December 7, 2007 -- Endowment Releases "Mapping a Course of Action"
The U.S. Endowment today released "Mapping a Course of Action: Results of a Survey and Workshop Designed to Assit the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities." "We're pleased to be able to provide this document to those with interest in the Endowment," said Carlton Owen, President of the U.S. Endowment. "We believe that this report will serve at least two purposes. First, it provides further evidence of our commitment to openness and transparency in all of our affairs; second, it sheds valuable insights on a number of issues of importance to those interested in sustainable forestry and forest-reliant communities." Full copies of the report are available as a pdf for viewing online or download at this website at the Focal Initiatives tab -- Background Report.
December 3, 2007 -- Endowment Adopts View on Forest Certification
At its November 5-6, 2007 meeting, the U.S. Endowment Board of Directors agreed to consider how forest certification fit into strategic focal initiatives. By unanimous consent the Board adopted its “View on Forest Certification.” “The U.S. Endowment believes that forest certification can yield benefits to forest landowners and consumers (whether commercial or individuals) and ensure that forests are appropriately managed. … While we strongly support forest certification … we do not believe that there is an appropriate place for the Endowment in either endorsing individual systems or in providing financial support to programs… We do believe that existing certification systems might be augmented by market development, education and promotion efforts to further the “locally owned/grown; locally produced and locally consumed” movement and its inherent community benefits.” While this does not imply that the Endowment will not work with local initiatives where certification is a project component, it does make clear the organization’s approach to the issue at the macro scale. For the full statement as adopted, please see “Approach to Key Issues.”
November 8, 2007 – Endowment Adopts Strategic Focus
The U.S. Endowment’s Board of Directors met in Greenville, South Carolina, November 5-6, 2007. Among major actions taken, the Board completed a year-long strategic review leading to the adoption of a programmatic focus for its work. Work will concentrate in three inter-related initiatives: 1) retaining and restoring working forests; 2) promoting and capturing multiple value streams from working forests; and 3) enhancing community capacity, collaboration and leadership in forest-reliant communities. Identification of initiatives is supported by an adopted “theory of change” developed using internal review by board and staff members along with a broad-reaching external survey and national workshop outcomes. For more details see the Focal Initiatives and Theory of Change.
In other actions the Board elected David Dodson, Karl Stauber and Mack Hogans, originally serving one-year terms, to new three-year terms. Dick Molpus was elected to a two-year term as Chairman while Mil Duncan and Duane McDougall were re-elected as Vice Chair and Treasurer respectively.
November 4, 2007 – Focal Initiatives Workshop Yields Recommendations
More than two-dozen rural community practitioners, academics, natural resources professionals and others accepted the U.S. Endowment’s invitation to convene for a two-day workshop to offer guidance as part of the Endowment’s focal initiatives review. The Greenville-based event was facilitated by Barbara Wyckoff and attended by all Endowment staff as well as four members of the Board of Directors who participated as “listeners.” The content of the workshop was framed by results from a pre-workshop survey of participants. Additionally, attendees reviewed and considered the nearly 600 responses received from a broadly distributed on-line survey. A complete workshop report will be published and made available via the web before year-end.
November 3, 2007 – Rolling Stone Rocks for Special Places
Chuck Leavell, the legendary keyboarder for The Rolling Stones and a member of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities board, rocked Greenville’s Centre Stage Theater to benefit land trusts in the Upstate Counties of South Carolina. More than 250 people enjoyed an intimate evening with selections from Chuck’s career that spans work with the Allman Brothers, George Harrison, Eric Clapton as well as his 25 years with the Stones. The Endowment served as the event’s presenting sponsor as a way to “give back” to its hometown. Generous support by Wal-Mart, Brett Communications, The Conservation Fund, Community Foundation of Greenville, Link magazine, Community Journals, Piano Central, Furman University’s Environmental Action Group and the Houseplant ensured that 100% of tickets sales went to the non-profit beneficiaries. Benefiting organizations were: Upstate Forever (www.upstateforever.org), Spartanburg Area Conservancy (www.spartanburgconservation.org), Conestee Foundation (www.conesteepark.com), Naturaland Trust and Friends of the Reedy River (www.friendsofthereedyriver.org). To experience a taste of the event visit http://wilddave.com/uf/ .
