Podcast: Paul Brest, Author, Innovator and Philanthropist

April 27, 2014

Paul Brest, author, innovator and philanthropist, joined me for the latest episode of freshwater Talk.

A former dean of Stanford Law, president of the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Supreme Court clerk, and member of the American Academy of Arts and Science and Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Brest has had an impressive impact on the worlds of constitutional law, philanthropy and academia.

Brest was pivotal in helping develop the Hewlett Foundation’s practice of “outcome-focused philanthropy,” which requires articulating the exact aims of grant making and focusing on very specific project outcomes. For example, the Foundation’s Environment Program seeks to ensure that global average temperatures increase less than 2° celsius. By committing to a goal, the Foundation can be rigorous in the decisions they make about what to fund. It’s all about putting resources where the greatest impact can be made.

Sound familiar? The Freshwater Trust applies a similar approach to conservation. We calculate the ecological benefits of projects to understand how restoration actions help rivers – and ultimately how to best target restoration dollars for environmental, social and economic good.

“You have an impact when you make something happen that otherwise wouldn’t have happened,” said Brest. “It all begins – and a lot of it ends – with being clear about how you want the world to be a better place.”

I hope you enjoy this latest episode of freshwater Talk – whether it’s on your commute, while making dinner, or wherever and however you enjoy it. Once finished, please share with friends on Facebook and review on iTunes.

Stay tuned for the next episode with George Hawkins, General Manager of the DC Water and Sewer Authority. DC Water operates the world’s largest advanced wastewater treatment plant and provides drinking water delivery and wastewater collection and treatment for a population of more than 600,000 in the District of Columbia.

As always, thank you for listening.

Yours in conservation,

Joe Whitworth


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