for the most qualified nonprofit applicants. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation will make the final determination on all grant recipients.

Those organizations seeking funding must support solutions to social challenges in the areas of food security, conflict or poverty alleviation. The strategies of a nonprofit applying for a seed grant must clearly involve local leadership and management into the operations of the organization, and integrate locally driven design, development and deployment in its programs or services.

“We are excited to be a part of this truly innovative program to support an initiative to help the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said professor Robert F. Ashcraft, executive director of the Lodestar Center. “By identifying and providing funding support to new ideas the foundation might not see otherwise, it creates a unique ability to seek solutions from truly anywhere around the world. By engaging our students and faculty in the selection process through this philanthropic learning laboratory, they will earn credit as part of a unique class experience.”

Seed grants will be awarded twice per year, and winners for the first round of grants will be announced in the spring of 2014. Organizations must have U.S. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status or be sponsored by an organization with U.S. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status to be eligible for consideration. Forty grants will be awarded over four years, for a total of $400,000. Recipients of seed grants will be expected to provide a report on the grant’s impact following the implementation of funds.

Find out more information about the 40 Chances Seed Grants program and apply by visiting

Media contact:
Nicole Almond,
Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation

ASU report contributes to water reuse policy dialogue

February 6, 2014

In an attempt to inform policy conversations around wastewater use in Arizona, Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) released a new technical report this week. The report, "Water Reuse in Central Arizona," authored by Ariane Middel, Ray Quay and Dave White, explores issues critical to water reuse, along with challenges and opportunities for the future.

Covering topics such as existing and projected wastewater supply and demand, potential for increased competition and costs, the role of public perceptions and industrial perspectives, the report highlights issues vital to the water sustainability of Arizona and presents a framework to address public policy issues. Water Reuse in Central Arizona Download Full Image

“Several recent reports and commissions have pointed to increased water reuse as an important strategy to address projected water supply deficits resulting from droughts and anticipated climate change impacts,” said White, co-director of the Decision Center. “While we share this common goal, this report demonstrates, however, that effluent reuse is certainly not a silver bullet to water sustainability. Many issues remain that must be addressed as we move forward. There are technical, economic, environmental, cultural, legal and political dimensions.”

The publication is the result of a collaboration between ASU, Intel Corporation, and CH2M Hill’s WaterMatch.

“Sustainable water management is a key focus at Intel,” said Gary Niekerk, director of Corporate Citizenship at Intel. “We created the collaboration with CH2M HILL‘s WaterMatch, ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and ASU’s Decision Center for a Desert City to increase awareness of water sustainability issues in our local community.”

Once thought of as just a waste product, communities across the United States are increasingly considering wastewater as a valuable resource. In these communities, the effluent from wastewater treatment plants can relieve the stress on overstretched water supplies by replacing other sources for non-potable, or sometimes even potable, uses.

Effluent is currently used in Arizona for urban and agricultural irrigation, industrial purposes and for recharging groundwater aquifers. According to the new report, effluent reuse in the Phoenix Active Management Area may be as high as 82 percent.

A majority of effluent is used to cool Arizona Public Service’s Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. Some of these processes use effluent that has been treated for higher quality, resulting in reclaimed water. Reclaimed water is used to water parks and golf courses, as well as non-edible agricultural irrigation (i.e. for cotton).

This report highlights the current use of effluent as a key water conservation strategy for Arizona’s Sun Corridor – the combined metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson. Though beneficial for helping curb the demand for water in Central Phoenix, effluent offers many challenges for future water managers and decision-makers.

A key challenge for producers of effluent will be cost. Wastewater treatment is currently the largest consumer of energy in Central Phoenix. In the future, this process will become even more expensive as wastewater treatment becomes more sophisticated to remove the brine (salt) and pharmaceuticals from water. A key challenge for effluent consumers will be competition.

“Here in central Arizona, as in southern California and northern Florida, most effluent is already being reused," says Quay. "As the price of water supply goes up, so will the value of effluent. In an open market this may put it economically out of reach of current effluent users, who may find ground water cheaper to use.”

Thus, the key to keeping water management sustainable is to continue to keep effluent cost-effective in comparison to the cost of pumping groundwater.

In addition to the authors, contributors to the report include Rob Melnick, executive dean, and John Sabo, director of research, each from the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability, along with DCDC staff Sally Wittlinger and Liz Marquez, and student interns Rud Moe and Saad Ahmed.

The review is based in part on a series of interviews and expert reviews by representatives from public, private and nonprofit agencies.