October 2, 2007 -- Legendary Musician to "Rock Greenville" for Special Places
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities in honor of its hometown, Greenville, SC, announced a special benefit concert featuring legendary rocker Chuck Leavell fresh off the highly successful Rolling Stones "A Bigger Bang Tour" of Europe. All monies raised will go to benefit Upstate Forever, Spartanburg Area Conservancy, The Conestee Foundation, Friends of the Reedy River and Naturaland Trust -- the region's local land trusts.
"Chuck has been at the heart of Rock and Roll for more than thirty years," said U.S. Endowment President Carlton Owen, "but what many don't know is that he's also at the forefront of conservation and land stewardship. He recently donated a conservation easement on a portion of his beloved Charlane Plantation in Georgia and has won numerous awards for his leadership including twice being named National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year. We are delighted that Chuck, a member of the U.S. Endowment's Board of Directors, will help us give back to the Upstate in this special way."
Scheduled for Saturday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. at Greenville's Centre Stage, this one-night only performance will provide the audience with a unique and intimate opportunity to interact with one of rock-n-rolls most sought-after keyboardists. Leavell has played with some of music's biggest names including the Allman Brothers Band, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, The Black Crowes and Train. He has been playing and touring with the Rolling Stones for more than 25 years and appears on their most recent CD. The accolades from his fellow Stones include: "Chuck brings a lot to the band...he's a terrific arranger and keyboardist." Mick Jagger and "(Without Chuck)...the Stones would not be the Stones." Keith Richards.
On October 1 tickets went on public sale. General admission is $100 with a limited number of VIP tickets for $250. VIP packages include a front row seat, a private reception with Chuck, an autographed copy of his book Between Rock and a Home Place and a CD. To reserve seats for this unique experience call Gretchen Wilson at 864-250-0500 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Special Evening is made possible by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities and sponsored by Wal-Mart and Brett Communications. Generous gifts by the Greenville Community Foundation, The Conservation Fund and our special media sponsor, the Link, will ensure that all ticket sales accrue to benefit land conservation in the Upstate.
October 1, 2007 -- Endowment Reiterates Calls for Input on Focal Initiatives and Priorities
More than 250 people have responded to the Endowment's call to share their views on issues, priorities and potential focal initiatives as part of an on-going due diligence process and in a desire to engage the broader community. The online survey will remain active until the Endowment's special "Focal Initiatives Workshop" to be held in Greenville, SC, November 1-3, 2007.
If you wish to ensure that your views help form the basis of the November workshop and are considered by the Board, please take just a few moments to complete a confidential online survey prior to October 31, 2007.
To complete the survey click this link or past the address in your Internet browser:
September 10, 2007 -- Endowment Calls for Input on Focal Initiatives and Priorities
"If there is one thing the Endowment's Board of Directors has been clear about it is the importance of focusing our work on a few truly important areas where, over the long-haul, we can make a difference in sustainable forestry and forest-reliant communities," says Carlton Owen, President & CEO of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. The Board and staff conducted an intensive internal process to consider "strategic focal initiatives" to direct the organization's work as it prepares to enter the programmatic implementation phase in 2008.
As part of its on-going due diligence process and in a desire to engage the broader community, the Endowment is implementing two steps. The first is a brief, confidential online survey to seek input from all interested parties. The results of that survey will be used to help target discussions of a tightly-focused national workshop of some two-dozen national experts. These two processes -- the survey and the workshop -- will feed into discussions that the Endowment's Board will hold enroute to finalizing the focal initiatives work in early November.
If you wish to ensure that your views help form the basis of the November workshop and are considered by the Board, please take just a few moments to complete a confidential online survey prior to September 30. The online link will remain active until October 31, 2007.
To complete the survey click this link or past the address in your Internet browser:
Matthew Rutledge, a 2006 graduate of The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia joins the U.S. Endowment staff on August 27th for our fall 2007 Internship. Matt graduated with a B.A. in History receiving a 3.26 GPA. Returning to his hometown of Greenville, he is now working to complete his second major in Earth & Environmental Sciences at Furman University. Matt's concerns surrounding the protection of the beautiful natural resources in and around his hometown will make a good fit with the Endowment's vision. His other interests include reading and playing soccer.
