WE SUPPORT: The Conservation AllianceWednesday, September 7, 2016
Black Diamond and our founder/CEO Peter Metcalf have a long history of advocating not only for conservation of natural spaces and resources, but also for outdoor companies to band together in these efforts to achieve a greater good. It's no surprise then that The Conservation Alliance is a group we support. We caught up with Serena Bishop Gordon, a Conservation Alliance program associate, to find out more about the organization and its roots.
How did the Conservation Alliance come to be?
The Alliance was founded in 1989 by industry leaders REI, Patagonia, The North Face and Kelty. They shared the goal of increasing outdoor industry support for conservation efforts. We now have more than 185 member companies, and plan to disperse $1.5 million in 2013.
Since its inception in 1989, the Alliance has contributed close to $12 million to grassroots conservation groups throughout North America. The results of our funding have been remarkable. Alliance funding has helped save more than 42 million acres of wildlands, protected 2,748 miles of rivers, stopped or removed 25 dams, designated five marine reserves and purchased nine climbing areas. We follow a rigorous grant proposal review process that ensures our grants go to organizations that can succeed given the necessary financial resources.
Have the goals or focus of Conservation Alliance evolved over time?
Our mission to engage businesses to fund and partner with organizations to protect wild places for habitat and recreation values has been constant and laser-focused since the beginning. Over the years, we have worked to expand our membership-now including more than 185 outdoor industry companies-and increase our advocacy efforts on behalf of the campaigns that we fund.
What are some current goals for the Conservation Alliance?
We are constantly working to build our membership, in order to increase our grant fund. Membership dues are 100 percent pass through: additional membership equates to additional funding. By 2014, our goal is to grant at least $2 million annually to organizations working to protect wild places in North America.
Has the Conservation Alliance notched any key successes in the recent past?
In 2013 we have already notched four important sucesses:
- Vermont Land Trust (1,100 acres protected): The Vermont Land Trust announced in March of 2013 that they had been successful in securing the funding needed to purchase and conserve 1,100 acres of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry land. Later this spring, the parcel will be transferred to the State of Vermont as an addition to the Mount Mansfield State Forest.
How does Black Diamond support the Conservation Alliance?
Black Diamond has been a Conservation Alliance member since 2005, contributing annual membership to The Conservation Alliance grant fund and helping to support the efforts of our grantees through sign-on letters, trips to Washington, D.C., and speaking up and acting as model for conservation within the Outdoor Industry. Black Diamond also hosts fundraising events at the Outdoor Retailer Tradeshow and has been instrumental to the success of the Backyard Collective Project Events hosted in Salt Lake City.
How important is that support?
The support The Conservation Alliance receives from Black Diamond is invaluable; and it isn't just the check that is sent our way each year. Black Diamond walks the talk, they stand up for what they believe in, and they stand strong on their position even when it is the hard thing to do. Black Diamond has stood up against the development and sale of public lands in Utah and continues to do so; because it is good for outdoor enthusiasts, it is good for the environment, and it is good for business.
For more information on the Conservation Alliance or to see their list of grantees, click here.
Photos below by Tom Till, Peter Mather, Howie Garber and Jerry Dodrill