Note from the President on ALC Financials:
As a land conservation organization, the American Land Conservancy is subject to the timing of land transactions, the nature of the market, the personal circumstances of the landowners with whom we work, and the varying fiscal years and funding policies of state and federal agencies, upon whom we often rely to take ownership of the land that we protect. At the same time, we must often act quickly to secure options to purchase highly threatened land, even if full funding is not yet in hand.
These variables can cause large fluctuations in ALCâ€™s annual organizational budget, with losses in one year that are made up in subsequent years when ALC is reimbursed for land purchases. However, because of the recent real estate market crash, a decrease in federal dollars available for land acquisition, and an ongoing budget crisis in ALCâ€™s home state of California, it has been more difficult in the last several years to complete land conservation projects. These problems, coupled with the recession, which has slowed private giving, has had a direct impact on ALCâ€™s budget and has delayed the usual recovery from losses incurred when ALC acquires land.
In early 2008, ALC embarked on a new, more sustainable financial course in an effort to become less reliant on the closing of land conservation transactions for its revenue. As a result, ALCâ€™s funding sources have diversified a great deal over the past few years, though we recognize this is a process that will take some time before its full impacts will be felt. Diversifying funding sources is also challenging at a time when the nation faces a serious and long-term recession and an unprecedented budget crisis is impacting California. However, we remain confident in our strategy and continue to see improvement each year.
ALC has made great strides in the past few years and has made a tremendous conservation impact in the world, even during a deep global recession. As many non-profits close their doors and state and federal governments operate in deficits, ALC has managed not only to thrive, but to succeed in protecting thousands of acres of critical habitat, outdoor recreation areas, working ranchlands, and other land and water resources across the country.
We will continue to make adjustments to our operations in order to respond to current economic circumstances, but in the meantime, we are extremely proud of our accomplishments and have not slowed in our efforts to protect imperiled lands. ALC is currently engaged in dozens of projects nationwide that will conserve acres of land resources over and above the 274,000 acres we have already protected.
Through good economic times and bad, the need to conserve Americaâ€™s irreplaceable natural resources never goes away, and ALC remains prepared to meet that need.
Kerry O'Toole, President