Sally Stephenson, who has been at the Endowment for the summer is off to study in Spain for the fall semester.
August 22, 2007 -- Endowment Formalizes Internship Program
The U.S. Endowment today announced procedures that formalize a college internship program that began as a trial in the spring of 2007. "We have just identified our fourth intern who will be joining us for the fall 2007 semester," said Carlton Owen. "The program has been so successful for us and our university interns that we felt it important that we put additional structure and consistency to the program," he continued. Details about the program are available on this website at "Internship Program." To date, three interns have been associated with the Greenville, South Carolina, office and one in Enterprise, Oregon.
August 17, 2007 -- Workshop Set to Solicit Input on Strategic Direction
The due diligence process is on-going as the Endowment seeks to review potential strategic focal initiatives. As part of this continuing process, the Endowment will convene a diverse group of sustainable forestry and rural community "thinkers and practitioners" in Greenville, South Carolina in early November. "Our biggest challenge has been to maintain an intimate group so as to encourage real dialogue while at the same time ensuring we hear from a very broad range of interests and experiences," says Endowment President Carlton Owen. "Rather than hold a symposium with a few speakers providing thoughts while the majority listen, the workshop will involve just over two-dozen people in a wide-ranging but at the same time deep discussion about suggested priorities," he continued. The Endowment Board of Directors will use findings from the workshop to augment its strategic review process begun in February.
August 10, 2007 -- Endowment Work Supported by Interns
We are delighted to have two talented interns joining the U.S. Endowment in recent weeks. Sally Stephenson joined our Greenville staff on July 2. Her two-month assignment will be spent focusing on sustainable forestry aspects of our potential focal initiative work. Sally, a Greenville native, is a Spanish major at Davidson College, NC carrying a 3.9/4.0 GPA. She enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors with friends and family and running.
Jerri Moro joined our staff in Joseph, OR on July 9 and will be working for several months on forest-reliant community issues. Jerri is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies and Business Administration. She is a native of Joseph, OR, enjoys singing and playing music and spending time outdoors with family and friends.
These talented folks follow in the steps of our first college intern, Anne Roan, who recently graduated from Furman University. Anne is now working full-time in Charleston, SC.
July 25, 2007 -- Treasurer Posts First Financial Overview
In an effort to be meet our own high standards and commitments to transparency and openness, U.S. Endowment Treasurer Duane McDougall has developed a financial overview that summarizes the organization's financial results from inception through the end of the second quarter (June 30, 2007). This "layman's summary" provides a thumbnail of all major financial transactions, results and is designed to provide the reader a quick and easy status of the Endowment's financial stewardship. To review the report click on Stewardship and view the document entitled "Financials -- June 30, 07." We plan to provide updates within two weeks of the close of each quarter going forward.
July 6, 2007 -- Board adds Canadian and President to Ranks
In a unanimous action designed to ensure seamless and transparent functioning, the Endowment's Board of Directors voted to expand its membership from 11 to 13. "The Endowment took an important step toward achieving the full spirit of the Softwood Lumber Agreement in its decision to elect the current Canadian liaison, John Weaver, to full board membership," said Carlton Owen.
"We are pleased to have someone of Mr. Weaver's broad forest products expertise engaged with the Endowment," said Chairman Dick Molpus. He stated, "At the same time we took the opportunity to adopt a more modern model of non-profit management by adding U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities President, Carlton Owen, to the board in recognition of the breadth of knowledge and skills he brings to these roles."
July 3, 2007 -- Actions from June Board Meeting
The Endowment's Board of Directors convened for its second in-person meeting June 17-19, 2007 -- the site, Issaquah, Washington. In addition to taking a number of actions (summarized below), the Board and staff gained valuable insights into conservation issues in the Pacific Northwest. Outside presenters were: Court Stanley and Judd Kirk, Port Blakely Tree Farms/Communities; Gene Duvernoy, Cascades Land Conservancy; and Dr. Jim Agee, College of Forest Resources, University of Washington & Jeff Jones, American Forest Resources Company who led a tour of "eastside" forest health and regulatory issues. The Endowment is especially appreciative of Colin Moseley and Green Diamond Resources Company for a "Welcome to the Northwest" reception and to the people who spent a Father's Day Sunday evening meeting our board and staff.
