2013 Greenways and Trails Summit
Sep 15, 2013 – Sep 17, 2013
12th Annual Pennsylvania Land Conservation Conference
May 1, 2014 – May 3, 2014
National Christian Conference Center
Valley Forge, PA
Sep 22, 2011
Part 1: Pledges & Donation Agreements
A conservation organization may ask a donor to pledge an annual contribution or special gift with the understanding that, if the donor cannot or will not pay, the conservation organization will not press the issue. But when an organization looks at investing substantial time and resources into a project and needs to recover its costs, the situation is different. The organization may need reasonable assurance that a donor or donors are seriously committed to investing in the project. Before investing time and money in a prospective project, a conservation organization may want the prospective donor’s promise to donate cash, land, easements, services, stocks or other valuables to be legally binding. However, donors may fear that a legally binding obligation will nullify the wholly voluntary nature of their gift, thereby eliminating the possibility of receiving a federal income tax deduction for making a charitable contribution.
This seminar offers suggestions on practical ways to address the concerns of both conservation organizations and the donors. The seminar also offers approaches to ensure that there is a meeting of minds between donees and donors and to minimize the potential for misundertandings. Attendees will review the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association’s Model Donation Memorandum and Commentary, which can be tailored to a variety of circumstances
Part II: Stewardship Fees
If a landowner lacks the means or is unwilling to make the cash contribution necessary to fully support the long-term stewardship of an eased property at the time of the easement’s creation, what are a land trust’s reasonable options to ensure that such a contribution will be made by the landowner or future owners at a later date? What are the issues, opportunities and risks that need to be considered? If a land trust wants to collect fees triggered by future events (for example, subdivision or transfer of a property) what approaches are available to ensure that landowners pay the fees and do so promptly? What are the tradeoffs between maximizing potential revenue, enforceability, flexibility and ease of administration?
The seminar will explore these questions and offer practical answers. The presenters will engage attendees in a robust review of current research and analysis of this topic. Attendees will leave the seminar broadly informed on the approaches land trusts may take to obtain conservation funding commitments from landowners entering into conservation easements – commitments that may have to be fulfilled by either the present or future landowners. Attendees may also carry away ideas for better supporting previously under-funded stewardship obligations.
The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association has published the guide Stewardship Fees: Binding Future Owners to Present Promises as well as the Model Conservation Funding Covenant and Commentary. The presenters will review these materials as part of the seminar.
Submitted by Nicole Faraguna