November 18, 2010 -- Endowment Announces Changes to Board of Directors
Effective at the conclusion of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities' (the Endowment) November 2010 meeting of the Board of Directors, Dick Molpus, completed his term of Board service. "Dick was the Endowment's inaugural Chairman, a capacity he held for three years," said Endowment President Carlton Owen. "Dick's service was invaluable in getting our organization established and on solid footing to serve our important mission; he will clearly be missed," he continued. Molpus' departure from the Board does not create a vacancy in the thirteen-person governing body as he was serving a special one-year term as Past Chairman that affords the opportunity for the Board to expand to fourteen for one year when a Past Chairman's term of service coincides with the expiration of their underlying three-year term.
Effective November 10, Stephane Rousseau, the Endowment's Canadian Liaison, announced his resignation from the Board. In his letter of resignation Rousseau noted that he had accepted new responsibilities within the Kruger organization that would require his full attention for a period of years. He further stated that he felt privileged to have participated in a team effort. In a note to Rousseau, the Endowment's Chairman Mack Hogans, said, "Your presence on the Board has made an important difference in the quality of the Endowment's deliberations and operational outcomes." The Government of Canada through the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade appoints the person designated as Canadian Liaison with the Endowment Board retaining the authority to elect that designee to full Board membership. There is no firm timeline for filling the position.
September 27, 2010 -- Endowment Announces Woody Biomass Joint-Venture Investments
Carlton Owen, President & CEO of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced awards of more than $1.4 million in Woody Biomass Joint Venture Funds to support six projects designed to advance sustainable uses of woody biomass.These projects are the first anticipated under what the partners hope will be a multi-year initiative announced in June of 2010 by the USDA Forest Service and the Endowment.At that time, Owen noted that "Our goal is to develop and promote markets for low-value wood, further domestic energy production and grow jobs in rural America while retaining healthy, working forests."
Projects funded under today's announcement are:
Agri-Tech Producers, LLC of Columbia, South Carolina, for the purposes of developing a "demonstration torrefaction unit and to provide torrefied materials to various users for testing in their boilers."
Environmental Defense Fund of Raleigh, North Carolina in support of "developing economically viable models of wood biomass procurement to conserve forest land, enhance ownership profitability and produce sustainably-grown biomass."
Greenwood Clean Energy of Bellevue, Washington, to "confirm market potential of an indoor EPA Phase 2 biomass gasification central heating appliance."
HM3 Energy of Gresham, Oregon, to "build and operate a torrefaction pilot facility to supply woody-biomass-based energy to off-set use of coal in electricity production."
North Carolina State University to support research in "balancing in-woods drying tactics with delivered biomass payment practices."
Phoenix Energy, LLC of San Francisco, California, to "develop a gasification process and equipment testing facility to produce green energy and biochar from woody biomass."
The Forest Service and the Endowment each committed $2 million in the initial phase of the partnership.Funded projects will provide at least a 50% local match extending the impact of the initiative to more than $6 million.Projects funded were chosen from more than 70 candidates that the Endowment received in response to a request for proposals earlier in the year.
July 26, 2010 -- Endowment Releases Calendar Year 2009 Financials
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today released its financial statements for fiscal year (calendar year) 2009. "Since our inception we've tried to be among the best-in-class in our commitment to openness and transparency in all that we do," said Endowment President Carlton N. Owen. "As part of that on-going commitment we today have released our 2009 Audited Financial Statements and our tax filing (IRS Form 990)." In addition to making these records public only days after each was reviewed an approved by the Endowment's Board of Director's, Endowment staff have worked to further simplify the presentation of all types of foundational and financial documents available through the organization's website.
