When it comes to land conservation, one of the Packard Foundation’s largest and longest partnerships has been an ongoing collaboration with the Resources Legacy Fund (RLF). As an organization of conservation specialists, RLF’s expertise ranges from protecting landscapes and stewarding resources to building consensus among communities and advancing environmental policy. As a thought partner, RLF has helped develop many of the strategies that guide the Packard Foundation’s conservation efforts. As an implementation partner, they have assisted in managing grants to support organizations best suited to effect change on a certain issue or in a specific area.
In our grantmaking, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation partners with and supports those individuals and organizations that are best able to make a contribution in their fields. We strive to provide and promote an environment of trust and flexibility that respects and supports their leadership and ideas. Over the past 50 years, this value has allowed the Packard Foundation to develop strong partnerships with our grantees and with other funders that have resulted in long-lasting change.
This deep partnership has led the Foundation to invest in some of the most innovative and ambitious collaborations in land conservation. In 2011, for example, the Packard Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation supported RLF to help acquire and preserve an 8,532-acre property just north of Santa Cruz, California — the largest private landholding in that county. The property, known as CEMEX Redwoods, was at risk of being developed into luxury housing units. Those plans imperiled an important source of clean water for the city of Santa Cruz and jeopardized the home of a number of endangered plant and animal species, including the Mount Hermon June beetle found only in this area.
“Our partnership with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Resources Legacy Fund to fund this rather innovative yet effective collaboration of local land trusts is proof that this new approach not only works, but may become the ‘new norm’ for strategic and impactful land conservation in the Bay Area.”Curt Riffle, Packard Foundation program officer
With management responsibility for the overall project, RLF guided a pool of funders and the Living Landscape Initiative — a collaboration of five land conservation organizations in and around Silicon Valley — through a complicated acquisition process on an extremely tight timeline. Working together, this group was able to successfully acquire the property (now known as San Vincente Redwoods) and ultimately link together 27,500 acres of protected land, thereby preserving the historic redwoods that grow there in perpetuity.
Through an array of long-term and ongoing partnerships with grantees such as RLF, the Packard Foundation is able to realize our programmatic goals and help to achieve meaningful and long-lasting advances in conservation.