One of the area’s phosphate giants recently contributed, through its foundation, the biggest single donation to a volunteer group working to get Tampa Bay back to its former pristine state.
About the same time, employees for the Mosaic Company pitched in with some physical labor, helping in the creation of an oyster bar near Green Key meant to increase habitat in the bay, which will, in turn, help clean the water.
The Mosaic Company Foundation awarded a $225,000 grant to Tampa Bay Watch to support initiatives over the next three years for the oyster bar creation.
“We are honored that Mosaic has chosen to invest in our community in a big way,” said Tampa Bay Watch President Peter Clark.
“Building an oyster reef is challenging,” Clark said.
After completing a six- to eight-month permitting process, the non profit and about 40 volunteers at a time will shovel some eight tons of fossilized oyster shells into mesh bags, then transport them by boat to Green Key, home to colonial bird species like great blue herons and white ibis. The island is located just south of where the Alafia River dumps in to Tampa Bay.
Some of those volunteers come from Mosaic, a company recently given the United Way Worldwide’s Spirit of America Summit award for philanthropy and community impact. It is United Way’s highest national honor for a corporation.
“The biggest thing we do is to ensure that our employees have a good idea of how United Way works in our community, in the areas where they live and work,” said Nicholas Schmidt, manager of community engagement for Mosaic. “They are hugely involved in local efforts.”
Companywide, Mosaic has a 71 percent participation rate in United Way, an umbrella agency for non-profit groups. In Florida, the participation rate is 75 percent, said Mosaic spokesman Dave Townsend.
The Mosaic Company, its employees and The Mosaic Company Foundation contributed $25.4 million in community investments worldwide in 2012—including in-kind gifts totaling $3.7 million and $4 million raised through the company’s annual United Way campaign. The company has 8,000 employees, worldwide.