July 22, 2010 -- Summary Report from Second Biomass Learning Session Available
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today released the second summary report flowing from a series of learning sessions being conducted jointly with the USDA Forest Service on the topic of woody biomass for energy. "I don't know how many times colleagues from agencies or other foundations have told me that they held a convening or discussion on an issue that the Endowment was digging into, only to learn that there was no record or report from which others could learn," said Endowment President Carlton Owen. "That all-too-frequent situation is a key driver behind our desire to share even 'less-than-polished' documents so that others can build on our learnings." The learning sessions and the reports are part of the due diligence process that the Endowment and the Forest Service are using to help identify targeted investment opportunities under the recently announced joint-venture on biomass announced early in July.
July 6, 2010 -- Forest Service and Endowment Initiate Joint-venture for Biomass
The USDA Forest Service (Forest Service) and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) have developed a joint-venture designed to advance sustainable uses of woody biomass. "Our goal is to develop and promote markets for low-value wood, further domestic energy production and grow jobs in rural America while retaining healthy, working forests," said Endowment President Carlton N. Owen.
Each organization has committed a minimum of $2 million in the initial phase of the partnership. Funded projects will provide at least a 50% local match extending the reach of the initiative to more than $6 million. Several projects are already in the pipeline and will be announced soon. Initial projects allocating about one-half of funds were identified from more than 70 candidates that the Endowment received in response to a request for proposals issued earlier in the year. Funded partners will include private for-profit companies, conservation organizations and research institutions. The common thread will be that each project offers significant potential to rapidly clarify the promise of certain woody biomass technologies and processes to enter in and compete in the volatile energy industry while holding the value of working forests and family-supporting jobs as the ultimate measures of success.
The Forest Service and the Endowment share a belief that while there are clear limits to the amount of energy that can and should be supplied from woody biomass, including the potential threat of competition for fiber that could result in job loss in traditional forest products companies, there are also potential benefits. "In many parts of the country forests are unnaturally dense with small-diameter, low-value trees many of which are dead or dying and that are not sought by traditional companies in the quantities available. Without additional markets such as those provided by biomass energy users, forest landowners are faced with limited management options and higher risks to overall forest health and productivity," said Owen.
June 7, 2010-- Partners Release Results of Montana Biomass Feasibility Project
Montana Community Development Corporation (MCDC) has released "Developing a Business Case for Sustainable Biomass Generation:A Regional Model for Western Montana."The report, funded in part by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment), was a joint-venture by NorthWestern Energy and seven Montana saw mills and others. The purposes was to look at the potential of meeting a portion of that state's future energy needs from domestically-produced green energy while also serving to enhance the viability of the region's traditional forest products industry and provide markets for low-value wood that would improve forest health.
"While this project identified significant economic hurdles to competitiveness of woody biomass as an energy source for Western Montana," said Endowment President Carlton Owen, "what encourages us the most is the process and potential to look at issues in new ways that link the needs and interests of not just energy producers but the forest products industry and forest landowners as well."
May 28, 2010 -- Wood to Energy Report Released
A new report by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) and the University of Tennessee Office of Bioenergy programs reviews the current state of research and development of technologies for utilizing wood for the production of energy. The peer-reviewed report entitled, "Wood to Energy: A State of the Science and Technology Report," characterizes industry process designs, stage of development or commercialization and suitability for the marketplace. It also provides an analysis of market sustainability including opportunities and barriers of wood to energy production.
"As our partners consider how best to invest in and support the woody biomass industry -- both that associated with the traditional forest products industry as well as the emerging alternative energy sector -- it is vitally important that we have a sound understanding of the current state of the science and technology," said Carlton Owen, President & CEO of the Endowment. "This report should aid in providing that foundation and the accompanying Wood2Energy database (See related story January 1, 2010), will ensure a more accurate picture of where things are currently happening."
Wood is the most important source of renewable energy in the United States and a primary source of fuel for much of the world. Whether it is as simple as a campfire, or as sophisticated as producing ethanol, wood has a number of inherent advantages that ensure it will continue to be an important biofuel in the future.
