MacArthur announced a $2.5 million grant to the Center for Resource Economics/Island Press to help expand its publishing and marketing of environmental books worldwide.
Each year, the Foundation makes a small number of large institutional grants to organizations it has supported for a number of years, have proven to be highly effective, and are working on issues closely aligned with the Foundation's goals.
The Center for Resource Economics/Island Press has been operating since 1984, publishing books about conservation and sustainable development for both specialists in the field and for a mass audience. The center currently publishes about 40 books each year, many of which make major contributions to the field but are not likely to have large enough sales to make them attractive to for-profit publishers.
"Island Press books are crucial for the field of conservation and sustainable development not only because they serve as a source of new and innovative thinking, but because they fill an information gap, particularly for practitioners in the developing world," said Jonathan Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. "Island Press' distribution process makes these books readily available and affordable in parts of the world where environmental protections are often lacking and sustainable development practices must compete with local communities' dependence upon natural resources for survival."
Island Press will use about half of the grant to establish a reserve fund to carry them through dips in the bookselling market; it will use the other half of the grant to improve marketing and distribution, particularly in the developing world.
"We are at a crucial point in our development in which this major investment can catapult us to a new level of productivity and service to the field," said Charles Savitt, President of Island Press. "With support from MacArthur, we will be able to strengthen our marketing and distribution processes and increase our revenues, making us more self-sufficient in the long-run. But most importantly, we will be able to continue providing important and timely information to the people who need it the most."