Peel Watershed; Photo by Peter Mather, Courtesy of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
2019 was a big year for The Conservation Alliance. We turned 30, and this milestone delivered a memorable year of change and growth. The Conservation Alliance Board of Directors welcomed Brady Robinson as the organization’s new executive director. Brady took the helm from outgoing executive director John Sterling, who helped grow The Conservation Alliance for 23 years. We celebrated the completion of 24 conservation projects that protected millions of acres of wild lands and hundred of river miles. Conor McElyea, our new Membership Program Manager, grew our alliance to a record 250 companies.
We are proud to have awarded $2 million in funding to 60 organizations working to protect and defend our shared wild places. Collectively, these groups helped protect 22,509,324 acres of land, 468 river miles and three climbing areas. 2019 marked the first Congressional passage of a public lands bill in over a decade, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. This act pushed eight Conservation Alliance priorities over the finish line and secured protections for 2.5 million acres and 679 river miles, and permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund. We also awarded $180,000 in grants from our Public Lands Defense Fund to 10 organizations working to defend existing protected public lands and core environmental laws.
In addition to our grant-making, we focused on increasing advocacy with a focus on demonstrating business support for protected wild places, bringing our voices to decision-makers in Washington, DC and on the local level. Through collecting annual membership dues from outdoor industry companies, and granting 100% of those dues to organizations working to protect specific wild lands and waterways throughout North America, and supplementing those grants with business advocacy, we brought outdoor industry voices and resources to bear on important efforts to protect and defend our wild places. Here are the highlights from 2019:
- In total, we awarded a record $2 million in funding to grassroots organizations through the general grant fund and the Public Lands Defense Fund.
- We contributed $1,820,000 to 50 organizations working to secure new protections for North America’s wild places.
- We granted another $180,000 from our Public Lands Defense Fund to 10 organizations working to defend existing protected public lands and core environmental laws.
- Our grantees delivered 24 important conservation victories.
- We added 24 new members.
- We benefited from more than 20 members in our Leading Edge program, which gives individuals the opportunity to make significant contributions to The Conservation Alliance.
- Through our advocacy program, we engaged our members in efforts to protect and defend our public lands and other special wild places.
- We organized nine Backyard Collective events, on-the-ground stewardship projects designed to give employees of our member companies the opportunity to volunteer for our grantees.
We are proud of the work we accomplished in 2019 and we are honored to act as the connecting point between the outdoor industry and the conservation community. 2020 is shaping up to be a year of even more changes and opportunities, and we are excited and optimistic for what it holds.