Story by Julie Schlax-Patrick
The National Wildlife Federation is proud and honored to have Jim Jenkins lead and serve as the Chair of the Coastal Resiliency Growth Fund (CRGF), a three-year commitment to raise $10 million dollars to support our powerful plan for building coastal resilience. The goal is to transform coastal ecosystems to protect wildlife and people.
Bringing true breadth and depth of experience to the role, Jim Jenkins is a conservation champion, a philanthropist, an adjunct professor of finance at Fairfield University Dolan School of Business and is on the board of trustees at Mercy College.
Jim is also a powerhouse with a successful 30-year career in real asset management including commodity trade, logistics and infrastructure as well as risk management, compliance and corporate governance. Jim is the president of his own company, Canachagala Corporation located in New York.
As a supporter of the National Wildlife Federation for the last seven years, Jim has also served on the President’s Leadership Council and has been a generous donor to the Coastal Resiliency Growth Fund as well as serving as the Chair. “When I started to have more time for philanthropic causes,” explains Jim, “I was impressed with the National Wildlife Federation’s bipartisan approach, their dedication to the environment, and as a professor, their dedication to education.” Jim also notes importantly that as a part of their operation, the National Wildlife Federation has tremendous outreach to teach the next generation of environmentalists.
The appeal of working with the Coastal Resiliency Growth Fund is the nature-based scalable model that will first focus on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. “We will work with the template to make it scalable across the country to build up resilient shorelines,” says Jim, “whether it’s the Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf Coast, the West Coast—wherever needed.” He also notes the National Wildlife Federation already has a proven track record with their work on the Great Marsh in Massachusetts that brought dozens of environmental groups, local groups and countless others together to demonstrate how coastal resiliency can be successful.
“The National Wildlife Federation has an impressive track record of success. Investing with them is a great opportunity to magnify and multiply your dollars for maximum impact. Money will be well spent on direct project costs and building capacity to sustain this critical work. ”
Jim credits his interest in conservation dating back to his formative years in the 1970s spending time in the Adirondacks fishing, hunting, boating and skiing. “At that time,” recalls Jim, “I could see the effect in the Adirondacks from DDT and acid rain and how it affected local fisheries, the land and local species. You could see the effect that people’s imprint had on the environment. Even though it was problematic, there was a reason for hope.” The passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970 (and later amendments passed in 1990 protecting the ozone layer, reducing acid rain and toxic pollutants) helped fisheries, the land and species come back.
As an investor in philanthropic causes, Jim notes that “The National Wildlife Federation has a great track record and investing with them is a great opportunity to magnify and multiply your dollars for maximum impact. Money will be well spent not on overhead or fundraising but on actual projects.”
Jim attributes the National Wildlife Federation’s success and longevity to the fact that they think global and act local. “They have a national imprint with boots on the ground in every state (affiliate) that reflect local demographics and statistics. They also have an affinity for weaving all the affiliates together to pull in the same direction to affect change—a powerful and proven combination.”
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.