From their office windows, Caterpillar executives look out onto the Illinois River. This historic river, along with their more than 15-year history working with the Conservancy, inspired the company to make the lead gift to initiate the Great Rivers Partnership. Its initial $12 million contribution, through the Caterpillar Foundation, provided critical funds to launch this ambitious effort of protecting the world's great rivers and freshwater systems.
"Each of us shares a duty to protect these rivers, which sustain so much life," said Jim Owens, Caterpillar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We must work together to achieve lasting results that allow commerce and natural places to thrive side by side."
The gift from Caterpillar is supporting conservation, just as these rivers do. The international scope of the project attracted Caterpillar, one of the world's leading manufacturers.
From the beginning, Caterpillar agreed to help the partnership develop. Its commitment extends beyond giving and into action. For example, members of the company's leadership continue to provide guidance to the Conservancy, and they have offered to help the Conservancy raise additional funds for the partnership.
To build on Caterpillar's lead gift, the Conservancy is committed to raising $120 million in public and private support, and to leverage that with an additional $200 million from bilateral and multilateral organizations. This fundraising goal is critical to the partnership's success.