Colorado Conservation Trust
Nonprofit Capacity Building Program 2011
Conservation land trusts have aptly honed a diverse technical skill set to execute complex real estate transactions on behalf of the communities they serve--ultimately allowing them to protect sensitive areas, wildlife habitat, farm and ranchland, community gardens, urban parks, and a host of other community assets. While trusts differ from one another regarding their focus, all trusts are faced with the challenge of maintaining and safeguarding the landscapes they have protected over time. These long term obligations create an unmet capacity challenge for the conservation community--one in which outreach to new and existing audience groups becomes critical to organizational sustainability. As children spend more time indoors, communities of color grow, and income levels stratify, trusts are faced with the need to find and build from their shared interests across a more diverse range of partners--requiring that they develop a host of new skills and core-competencies in communications, constituent management, education, and coalition-building. Recognizing these emerging needs, Colorado Conservation Trust launched the Community Engagement Pilot Program in 2009. The program aims to build organizational sustainability for local land trusts in Colorado--ensuring they have the capacity (human, financial, cultural and organizational) to effectively and efficiently deliver solutions to meet short and long-term needs, produce measurable results over time, and continuously advance their missions. Building from lessons learned during the pilot, CCT respectfully requests $200,000 from the Corporation's Nonprofit Capacity Building grant program to expand the program's direct relationships with four additional small nonprofits in Colorado over the next two years. Additional resources will be used to share best practices and strategies with the 36 Colorado land trusts through trainings, as well as with the national conservation community at conferences.