The downturn in the housing market (and the economy) has caused turmoil and financial instability even this far north. We are seeing properties on the market for a longer period, as well as lower prices in response to a struggling economy. The downturn in the economy has also affected the individuals and foundations that support efforts like ours as they see their nest eggs and endowments dwindle. This makes it more important than ever to retain a broad base of community support. It will take more people contributing to the effort to achieve our goal of a 670-acre greenbelt at the base of Chena Ridge. In addition, both government and private foundations weight local contributions highly, looking to see that projects have both the enthusiasm AND financial support from the community before choosing to award funds. In the fundraising world, this is called leverage. Nearly all grants require matching funds in various proportions, and the more local dollars we have to leverage a grant, the better. It makes your contributions hugely valuable.
So far area residents have contributed about 6% of the money needed to preserve 200 acres in the Chena Flats. Our goal for this coming year, in addition to preserving more land, is to increase that amount to 10%; this is a neighborhood level project, as local as it gets for all of us living in the Chena Ridge and Chena Pump areas as well as our community as a whole. Please join the effort!
The toughest part of any non-profit organization is often fundraising. Going door-to-door or sending out requests for donations at first seems like a daunting task. Furthermore, it is difficult to find volunteers who are willing to take on this role. As mentioned, we are in need of fundraising steering committee members and people who are willing to work on the fundraising subcommittee. Please consider getting involved on some level, or pass the word on to someone who you believe may have an interest in helping.
The Interior Alaska Land Trust has received three grants from the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) small grants program ($75,000, $75,000, and $50,000), and two from the Alaska State Parks Recreational Trails Grant program, each worth $50,000. All were used for land acquisition for the Project.
The Pacific Coast Joint Venture, a consortium of government and non-governmental agencies committed to protecting wetlands and migratory bird habitat awarded the Chena Flats Greenbelt Project $7,000 to be applied towards land acquisition costs.
The Chena Flats Greenbelt Project has received a national honor accompanied by a grant from the Kodak American Greenways Awards Program. The $1,500 grant helped preserve open space, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities in west Fairbanks (at the base of Chena Ridge). In addition to receiving the grant award, the Chena Flats Greenbelt Project has been showcased as a national model for its innovative efforts to develop a greenway in Fairbanks.