May 21, 2010 -- Endowment President Receives Order of the Palmetto
In a ceremony held at Furman University today, Carlton Owen, President & CEO of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment), was awarded the Order of the Palmetto. The award, the State of South Carolina's highest civilian honor for service, was bestowed by Furman President Dr. David Shi at a luncheon to honor Owen. Shi noted that Owen was being recognized for "all you have done to better our part of the world over the years." The accompanying letter from Governor Mark Sanford recognized Owen for "a standard of excellence that is second to none." Specific accomplishments referenced were leadership in the development of Greenville County's first rails-to-trails conversion -- the 12-mile Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail linking Travelers Rest, Furman and the City of Greenville; Upstate House -- the home construction project that brought green certification to South Carolina; and "Acres for America" -- a creative partnership between Walmart and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation that in just the first five years of a ten year commitment has been instrumental in conservation of more than 600,000 acres of working forests and wildlife habitats across America. April 30, 2010 -- Endowment Completes Staffing Plan
Carlton Owen, President of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment), today announced the final addition that completes a months-long process to broaden the organization's team."With Alan McGregor's decision to join us effective May 1st, the Endowment is well positioned to continue its growth as the nation's leading public charity focusing exclusively on sustainable forestry and the needs of rural forest-rich communities."
McGregor, a seasoned rural development professional, comes to the Endowment in the role of Vice President with lead responsibility for the community aspects of programmatic growth and implementation.He is the former Executive Director of the Southern Rural Development Initiative in Asheville, North Carolina; was past Executive Director of the Sapelo Foundation (the family foundation established by R.J. Reynolds' oldest son); and is the former founder and Executive Director of the Fund for Southern Communities.
In commenting on the Endowment staff team, Chairman of the Board Mack Hogans said, "For an organization of our size, scope and early-stage development, we are indeed fortunate to have one of the most senior and experienced teams in the nation." To read the full press release click here.
April 29, 2010 -- Endowment Releases Findings from Joint Woody Biomass Session The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced release of Woody Biomass: Report from a Session to Consider Near-term Investment Opportunities. The document, while not a formal Endowment "publication," serves as part of the organization's ongoing commitment to share learnings to aid others working on related topics.
The report is the summary of key learnings resulting from a convening hosted by USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry and the Endowment to gather and consider perspectives and opportunities to advance sustainable uses of woody biomass. Despite facing significant barriers many believe that utilization of woody biomass for energy offers great promise not only to produce more environmentally preferable sources of energy but to also provide markets and mechanisms to aid in sustainable management of the nation's forests. To view the full report click here.
March 31, 2010 -- Endowment Announces Change in Community Development Program
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced that Diane Snyder will be leaving the organization effective March 31. “Diane’s three years as Vice President-Community Development represents nearly 90% of our entire organizational history,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen. “She has been an important and valuable part of the Endowment team and we wish her nothing but the best”. During the transition period as a new staffing plan is put in place, many of the important works under the community development portfolio will be overseen by a team of consultants with rich experience in rural America.
March 29, 2010 -- Endowment Names Stangel Senior Vice President
Successfully culminating a national search, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced that Dr. Peter W. Stangel will be joining the staff as Senior Vice President. “We couldn’t be more pleased that someone with Peter’s distinguished experience would accept our offer,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen. “His scientific credentials, conservation history, experience in a grant-making foundation and formal programmatic evaluation skills, make him a near-perfect fit for our needs at this juncture in our evolution.”
In his role with the Endowment, Stangel will lead the programmatic investment team as well as an emerging evaluation and monitoring effort. Stangel comes to the Endowment with nearly twenty years experience with the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, where he served most recently as Director- Science and Evaluation. Among his prior Foundation experiences are stints as Director of the Eastern Partnership Office and Director-Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Initiative. Stangel holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Georgia and a B.S. in Biology from Furman University. He begins his tenure with the Endowment on April 16. March 12, 2010 -- Coalition to Promote Benefits of Private Forests
Private working forests are a vital part of America’s natural resources infrastructure, contributing significantly to the quality of life enjoyed by all Americans. The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) today announced that it is a charter funder and member of a new collaborative – Keeping Working Forests Working (also known as “Working Forests Coalition”) -- to promote the benefits of working forests.
