MIAMI—June 1, 2016—To help build Miami’s network of innovators and problem-solvers and connect them to their counterparts around the globe, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced $100,000 in support to the Everglades Foundation’s $10 million George Barley Water Prize, the largest prize global competition focused on clean water.
$10 Million Water Prize Competition seeks breakthrough solutions on clean water by Erik Eikenberg, 6/2/2016
The prize, named after the visionary co-founder of the Everglades Foundation, will be awarded in 2020 to a team that can demonstrate a resilient, cost-effective technology solution to the global phosphorous problem – a problem that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has called “one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems.” The prize is open to any entrepreneurs, innovators or scientists.
Exacerbated by agricultural runoff from fertilizer use, phosphorous pollution creates toxic algae blooms in fresh water, which in the last two years alone has triggered dire problems in freshwater bodies across the country. In August 2014, toxic algae blooms forced a three-day ban on tap water use in Toledo, Ohio, and parts of Michigan. And now in Florida, a 33-square-mile toxic algae bloom in the southern part of Lake Okeechobee is on the verge of spilling over into the lake’s canals and estuaries, threatening fresh water on both coasts.
“This support will help us in our search to once and for all find a solution to phosphorus pollution, a challenge that plagues America’s Everglades in our backyard, and freshwater bodies around the globe,” said Eric Eikenberg, Everglades Foundation CEO. “The competition reinforces Miami’s rising importance as a place where global solutions are realized.”
The $10 million George Barley Water Prize is a multiyear effort launching this summer, urging scientists and entrepreneurs from around the world to design and complete an innovative, cost-effective technology to remove excess phosphorus from freshwater bodies. The competition will incorporate multiple stages and benchmarks over several years, mimicking the natural stages of technology development, with annual events and awards leading to the grand prize in 2020. Applications are being accepted for the first stage of the competition, and ventures from across South Florida, throughout the U.S. and around the world are encouraged to apply.
“The George Barley Water Prize aims to address a problem essential to our lives, and drive people to think big. It will inspire local innovators to design solutions for their community and strengthen Miami’s ties to a global network of entrepreneurs,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami.
Support for the George Barley Water Prize is part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and expanding economic opportunity. Over the past three years, Knight has made more than 100 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.
This fall, the Everglades Foundation will announce and award the first prize of the competition aboard the Miami Science Barge, a 2015 Knight Cities Challenge winner that is a floating ecological laboratory and environmental education center working towards a sustainable Miami.
Visit barleyprize.com to learn more about the George Barley Water Prize.
About the Everglades Foundation
The Everglades Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3), science-based organization dedicated to the restoration and protection of America’s Everglades. Founded in 1993 by Paul Tudor Jones II and the late George Barley, the Everglades Foundation’s science, education, communication and advocacy teams work diligently each day to accomplish this goal. For more information, please visit evergladesfoundation.org.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org/.
Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, [email protected]
Kelsey Swithers, Everglades Foundation, 941-400-8183, [email protected]