Dear Friends and Supporters,
I know all of you are busy dealing with drastic changes in the business environment and at home. Whether you are running a business, an organization, or a household, all of us here at The Conservation Alliance send you our best wishes and support, whatever you are up against.
I have several updates for you today on our response to the coronavirus crisis:
- Our work will continue throughout this pandemic. However, we have closed our office in Bend, OR, postponed upcoming Backyard Collective events, and have suspended all travel for the time being.
- We are moving forward with our Winter 2020 funding cycle as planned. We will announce this round of grantees next week.
- Our Public Lands Defense Fund is still active. We recently awarded grants to The Wilderness Society for their work to defend the Roadless Rule, and Western Environmental Law Center for their effort to defend Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.
- Nearly all our grant funding comes from member companies. Given the current pandemic and economic crisis, we expect a significant drop in grant funding and grantmaking for our second 2020 cycle.
- This is a difficult time to make ends meet at small nonprofit organizations. Operating cash is of critical importance. This week we launched a special Community Grant project designed to support grassroots groups who often do not have the luxury of huge cash reserves or endowments. We have invited 26 grantees to submit a request for a $5,000 unrestricted Community Grant. These groups have annual operating revenue less than $3 million and received more than $10,000 in funding since January 1, 2019. We hope this modest cash infusion will help our grantees during the crisis and demonstrate that we are all in this together. We encourage other funders and grantmakers to consider taking similar actions if possible.
- Grantees in the Winter 2020 grant cycle who are experiencing significant financial challenges will be allowed to apply some of their grant funding to general operations. While we remain committed to funding the conservation projects our members voted to approve, we understand that grantees must be financially solvent to continue their good work.
- We remain committed to placing a full-time Director of Government Affairs in Washington, DC and hiring a Communications Manager to support our work in Bend, Oregon. In light of the current situation, we have extended our hiring timeline.
I want to offer a special thanks to our member companies and Leading Edge members. Because of their support, we entered into the current crisis with a strong grant fund. We are largely spending it down with this round of grants, ensuring the funds are in the hands of our grantees in a critical time. We will need the help and support of our members in the coming months and years to ensure our work can continue.
Finally, I hope that you are doing OK personally. I’m writing to you today from my new home office. I can hear my kids scuttering around just outside the door. They will be out of school through the end of April, perhaps longer. For me and my family, this will be an intimate period of time spent together, of home schooling and hopefully a minimal amount of cabin fever. We are making a point to get outside when we can. While it is important to remember that many parks and gateway communities are closed, much of the outdoors remain open and unchanged. So maintain your social distances and enjoy the close to home recreational opportunities near you.
With very best wishes for you and yours,
The Conservation Alliance