“We are pleased to be a part of an exciting and diverse effort to promote the importance of American’s private forests,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.Sustaining and enhancing the value of these forests – both to society and to forest owners – is of vital national importance and essential to meet some of our nation’s most pressing needs, including renewable energy, addressing greenhouse gas emissions, a healthy environment and jobs in rural communities.
To achieve this, a broad cross-section of the forestry community – consisting of forest owners, conservation and wildlife groups, resource professionals, environmental organizations and other interests – is calling for the development of an actionable national policy platform founded on three pillars:1) strengthen existing and emerging markets for goods and services working forests can provide; 2) support and align public and private investments, partnerships and policies to maintain working forest landscapes; and 3) align government policies to support the long-term viability of working forests.
Among charter supporters of the Working Forests Coalition are American Forest Foundation; Environmental Defense Fund; Forest Landowners Association; National Alliance of Forest Owners; National Association of State Foresters; National Wildlife Federation; Pacific Forest Trust; Society of American Foresters; The Conservation Fund; The Nature Conservancy; Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership; and the Endowment. March 11, 2010 -- Endowment Extends Check-off Work to Paper and Packaging
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced that it has extended its investment in possible forest products commodity check-offs.“For more than two years we’ve been supporting work to determine the forest products industry’s interest in and support of commodity check-offs as a vehicle to grow the market for sustainably produced softwood lumber,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.“We are pleased to be able to expand that concept to another forest products sector as leaders in paper and packaging consider whether a check-off might fit their market as well,” he continued.Under the initiative, the Endowment and the American Forest and Paper Association will each contribute up to $150,000 in support of the initiative. Click here to read the full press release.
March 1, 2010 -- Director of Finance Joins Team
Effective immediately, Kim Morgan has joined the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) as Director of Finance.“Kim comes to us with a breadth and depth of financial experience that serves to position us well as we continue to grow and our partnerships become increasingly complex,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.“Entering our fourth year as an organization it was clearly time to modestly augment our lean staff model to address a range of emerging opportunities,” he continued.Morgan, most recently Manager of Accounting, Reporting and Control with the Cliffs Communities, is a native of the South Carolina mountains.She holds a B.S. and Masters in Accountancy from Clemson University and has completed significant work toward a Ph.D.Since shortly after its creation, the Endowment has operated with three full-time positions and a rotating university intern.In the face of increasing financial regulation and an expanding grants portfolio, the Endowment added a part-time financial consultant to the team in late 2008.Addition of the Director of Finance position converts the part-time consulting role to a full-time staff member.
February 3, 2010 –“Healthy Watersheds through Healthy Forests Initiative” Partners Announced
Today the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) announced the three partners selected to participate in the “Healthy Watersheds through Healthy Forests Initiative (HWHF).” The $6 million+ initiative seeks to advance the connection between forest management and water quality and quantity.
Partnering organizations selected are: Conservation Trust for North Carolina, working in the Upper Neuse River Basin located in central North Carolina (Raleigh, NC watershed); Pinchot Institute for Conservation, working in the Upper Delaware River Basin located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York (Greater Philadelphia, PA watershed); and Virginia Department of Forestry, working in the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir Watershed located in Albemarle County, Virginia (Charlottesville, VA watershed).
“We are seeking to link urban water consumers with rural forestland owners to reinforce the connection between upstream environmental benefits of healthy forests with the needs of downstream water users,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen. “This project comes at a crucial time when people everywhere must begin to work more directly with their governments and water suppliers at all levels to meet growing water needs during extended periods of drought likely to be exacerbated by climate change,” Owen continued.
Click here to view the full press release.
