Grant Writing for Blue Mountain Land Trust
Goals and Objectives:
I hoped to learn about the Blue Mountain Land Trust as an organization and where it fits in within the processes of land conservation. I also wanted to learn how grant writing works, who the major players are, correct terminology, and logistics. I wanted to learn the process of land conservation by aiding in the writing of one grant or more. For the second half of the semester, I hoped to aid in gathering information on all the pieces of property that the BMLT is currently working to conserve. A compilation like this would greatly help someone who is writing grants for the BMLT next semester.
The Blue Mountain Land Trust:
The Blue Mountain Land Trust provides services to landowners throughout Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon . They help choose a conservation strategy that meets landowners' protection desires and financial needs. Occasionally, a landowner may donate or sell parcels of land to a Land Trust in order to place the land entirely in the Trust's permanent care. More often, however, a landowner will transfer a conservation easement to the Land Trust, which places protective restrictions on future uses of his or her land. The conservation easement also assigns responsibility to the Land Trust to enforce those protections forever, even when the ownership of the land changes. Often, a property owner becomes entitled to reductions in both state and federal taxes by transferring development rights or ownership to the Trust. Perhaps most importantly, their responsibility as a Land Trust obligates them, as stewards of the conservation values of a property, to maintain a watch over these lands forever.
This internship has been frustrating because I feel like I have made little contribution to the BMLT. I wrote a grant for a piece of property I have never seen and know little about. I feel like I haven't really helped and that I have been more of a burden and cause for oversight than a real asset to the organization.
I planned for the second part of the semester to work on a catalogue all of the pieces of property that the BMLT is working to conserve. I planned to compile addresses, contacts, and to create an evaluation of where BMLT is in conserving the property: essentially all the information useful to someone looking to write a grant. Since grant applications are due in May and August, I believed that this would be a good plan of action for the last few weeks of my internship. Unfortunately, this is not what happened. The reason that this did not occur is because the BMLT is only working with a few pieces of property. “Packet A” is something that was given to me on my first day and it sums up all the properties that the BMLT is already or may in the future deal with. The packet is all that is known about the properties and so my hope to compile some sort of catalog of properties to help another grant writing intern has already been done.
Most of my time was spent researching online, looking at packets, and making phone calls to foundations. I did make a contact for the BMLT with the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation with the possibility of a grant that will go towards general stewardship funding. Hopefully that small contact will help them in receiving the grant, because it looks good to contact them by phone first.
Recommendations for the Future:
For someone who is looking to learn to write grants, the BMLT is probably not the best choice. The BMLT is faced with the limitations of their small size. They work on a very slow time frame, which is indicative of the grant writing process. Since the Executive Director is the only paid position she is left with the brunt of the work. Working with a land trust organization that is larger and more efficiently directed would be a better environment to learn to write grants.