The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation announced a $30 million donation to The Nature Conservancy, a global nonprofit organization that works to address critical conservation challenges around the world.
The five-year donation – called the “Routes & Roots: Enterprise Healthy Rivers Project” – helps support The Nature Conservancy’s long-term water resource management initiatives and is expected to benefit 150 million people.
The project highlights the strategic importance of “blue infrastructure” – rivers and regional watersheds – which not only supply drainage and outflow for rainfall and streams, but also strengthen habitats and farmlands, generate renewable energy and provide cost-efficient transportation options.
“This contribution is one of the biggest gifts we have received in many years,” said Mark Tercek, president and chief executive officer for The Nature Conservancy. “It will benefit both people and wildlife across two continents, while facilitating the sharing of best practices to drive global progress in conservation. This effort to preserve great rivers is about more than just protecting fresh water today – it also demonstrates Enterprise’s leadership, vision and commitment to making a difference for the long term.”
Founded in 1982, the private Enterprise Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand and Enterprise Holdings, the world’s largest car rental company. Carolyn Kindle Betz, senior vice president and executive director of the foundation, made the announcement from the company’s world headquarters in St. Louis.
“Our philanthropic focus is not always directly related to our business, but instead reaches beyond to make a difference and improve the quality of life wherever our employees and customers live and work,” noted Kindle Betz, granddaughter of the late Jack Taylor, who founded Enterprise 60 years ago in St. Louis. “We’re thrilled to support and partner with a world-class organization like The Nature Conservancy in this effort to help ensure that healthy rivers continue to enrich our lives for generations to come.”
The Nature Conservancy will use the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation’s $30 million donation to help protect and preserve four major rivers and watersheds across North America and Europe: the Mississippi River; the Colorado River; Canada’s Boreal Forest; and the Danube, the Sava and other major rivers of the Balkan Peninsula in Europe.
The “Routes & Roots” project brings Enterprise’s major philanthropic initiatives total to $175 million.
“My family and our company have deep roots in St. Louis, and one of the world’s greatest rivers runs right through our hometown,” said Kindle Betz. “But in light of Enterprise’s international expansion, it was important that this gift benefit communities and their surrounding environment worldwide. We hope it will help more and more people understand and support the critical role rivers play in our lives.”
“We believe that understanding will lead to respect. And what people respect, they will also protect.”