Gig Harbor, WA—(March 31, 2022) The Kurt Grinnell Aquaculture Scholarship Foundation, an organization established in 2021 to carry on the legacy of the late Kurt Grinnell, today announced its inaugural officers and directors.
Grinnell, an aquaculture champion as well as Councilman and citizen of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, passed away tragically in April 2021. In his honor, the Foundation was created to provide scholarships to enrolled members of federally recognized US tribes or Canadian-recognized First Nations to pursue studies in aquaculture or a closely related field at either a technical school, community college, or university.
Grinnell, who served as Vice President of the Northwest Aquaculture Alliance, was a beloved tribal leader, a well-known and respected youth advocate, family man, and business leader. To continue his vision, several of Grinnell’s friends and colleagues—working closely with the Grinnell family—decided to honor him by helping indigenous people embrace aquaculture as a career.
“Kurt’s vision—which the Foundation intends to keep alive—was to help bring more indigenous people into aquaculture as a way to assure Tribal and First Nation food security and food sovereignty now and for future generations,” said Jim Parsons, longtime friend and business partner of Kurt Grinnell, and key player in the creation of the Foundation. Parsons is the current CEO of Jamestown Seafood, the company that Kurt and his wife, Terri, started.
“Kurt embodied the belief of his culture that it is important to plan seven generations ahead. He understood that the culture of finfish, shellfish, and aquatic plants was an important solution to the decline in harvest of traditional wild species, as well as a way for Pacific Northwest Tribes to harvest seafood in their usual and accustomed areas as guaranteed under federal treaties,” noted John Dentler, longtime business partner and friend of Kurt Grinnell, who played a key role in forming the organization that today has achieved Internal Revenue Service Section 501c3 status as a charitable organization.
Dentler, a retired aquaculture industry executive, now serves as the Foundation’s President and Treasurer; Vice President is Levana Mastrangelo, First Nations Relations Coordinator for CERMAQ Canada, who also serves as a Director on the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ (Ucluelet First Nation) Holdings for Economic Development; and Secretary is Jeanne McKnight, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Northwest Aquaculture Alliance, where she worked closely with Grinnell in his role as Vice President and aquaculture spokesperson.
Other board members include Kurt Grinnell’s daughter, Jaiden Grinnell Bosick, a commercial fisher in Alaska, who will head up the scholarship selection committee on behalf of the Grinnell family; Jim Parsons, who also serves as NWAA Board President; Alaska seafood industry executive, Principal of Paraiso Springs Tilapia (Guatemala), and NWAA Board member, Wally Pereyra, Ph.D., Chairman of the Arctic Storm Management Group and ProFish International and NWAA Board Member; Dick Jones, CEO of Blue Ocean Mariculture in Kona, Hawaii, and NWAA Treasurer; Rick Goetz, Ph.D., former Marine Fish and Shellfish Biology Program Manager at NOAA Fisheries (now retired); and Paul Zajicek, Executive Director of the National Aquaculture Association, where Kurt served as a member.
Your donations can be made directly here: Contribute • Kurt Grinnell Aquaculture Scholarship Foundation (kurtgrinnellscholarship.org) and will help keep Kurt’s legacy alive by fostering aquaculture education scholarships for young indigenous entrepreneurs.