Water. Ubiquitous for so many of us. We don’t think twice about it until it’s not there. Bay Area residents are fortunate to receive the majority of our drinking water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. A proposition to shut down the dam signaled far-reaching implications and detrimental effects for all Bay Area residents, especially those most vulnerable. Staggering costs anticipated in closing the dam and developing alternative sources of water would have forced redirecting millions of dollars in funding from essential health and human services.
The San Francisco Foundation felt compelled to take a position, and joined a coalition of organizations and government in opposing the proposition. Our $100,000 grant to Save Hetch Hetchy was instrumental in the No campaign. Our lead investment meant the campaign was able to carry out a winning strategy that targeted ethnic media and engaged constituents of color, a move that ultimately tipped the scales in November. Voters struck down the measure by a large margin of 76.9%, preserving this source of pristine water and clean energy, protecting city funding of critical services.
IMPACT: The $100,000 investment to Save Hetch Hetchy opened a diverse civic dialogue about the issue. The proposition was defeated, thereby protecting city and county funding for critical services.