Berkeley-Based International Rivers Wins MacArthur Award

International Rivers/Flickr

The Mekong River in Northern Laos.

A Berkeley environmental group is getting a big boost to support its mission to protect rivers.The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded International Rivers $750,000 through its MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, which is like a "genius grant" for non-profit organizations.  

International Rivers works with communities around the world to stop big dams. Campaign director Aviva Imhof said the grant, which amounts to about a third of the group's annual budget, will go toward building up regional offices, communications work and adding to cash reserves.

"It's just a fantastic boost to the organization and recognition, I think, of the amazing work that International Rivers and our staff has done," she said. "But also just the amazing work of the global movement that we're a part of to protect rivers and community rights."

International Rivers has successfully fought dams in Burma and Peru in the last few years.

Twelve other groups received MacArthur Awards this year.

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