Eastern Mountain Sports has committed to contribute $500,000 to The Conservation Alliance Legacy Fund over the course of the next five years. The pledge brings the Alliance closer to its $3.5-million goal for the Legacy Fund.

Eastern Mountain Sports’ commitment comes in the wake of the Alliance’s January announcement that the organization will build the Legacy Fund to ensure a permanent source of funding for current operational expenses. The Conservation Alliance contributes 100 percent of each member’s annual dues to conservation projects, and must raise operational costs separately.

“Eastern Mountain Sports has made a strong investment in the future of The Conservation Alliance,” said John Sterling, Executive Director. “By pledging $500,000, the company is also pledging that conservation is a core priority for the outdoor industry. It is a gift not only to the Alliance, but also to future outdoor industry customers who value protected wild places.”

The New Hampshire-based retailer is a long-time Conservation Alliance member, joining in 1997. The company has recently increased its involvement in the Alliance. In 2007, Eastern Mountain Sports contributed 1 percent of sales from two Upgrade Your Gear sales to The Conservation Alliance and The Access Fund. Those promotions raised more than $30,000 for the Alliance last year.

“Eastern Mountain Sports is committed to saving wild lands and rivers for future generations,” said CEO Will Manzer. “We intend to make our partnership with The Conservation Alliance the cornerstone of our future conservation initiatives.”

The Conservation Alliance launched the Legacy Fund at the January Outdoor Retailer trade show with significant commitments and contributions from The North Face, REI, Patagonia, Kelty, Merrell, Dansko, CamelBak, The Forest Group, and former board president Menno van Wyk.

“We were already off to a great start, and with the Eastern Mountain Sports pledge we have taken a huge step toward our goal,” said Sterling.

The Conservation Alliance plans to secure contributions and commitments totaling $3.5 million by August 2009, the organization’s 20th Anniversary.