Adopted Vision & Mission statements (final on website)
Adopted Shared Values and Stewardship Principles
Adopted Investment Policy
The bulk of the session was spent in reviewing/discussing research and background materials developed in support of proposed focal initiatives. The Board opted not to finalize a decision on a strategic focus; instead deciding to complete additional due diligence prior to taking this important step that will set program direction for years to come. We anticipate that this process will be completed in early November and that full programmatic development and implementation will begin in early winter 2007/2008.
April 25, 2007 -- Endowment Making Move to New Offices
Effective May 1st the Endowment will begin operations from its new corporate office at 200 Whitsett Street, Suite 200, Greenville, SC 29601. The space in a beautifully-rehabbed home in the Pettigru Historic District is a short 8-10 blocks from the center of Main Street. The general phone number and P.O. Box will remain the same. Please note that the fax number will change to: 864-235-3842. While we hate to vacate our outstanding space provided by The Palmetto Bank, the threat of the wrecking ball proved to be a motivator.
April 20, 2007 -- Government of Canada Appoints Liaison
In keeping with the terms of the Softwood Lumber Agreement 2006 (SLA), the Government of Canada has appointed Dr. John W. Weaver, President and CEO of Abitibi-Consolidated, to be its representative to the U.S. Endowment. The "side letters" to the SLA call for the Government of Canada to have either a "non-voting member of the board of directors or an advisor" to each of the nonprofits funded under the agreement.
Endowment Chairman Dick Molpus noted, "We are honored to have someone of Dr. Weaver's stature join our important work. His experience, views and contacts will be vital to helping us achieve our vision of an organization that leaves a legacy of systemic, transformative and sustainable change in sustainable forestry and forest-reliant communities across North America."
Weaver has an extensive background in the pulp and paper business beginning in the early 1970's when he earned a Ph.D. from the Institute of Paper Science and Technology. He has held a number of key positions in the industry including assignments with Continental Can Company, Smurfit Newsprint and the former Abitibi-Price. He was appointed CEO of Abitibi-Consolidated in 1999. He is currently leading his company through a "merger of equals" with Bowater. The new company, AbitibiBowater will be the third largest forest products company in North America and the eighth largest in the world.
Carlton Owen had the privilege of briefing Dr. Weaver on the status of work to date on April 18th, while Weaver was in Greenville visiting Bowater.
Weaver was born in Barberton, Ohio, and resides in Montreal, Canada. He is married and has three children with his wife, DeLores. His assignment with the Endowment is effective immediately.
April 11, 2007 -- Endowment Secures Full Funding; Engages Investment Manager
The Government of Canada today transferred approximately $177.4 million, which combined with an earlier payment of $22.6 million, completes the $200 million endowment set forth under the Softwood Lumber Agreement 2006. Since "officially" beginning business on November 1, 2006, the Endowment has operated on borrowed funds. The interest earned against the corpus will now allow the Endowment to cover operating expenses and begin to build funds to achieve missional commitments.
"While we tried to be patient in waiting on full funding, we haven't been idle," said Endowment President Carlton Owen. "Among the many actions we've taken during this start-up period have been getting our staff in place, initiating our strategy development process, securing offices and identifying a partner to manage our funds," he continued. Effective May 1, 2007, Commonfund and its Commonfund Strategic Solutions® will become sole manager of the Endowment's $200 million corpus. After reviewing proposals from more than a dozen investment management firms and consultants the Endowment engaged Commonfund, based in Wilton, Connecticut, because of its targeted commitment to not-for-profit endowments. Commonfund was established in 1971 and is today the world's largest nonprofit investment manager.
March 29, 2007 -- Endowment Shares New Vision, Mission and Initiatives Development Process
In a continuing commitment to transparency in all its dealings, the Endowment today shared drafts of a Vision, Mission and the first phase in work intended to establish initial focal areas of emphasis. The Vision and Mission may be found on the Endowment's Home Page. More details about the initiatives development process -- including an overview of seven topical areas under consideration -- may be found under Focal Initiatives.
March 6, 2007 -- Snyder Set to Join Endowment to Lead Community Development Initiatives
On April 1 Diane Snyder will begin her tenure as Vice President-Community Development with the Endowment. Ms. Snyder has for the past decade been Executive Director of Wallowa Resources -- a community-based natural resources not-for-profit.
