The Foundation’s land trust capacity building program area was developed in 2011 to help the land protection community improve organizational practice, identify better means to defend perpetual easements, increase stewardship capacity, and improve community support and awareness of the relevance of land trusts in Colorado. Since that time, the Foundation has supported research into orphan easements, stewardship endowment financial planning, and new operating/service models for struggling land trusts. The Foundation helped fund the first-ever easement legal defense insurance program for Colorado land trusts, and has facilitated convenings of statewide and regional land trust leaders to consider approaches to some of these thorny issues. Gates has also invested in leadership development for strong regional land trusts, the merger of two major statewide conservation organizations, and new operating/partnership agreements among smaller trusts.
The Foundation supports continued development of land trust capacity, adoption of best practices, defense of existing tools and resources, development of new operating models and efforts to achieve organizational excellence.