Mar 10, 2014 at 8:59 am #1314237
When I die I want to give about half of my estate to charity. I'm posting here to get your ideas of what charity would best meet my goal for the money, which is:
To preserve habitat for wild animals in Washington State.
Any ideas/suggestions?Mar 10, 2014 at 9:21 am #2081410
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
The Deomocratic party
(just kidding : )
What's the group that buys land for wild areas? It'll come to me…
edit: Land Conservancy
(Old age is a bitch)Mar 10, 2014 at 12:07 pm #2081491
My wife and several friends have worked at Land Trusts. SOME of them are excellent for your purpose. Careful research is needed. Some are just donation buttons. Make sure it is accredited and dig deep in research. Most will let you get involved and see what they have done in the past. They might have work days where you can help in the field or in the office. Seeing how both are run will give you a good idea. You want a well run office, as the paperwork is critical to weather the land is taken well care of long term.
I do not know enough about WA state to recommend a certain one.Mar 10, 2014 at 1:11 pm #2081514
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Nature Conservancy – that's the name
(Old age is definitely a bitch)Mar 10, 2014 at 2:04 pm #2081534
nature conservancy as mentioned is a good one
methow conservancy is a bit more specific geographicallyMar 10, 2014 at 5:33 pm #2081593
Are the Nature Conservancy and Methow conservancy examples of trusts…or are they something different?Mar 11, 2014 at 8:43 am #2081779
In my limited understanding, a conservancy uses more "tools" or ways to manage land. They use trusts plus other mechanisms for land protection and management. They may buy land outright and then turn it over to another entity to manage.
A trust does not own the land outright.
My wife has worked for both kinds. Both are valuable.
Again, get involved a bit to see the health of the organization you wish to donate to. The Nature Conservancy, in my opinion, varies widely in professionalism depending on the state. I do not know about WA.Mar 11, 2014 at 8:58 am #2081782
Thanks for the feedback and advice. That's just what I needed to get started.
One wouldn't think that giving away $100 would take all this research but so be it.Mar 11, 2014 at 9:15 am #2081786
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
I would really do your research before donating to a land trust. Our local one ( Peninsula Open Space Trust) has been involved in somewhat shady deals, like securing land at a great price for well connected friends.Mar 11, 2014 at 7:54 pm #2081967
@sschloss1Locale: New England
If you're really interested in preserving habitat for animals, as opposed to just preventing development, I would stay away from the Nature Conservancy. Their working model nowadays seems to be to keep rural people employed first and allow "traditional" land uses. So that means that they allow logging and grazing and the like on a lot of their properties. Also, they have a huge, huge endowment which is mostly just earning interest for them. They don't need your money.
Local land trusts tend to be good investments and more in need of donations. But, yes, do thorough research before you make an final decisions. The Land Trust Alliance might be a good starting point–you can search there for something in Washington. http://www.landtrustalliance.org/
And good on you for wanting to make a donation. I wish I had enough money to give a big chunk away :)Mar 12, 2014 at 6:34 am #2082044
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
I like the idea of blending land conservation with a sustainable model of land use. I know firsthand that the two are not mutually exclusive. Having the Nature Conservancy oversee proper land stewardship seems like a brilliant compromise to me.Mar 12, 2014 at 8:54 am #2082091
Land Trusts are the ones that enforce and make the agreements how land is stewarded. They do it many ways for many uses.
Some are created by big developers to mitigate development impacts as required by law, some are specifically trying to maintain habitat for various animals, plants, clean water, etc.
Who heads up the organization, (or parts of the organization nationally, in the case of the Nature Conservancy) makes all the difference.
The Nature Conservancy is NOT a no brainer if you want to preserve habitat for wildlife. Their goal for a specific area may be just flood control so they subsidize agriculture to maintain openspace for a floodplain.Mar 13, 2014 at 7:24 am #2082403
Local government wants more taxes by not increasing public land for wildlife habitat.
"In 2011, the Washington Legislature dealing with a budget crisis rolled back the state reimbursements to counties to 2009 levels. Some lawmakers are discussing an increase in the payments, but others are building steam from the protest to suggest hobbling the wildlife agency’s ability to preserve habitat.
The small uprising in Asotin County is rallied by several more proposed wildlife-area land acquisitions. Most significant are the final phases of purchasing the 4-0 Ranch. To date, the state has acquired 6,434 acres of a six-phase project to buy the 12,000-acre ranch north of the Oregon-Washington border."Mar 13, 2014 at 8:48 am #2082436
Good article David. I think preserving more of that remote area would be great. Of course I'm not paying taxes in Asotin county!Mar 31, 2014 at 12:13 pm #2088093
I have worked in this field professionally, both as an environmental advocate (working on the charity side), and as a grantmaker (working on the side of the endowed foundations that have money to give to said charities). I'm not that familiar with Washington state, having done most of my work with international nonprofits.
But if you held a gun to my head and demanded an answer, I'd probably put my money on Conservation Northwest. This is for a few reasons:
The organization's mission and tactics are in close alignment with your stated goals (it connects patchworks of important land);
It utilizes SEVERAL different conservation strategies, that complement each other;
It's the perfect size for you, not so huge that it won't benefit from your contribution, but also not so tiny that it will no longer be around to receive your money when you croak;
I have met its executive director in the past and was extremely impressed;
It is financially supported by some particular foundations and foundation officers whom I know personally and whose judgment I REALLY trust. They do their homework and are very selective about which conservation orgs they will give their money to.
No affiliation, of course.
It's a good idea to go and meet with (or at least have a phone call with) the organization's director or fundraiser. You'll get a sense for its leadership and clarity of direction. In my experience, sometimes the most amazing organizations (in terms of true accomplishment) are understating their achievements in conservation, and others (often the really big charities, but I want to be careful of over-generalizing) are overstating. So you can't judge an organization by its website, its name recognition, etc.
There is no substitute for getting a personal feel for the organization via direct conversation. If you are considering putting them in your will, they owe you a conversation and should treat you with respect. See if they do that. Also, when you are including a charity in your will, sometimes it's important to include certain language, e.g. sometimes the charity is incorporated with a name that differs a little from the public name it uses. So, lots of reasons to check in with them.
It's all about leadership, having a very clear vision and a very strategic way to get there, and hiring smart staff. THAT is what creates conservation results in the field. It really has nothing to do with, say, how much is spent on programs versus admin.
– ElizabethMar 31, 2014 at 12:45 pm #2088110
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