Since launching the Legacy Fund Campaign in January, The Conservation Alliance has raised nearly $2.7 million in contributions and commitments. That total includes $800,000 raised after the campaign was announced at the January Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.

The Conservation Alliance Legacy fund is an endowment that, once fully funded, will provide a permanent source of operational funding for the organization. The Alliance launched the campaign in January with $1.9 million in initial commitments from The North Face, REI, Merrell, Dansko, Patagonia, CamelBak, and former board president Menno van Wyk.

Since January, commitments have come in from Eastern Mountain Sports ($500,000), Tom and Sonya Campion ($100,000), Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd. ($50,000), Filson ($25,000), Waypoint Outdoor ($10,000), The Forest Group ($5,000), Kirk Richardson ($5,000), Dave Knutson ($2,000), the Gracie Charitable Foundation ($25,500), and an anonymous donor ($25,000).

"With these recent commitments, we are on track to meet our $3.5-million goal by August 2009, our 20th Anniversary," said Executive Director John Sterling. "Our members have risen to a steep challenge because they want The Conservation Alliance to be a permanent force in the outdoor industry."

The Conservation Alliance was founded in 1989 as an all-volunteer organization with no operational expenses. Since adding staff in 2004, Alliance membership has more than doubled, and annual contributions to conservation projects has increased from $360,000 to $900,000.

"We've proven that with a modest investment in operations, we can make a much greater contribution to the conservation of our wild lands and rivers," said Sterling. "With the Legacy Fund, we will ensure that our members' annual dues always go into our grant fund."

The Conservation Alliance will continue to meet with member companies to solicit contributions to the Legacy Fund. At the same time, the Alliance encourages individuals in the outdoor industry to make gifts.

"With roughly $800,000 to go toward reaching our goal, we plan to pull out all the stops," said Sterling. "The Conservation Alliance is a community of companies and individuals, and we want everyone to play a role in ensuring our future."