"Diane's success in working with a wide range of constituents to stimulate economic vitality in a lightly populated natural resource-dependent county, speaks volumes about her passion for rural places and her expertise," said Endowment President Carlton Owen. "Our nation-wide search led us to the person we believe is a perfect fit for our work with forest-dependent communities."
In addition to her service with Wallowa Resources, Ms. Snyder has served in a wide-range of professional capacities including, Director, Wallowa County Land Use Planning and Building Department; Administrative Manager, Wallowa County Board of Commissioners; Contracts Administrator, Grant County Public Utility District; and Committee Administrator for the State & Federal Affairs Committee of the Oregon House of Representatives. Ms. Snyder will continue to reside in Joseph, Oregon. She may be reached at email@example.com
February 26, 2007 -- Endowment Receives "Public Charity" Status
The IRS has granted the U.S. Endowment "public charity" status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code. All contributions to the Endowment are deductible under Section 170 of the code. The ruling is effective from September 21, 2006 until December 31, 2010.
February 20, 2007 -- Endowment Completes Officer Election
During its first "in-person" meeting held in Jackson, Mississippi, February 18-20, the U.S. Endowment's Board of Directors heard a report from its Nominating Committee regarding officers. The Committee recommended that Cynthia "Mil" Duncan be elected Vice Chair and that Duane McDougall assume the office of Treasurer. Both were elected unanimously. Additionally, the Board took steps to amend its bylaws to ensure "continuity" of leadership. As a result, Dick Molpus, the current Chair of the Board, was elected to serve an additional two-year term at the end of his current one-year term.
January 30, 2007 -- Government of Canada "Certifies" U.S. Endowment and Begins Funds Transfer
After reviewing the U.S. Endowment's organizational documents and the findings of an audit by KPMG, the Government of Canada has "certified" the Endowment for receipt of funds as envisioned under terms of the Softwood Lumber Agreement 2006. The most tangible evidence of success came in the form of a $22.6 million transfer of funds from the Government to the Endowment -- the first of several anticipated transfers necessary to reach the planned $200 million funding base.
January 9, 2007 -- Endowment Seeks VP-Community Development The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. (Endowment) invites applications and nominations for the position of Vice President-Community Development. The VP-Community Development will serve as program specialist in developing and implementing the Endowment's mission as it relates to aiding in systemic, transformative and sustainable change in timber-dependent communities across the United States.
January 9, 2007 -- Endowment Seeks VP-Community Development
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. (Endowment) invites applications and nominations for the position of Vice President-Community Development. The VP-Community Development will serve as program specialist in developing and implementing the Endowment's mission as it relates to aiding in systemic, transformative and sustainable change in timber-dependent communities across the United States.
Qualifications and Experience Desired
A reputation for honesty and integrity in all professional and personal dealings;
A desire to positively impact forests and timber-reliant communities to ensure that they are diverse, healthy and sustainable;
Significant and measurable accomplishments in community development in the U.S. or Canada;
Demonstrated administrative and leadership abilities including complex collaborations with multiple entities;
Demonstrated ability to interact at many levels with a wide array of constituent groups including business and industry; federal, state and local agencies and/or branches of government; volunteer and professional organizations; and not-for-profits;
Demonstrated ability to be a strong and positive contributor in a team environment;
Excellent communication skills;
A minimum of a Bachelors Degree in natural resources, community or economic development or equivalent field (Masters or Ph.D. preferred);
At least 7 years of professional experience in relevant work; and
Willingness to travel domestically and with relative frequency.
Screening of applications will begin in January 2007. The successful candidate would begin work on or about April 1.
Submission of Information
Applications should include a cover letter that addresses the applicant's credentials, relevant experience and qualifications. Also include name, address, phone number and email of three professional references who can speak to the applicant?s professional and administrative abilities. Email submission of materials as an MS Word or PDF attachment is encouraged. Email submissions should go to firstname.lastname@example.org or via mail to U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities, P.O. Box 2364, Greenville, SC 29602.
The Endowment is an equal-opportunity employer. We value the strengths that a diverse team will yield in helping to achieve our mission.