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Center for the Environment Receives $121,660 for Campaign for Clean Air, Seeking Additional Funds

The Center for the Environment at Catawba College has secured commitments for $121,660 in matching funds toward a $272,000 goal for its Campaign for Clean Air, a four-year air quality improvement initiative aimed at addressing the significant air quality issues affecting our region.  Sponsor gifts range from $1,000 to $25,000 with the average gift slightly more than $11,000.

If the required matching dollars are secured, the North Carolina Department of Transportation will reimburse the Center for 80 percent of the four-year $1.2-million initiative.  

Center Executive Director John Wear notes that securing commitments for these matching funds is essential to the success of the Centerís air quality efforts. ěWe have a rare opportunity to dramatically increase our impact by leveraging over $1 million in public funding,î he says.    

Campaign for Clean Air sponsors to date include the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Food Lion, Duke Energy Foundation, F&M Bank, Power Curbers, N Focus, Caniche, Global Contact Services, the First United Church of Christ Foundation, Square D and the Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation.

ěWe are most grateful to these sponsors,î says Jay Laurens, the Centerís director of resource development. ěThey clearly understand the importance of clean air to the health of our citizens and the health of our local economy. These generous gifts reflect their endorsement of the Center and its efforts.î

The American Lung Associationís recently released State of the Air Report ranks Rowan County as the 13th worst county or parish in the nation for ground-level ozone concentration levels. Of the twelve counties ranked worse than Rowan, 10 are in California and two are in Texas. The average population of the 12 is nearly two million citizens. Rowan has a population of 130,000.

ěThe fact that our ozone pollution levels are comparable to some of the most urbanized, densely populated counties in the nation should be of concern to all of us,î says Wear. ěThrough the Campaign for Clean Air, we hope to educate and empower our citizens to address this important issue.î

The Center began its initial Clean Air Initiative in 2004, when it assumed a leadership role in the effort to reduce ground-level ozone in our region. Numerous experts in the field of air quality have visited the Catawba College campus to dialogue with government officials, community leaders, and concerned citizens about approaches to mitigating air pollution, which affects the health of area citizens and the health of the economy.  

If you are interested in being a sponsor of the Campaign for Clean Air, please contact Jay Laurens at 704-637-4295.    

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