Columbia River Funding Board

About the Fund

The Columbia River Fund was created by Columbia Riverkeeper and is funded through settlements of legal actions as part of Columbia Riverkeeper’s Clean Water Act enforcement program. Columbia Riverkeeper’s goal in enforcing federal water quality law is to bring polluters into compliance with the law, thus leading to cleaner and healthier water bodies and fisheries. In addition to ensuring less pollution, cases and settlements may contain an environmental mitigation provision in which local conservation groups receive funds to protect water quality. Columbia Riverkeeper does not receive money from the mitigation fund. Since its inception in 2014, the Rose Foundation has awarded over $1 million in grants through the Columbia River Fund to support community-based water quality stewardship projects along the Columbia River.

Funding Board Members

Sarah Matsumoto grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where she developed a love for the outdoors and a commitment to advocating for communities who are impacted by pollution and climate change. In 2012, she began her legal career at a small firm in Oregon representing plaintiffs in Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act litigation aimed at curbing water pollution from industrial agriculture. In 2018, Sarah accepted a fellowship in the University of Denver’s environmental law clinic, where she trained law students to become advocates for clients combatting oil and gas development, water diversion projects, and other environmental matters. Sarah returned to Oregon in 2021 to launch and direct the Community and Environmental Justice Clinic at Willamette University School of Law.

Sarah will soon join the law faculty at the University of Colorado, and will continue to train the next generation of public interest environmental lawyers and work to advance clients’ environmental justice and community protection goals. In addition to teaching, Sarah publishes and speaks about environmental justice, particularly in the context of hazardous heat, the food system, and animal agriculture.

Zoe Rothchild is the former Co-Director of the Northwest Fund for the Environment where she led the Freshwater Aquatic Ecosystems program and co-designed and managed the Community Response Fund and Environmental Movement Building Initiative.  A strong believer in the power of philanthropy and nonprofits to bring about change in our communities, she has served on a variety of Boards and committees at organizations that include, the Vashon Maury Land Trust, The Tomato Fairy, Women’s Funding Alliance, and the Vashon Center for Dance. Zoe is a graduate of the University of Vermont and holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies, and a Certificate of Environmental Management from the University of Washington. When not working Zoe can be found with her husband walking their dog in the forests of Vashon Island or in her garden cursing the weeds.


Tim Bell, PNW Program Officer

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