Everyone deserves to live in a healthy place and enjoy a connection with nature. When land trusts engage more people, they help improve more lives and build stronger communities.
The Land Trust Alliance believes land conservation can and should benefit all people across America. Land offers potential solutions to some of the major challenges of our times, including climate impacts, physical and mental health problems, and social and economic inequity. However, land conservation, like every other sector in American society, has developed within a racial, ethnic and socioeconomic system that has built and reinforced structures of power and privilege, causing the benefits of land conservation to be unevenly distributed and, in some cases, denied to certain groups.
With this understanding, it is imperative that we build a land conservation community that values and embraces diversity, and strives to model tolerance, practice inclusivity and work toward equity.
The Land Trust Alliance is committed to providing programs and tools for land trusts to create inclusive, welcoming organizations that respect diversity and to help them engage all people who live in the communities they serve.
But this work begins at home, with our own organization. To that end, the Alliance has created a framework for the Alliance’s key community-centered conservation and diversity, equity and inclusion priorities and activities for the years ahead.
We recognize it is incumbent upon us to develop deep expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion among the Alliance staff and board and to live those values. To this end, the Alliance is investing time and funding in trainings and changes to policies across the organization, including:
The Land Trust Alliance provides more than $4 million in grant funding to land trusts and other land conservation organizations each year as a philanthropic intermediary. The Alliance is engaging with funders and land trust members to better understand how we can adapt our grantmaking practices to increase access and become more equitable in driving resources to communities that have been traditionally underserved by land conservation.
Land conservation should reflect the values and priorities of all Americans. To ensure that everyone benefits from the land, the Alliance is committed to building and nurturing relationships with partners that are rooted in trust, transparency and accountability by sharing information, funding and other resources rather than extracting time, talent and traditions from them. Through such cross-sector partnerships, land conservation can become more inclusive and equitable and meet the needs of more people.
To support land trusts to adopt inclusive practices that benefit people with disabilities, the Land Trust Alliance collaborated with the Lakeshore Foundation and the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability to create the Partnership for Inclusive Health.
The Partnership formed the Land Trust Alliance Advisory Council on Inclusive Health and Disabilities, which includes leaders from various disability sectors and the conservation community. The Council amplifies the voices, knowledge and lived experience of leaders in the inclusive health and disability sectors and builds the capacity of the Alliance and its members to design and implement successful community-centered conservation models.READ A LETTER FROM THE COUNCIL
The Land Trust Alliance, along with the community of land trusts it serves, has grown tremendously over the last 40 years. Together, we have conserved more than 61 million acres. The Alliance is committed to doubling that number by the end of the decade.
Whether land trusts seek to engage their communities more broadly or become more inclusive and welcoming organizations, the Alliance is creating resources, tools and learning opportunities to help.