January 29, 2010 – Endowment Releases 2009 Annual Report
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today released its Annual Report for calendar/fiscal year 2009.“This, our third annual report, follows a series theme featuring original artwork and a ‘tree of the year’," said Endowment President Carlton Owen.“In all that we do, we strive to operate transparently and communicate openly with anyone interested in the Endowment and our work.That’s one reason that get a report out so early after our year-end,” he continued.Two versions of the report – one in full color; the other in black & white – are available for immediate download by clicking here.This year’s report features three specific programmatic initiatives:Forest Health; Forest Investment Zones; and the National Conservation Easement Database.
January 22, 2010 – Endowment Seeks to Extend Program Reach with Key Staff Addition
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced an open search for a Senior Vice President to round-out it staffing plan for 2010 and beyond.“We’ve operated with the leanest staff model within our peer group as we’ve considered how to best achieve our objective of effecting positive change at the nexus of healthy working forests and forest-reliant communities,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.“As we enter our fourth year we have identified two key staff positions that will be critical to our continued growth and success – that of Director of Finance already announced, and Senior Vice President (SVP) to help extend our programmatic reach.”
Qualified individuals interested in being considered should forward resume and cover letter summarizing aspirations, skills and experiences prior to February 15, 2010.To view the full job description click here.Responses and inquiries regarding the position should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org .As the Endowment moves from three to five full-time positions it will remain among the most focused and lean-staffed organizations of its type in the country. January 21, 2010 – Endowment Launches Listserv to Enhance Communication
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) announced today, the addition of a listserv to expand and speed the flow of information to those interested in Endowment initiatives.“We get requests almost daily to add someone to our mailing list,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.“Our lean staff model has made such difficult.However, using listserv technology, we will be able to better achieve our vision of openness, transparency and accessibility,” he continued.The Endowment listserv will provide a means to quickly and easily email Endowment news such as Request for Proposals directly to all with interest.To subscribe to the Endowment’s listserv, one need only enter an email address on the Endowment home page – www.usendowment.org, or go directly to the listserv homepage –http://groups.google.com/group/us-endowment-listserv?hl=en. January 18, 2010 - First Publicly-available Database of Woody Biomass Users Launched The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities today announced creation of a database of industrial and selected community-scale users of wood to energy facilities across North America.The site -- Wood2Energy ( www.wood2energy.org ) -- is a searchable database open to anyone with interest in the state of wood to energy conversion at a national, state/provincial or local operating level. "The Wood2Energy database provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date information of its type," said Endowment President Carlton Owen. "Such information is vital to making sound planning and business decisions to expand uses of wood for energy while protecting the long-term sustainability of North America's rich forested estate." Click here to see the full press release.
January 11, 2009 - Endowment Seeks Team Member to Oversee Financial Affairs
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) is seeking a Director of Finance to join its staff in Greenville, SC. "We've operated with perhaps the leanest staffing model among our peer group from inception," said Endowment President Carlton Owen.The Endowment has only three full-time positions and has, to date, addressed finances via a part-time, contractual role. "In three years the Endowment has grown significantly in both program and breadth of partnerships.At the same time the regulatory environment for all business has become increasingly complex," Owen continued.In December the Endowment's Board of Directors approved conversion of the part-time position to a full- or near-full-time member of the team.To see the job description click here.
January 5, 2010 - Woody Biomass Focus of Latest Request for Pre-proposals
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced its first Request for Pre-proposals (RFP) for 2010. "Our early work in the area of woody biomass suggests that there are at least two near-term areas within the wood-to-energy value chain where the Endowment might be able to provide further service," said Endowment President Carlton Owen. "This RFP seeks concepts to rapidly move promising local-scale wood-to-energy conversion technologies from lab to demonstration and a separate work track that would identify and test new models for wood procurement for energy that would also serve to further retention of working forests."The RFP opens immediately and closes on February 12, 2010.To view the full announcement click here.