A nonprofit linked to a sea-rise advocacy group out of New York is planning a six-figure marketing effort behind Mayor Tomás Regalado’s Miami Forever general obligation bond.
With the city prohibited from funding its own political campaign, a 501(c)4 called the Seawall Coalition is planning to step into Miami and drop $200,000 between now and Nov. 7, when voters will decide whether to pay for $400 million in public works projects. Nearly half the money would pay for sweeping storm drain improvements, pumps and other efforts to brace the city against flooding and climate change, with the remainder going toward affordable housing, parks and public safety.
Matthew Eby, the group’s chairman and executive director of the First Street Foundation, said the decision to campaign for the bond came this summer as the foundation was pursuing its SeaLevelRise.org initiative to raise climate change awareness in Florida and Virginia. At one point, they met with Miami Commissioner Ken Russell, who mentioned the need for a bond campaign.
“We started the 501(c)4 as an advocacy group around sea-level rise solutions and within that we were looking around for what we should be getting involved in and heard about the bond,” said Eby. “We spoke with elected officials and that’s when we found out there weren’t any marketing dollars allocated to helping get the bond passed. That’s when we agreed to put $200,000 toward marketing.”