Keen grant helps Conservation Alliance expand funding and support for wild places

Founded 16 years ago, The Conservation Alliance wants to increase its membership dramatically and expand its efforts to protect land, ever mindful that the Alliance was founded on the principle that the outdoor industry should give back to the land from which it profits. The membership push has been made possible by a generous grant provided by Keen Footwear in early 2005, and that grant is inspiring the Conservation Alliance to begin thinking about the future.
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Founded 16 years ago, The Conservation Alliance wants to increase its membership dramatically and expand its efforts to protect land, ever mindful that the Alliance was founded on the principle that the outdoor industry should give back to the land from which it profits.

The membership push has been made possible by a generous grant provided by Keen Footwear in early 2005, and that grant is inspiring the Conservation Alliance to begin thinking about the future.

“Threats to our shared environment have never been greater,” said Conservation Alliance program director John Sterling. “The Keen partnership gives us a huge boost at just the right time. This is great for both the Alliance, and for our grantees who are working to protect wild places for their habitat and recreational values.”

Since its inception in 1989, The Conservation Alliance has contributed more than $4.5 million to dozens of grassroots environmental groups working to protect spectacular forests, rivers, deserts, coastlines and wildlands, where outdoor industry customers recreate and wildlife thrives. Grant recipients have protected millions of acres of wildlands, stopped or removed 25 dams and preserved access to hundreds of miles of waterways and several climbing areas.

However, Conservation Alliance members believe more must be done quickly in today's business climate. And that means, despite a 20 percent increase in membership this year, unless every outdoor industry company becomes a member, the Conservation Alliance will feel it hasn't achieved its ultimate goal.

Using the Keen Footwear money, the Conservation Alliance has created a Challenge Grant, which will enable the Alliance to better reach its goal of increasing membership to the level where the Alliance donates $1 million annually to grass roots conservation efforts.

Outdoor industry businesses (retailers, manufacturers, reps, distributors, suppliers, individuals – it doesn't matter) that join the Conservation Alliance over the next year will have the donations to the Conservation Alliance matched by Keen funds.

The Keen grant not only provides matching money, it allows the Conservation Alliance to implement, for the first time, a sustained marketing and outreach effort that provides creative materials to help each member to promote its involvement with the Alliance.

The long-term goal is to generate sufficient non-grant revenue from donations so that the Alliance can sustain a permanent staff position.

For more information on the Conservation Alliance, click on www.conservationalliance.com

SNEWS® View: The timing for this push by the Conservation Alliance, of which SNEWS® counts itself as a proud member, could not be better. With an elevated interest in environmental sustainability and conservation by industry members and by the public at large, the message is going to be much easier to communicate. And the Alliance is correct – there is no time to delay. Budget cuts and the President's own lack of support for recreation, public lands protections and the protection of wild spaces means the private sector is going to have to step forward and step up big time – or watch wild places slowly shrink away, along with recreation business revenues. The Conservation Alliance is a member operated, member-driven organization with all money coming from dues going directly to funding grants.

We have significantly expanded our SNEWS® Forum to create a place where the industry can engage in meaningful discussions and casual conversation threads. A secure place that can only be read by those of us in the industry, and a place where you can say anything -- as long as you are not simply flaming or nuking another person or company for personal reasons. Click on www.snewsnet.com/forums -- your Forum is now open for business.

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