April 20, 2016; NewYorkUpstate.com

In celebration of Earth Week, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced that $1.8 million in grant funding would be distributed across 55 nonprofit land trusts during the upcoming fiscal year. This historic level of funding will help to support programs that protect farmland and other natural resources as well supporting urban initiatives such as community gardens. In addition, grants were given to organizations that have committed to the Land Trust Alliance’s goal of having 40 nationally accredited land trusts in New York by the year 2020.

This $1.8 million in grant funding from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund will continue to have a positive economic impact on the state of New York, as it will allow organizations to leverage an estimated additional $2.25 million from other funding sources. Leveraging one source of funding to secure others is a common and often successful strategy in many nonprofits. Talking to other potential funders with support already in hand shows there is confidence in a program or service, and also increases the number of stakeholders around a given cause.

State senators praised the investments as a “win” for each community in which the organizations are based. These grants have a positive impact on the local economy as well as on the environment. It is estimated that each dollar invested through the various grants generates $7 in tourism and improved public health. Jobs are created or sustained to deliver the outcomes of the grant. This is in addition to other economic benefits of increased property values and supporting local businesses.

The grants awarded ranged from $80,000 to $2,750. By region, the Finger Lakes area received the largest percentage of the funding, with awards totaling $310,500. Projects supported through the initiative include:

  • $80,000 Professional Development Grant for the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy.
  • $30,000 Capacity Grant for the Finger Lakes Land Trust.
  • $30,000 Capacity Grant for Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo.

—Kelley Malcolm