Washington, DC— Carnegie’s Greg Asner advanced through a venture capital-style pitch group challenge to win a $250,000 grant from Battery Powered that will enable his flying laboratory team to map the coral of the Hawaiian Islands.

“Mapping the health of Hawaii’s coral communities has been a long-term dream of mine going back to the early days of my scientific career,” Asner said. “This funding will finally allow me to do so comprehensively.”

Battery Powered is the member-led giving program of a private San Francisco social club called The Battery. Three times a year, the members select a different theme and hear pitches from experts and organizations who work on the front lines of addressing these important issues. The grantees are selected by vote.

“This was a very unusual, but exciting way to make the case for my team’s efforts,” Asner said of the pitching process. “We are always open to exploring creative new avenues for funding scientific research.”

This trimester Battery Powered chose to tackle the protection, preservation, and restoration of biodiversity rich marine and tropical forest ecosystems. 

“The challenges facing our oceans and tropical forests oftentimes seem too vast for us to make a difference” said Battery Powered’s Executive Director Colleen Gregerson, adding: “We are thrilled to support these organizations leading the way to conserve our planet.”

The Carnegie Airborne Observatory will use the money to create a comprehensive map of coral reefs in the Hawaiian Islands. This was one of five projects selected after a shared-stage presentation in which 12 finalists made the case for how they would deploy the member’s funds for maximum impact.

The CAO’s maps will enable large-scale conservation management of Hawaii’s fragile coral reef ecosystems.

“Never before have we had a systematic and complete picture of coral reef communities across the Hawaiian Islands. These maps will be a game changer for scientific research, conservation, and resource management efforts in Hawai‘i,” says Jamison Gove of NOAA, a close collaborator of the CAO team in Hawaii.

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