Effective Fundraising for Trails and Greenways

This webinar examines strategies for raising funds and garnering resources to move a trail or greenway project from vision to reality.

Presented by:

Event Details

** This event has passed **

January 30, 2014

10:30 AM to 12:00 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:30 AM to 01:00 AM (Mountain Time)
12:30 PM to 02:00 AM (Central Time)
01:30 PM to 03:00 AM (Eastern Time)


$19 for members (Trail Professional level or higher)
$39 for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost:

  • Note:

    Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
    Learning Credits are NOT available for this webinar.


    Webinar Outline



    Key Organizational Elements and Considerations for Fundraising:

    • Being Organized—When thinking about effective project funding and implementation, we need to focus on the following key organizational considerations.
    • Envisioning—Having an inspiring plan and vision.
    • Making the Case—Why this is an INVESTMENT, not just spending—an investment our community can’t afford NOT to make.
    • Budgeting and Phasing—Formulating a realistic budget, a catalytic phasing scheme and a "roster of projects"--toward taking the next steps after the plan is completed.
    • Seed Funding—Identifying and committing initial funding and resources to move implementation forward.
    • Leadership—Putting effective project leadership in place to see the project through to completion—both key elected officials and staff.
    • Having a Champion—Identifying an effective, influential individual to champion the project vision.
    • Partnerships—Identifying key partners who can help facilitate implementation in both the private and public sectors.
    • Execution—Identifying and engaging a technical team (grant writing, right-of-way acquisition, promotion, design, construction and operations follow up considerations.) Identifying a “project director” who will lead the process (“like a dog on a bone”)

    Leading Classes of Project Resources:

    • Start-Up Money—local seed and match money i.e. an appropriation from City Council—Note that most private donors want to see a local government commitment.
    • Public Side Financing—Bond issues and initiatives
    • Sustainable Revenue Initiatives—City or County-wide Open Space, Trails and Parks Sales Tax
    • Partnering—Commitment of partner monies, resources and rights-of -way—Drainage, streets, highways, utilities
    • Green Infrastructure—Floodplain conservation, wildfire areas, watersheds/drinking water supplies.
    • Statewide Initiatives—i.e. Colorado Lottery. Pennsylvania Conservation Fund
    • Philanthropic Resources—Gates Foundation in Denver, Walton Family Foundation, Papa John, Memphis
    • Wolf River Conservancy/Hyde Family Foundations, Community Foundations of Southeastern Michigan, etc.
    • Corporate Sponsors—tend to be more difficult to secure in a substantial way.
    • Fundraisers—such as service clubs and events.
    • Land Development Participation--Planned developments and dedications—Commerce City, CO exampl
    • Volunteers and In-Kind
    • Tax Incentives to Donate Land—Colorado Conservation Tax Incentive and exchanges.
    • Creative Trades, Swaps and Deals


    Webinar Partners


    Robert Searns, founding owner, Robert Searns & Associates

    Bob Searns is the founding owner of The Greenway Team, a planning and development firm based in Denver, CO that has specialized for three decades in greenways, trails, and conservation. He was Project Director of Denver's Platte River Greenway, one of the nation's benchmark urban trail projects, and produced 10,000 Trees, an eight-mile river corridor restoration project involving 3,000 volunteers. He has authored a greenways and trails plan for the 43-square-mile area west of Denver International Airport, as well as trail and greenway projects across the nation including Chicago, Dallas, Memphis, Louisville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Portland.

    Bob was a development consultant for the Grand Canyon Greenway, a precedent-setting 72-mile system of multi-use trails along the canyon rim. Bob has conducted workshops throughout North America, China and Europe. He co-authored Greenways: A Guide to Planning, Design, and Development (published in the U.S. and. China), Trails for the 21st Century, and contributed to Greenways, The Beginning of an International Movement. He has served as Chair of the American Trails Board of Directors and written numerous articles and editorials for theAmerican Trails Magazine.


    Mark Ackelson, President, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

    Mark's career has been focused on protecting and restoring important natural, wildlife, recreational and cultural resource lands. He worked with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation from 1980 to 1994. The Foundation has been involved in protecting over 140,000 acres of Iowa's wild places, including the conversion of 800 miles of former railroads to trails and conservation corridors. Mark was one of the founders of the Land Trust Alliance (the national association of land trusts) and served as chair for three years. He was instrumental in creating the ten-state Mississippi River Trail, Inc. which is creating a trail the length of the Mississippi River. Mark also helped create the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program in Iowa which provides $15-20 million annually for conservation and recreation, the State Recreation Trail Fund which provides $1-2 million annually and co-lead the effort in 2010 to create the constitutionally protected Iowa Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund to be funded by future sales tax proceeds.

    Mark has taught three years at the Conservation Finance Camp at the Yale School of Business and Environment. Mark has also been a regular presenter on local funding initiatives at the National Land Conservation Rally of the Land Trust Alliance. He has been involved in numerous successful project campaigns as well as two county referendums and a state constitutional amendment campaign.


    Marty Zeller, President of Conservation Partners

    Marty is president of Conservation Partners, Inc., a consulting firm based in Denver specializing in conservation planning and land protection for lands with special open, agricultural, recreational and natural resource values. Conservation Partners works with landowners, communities and counties, nonprofits and major foundations to develop open land plans and implementation strategies to protect special community resources in ways that constructively engage diverse publics. Over the past twenty years, Conservation Partners has consulted with hundreds landowners and communities to develop creative plans and implementation strategies, a number of which have received regional and national awards. In the mid-2000s Conservation Partners led the effort to develop a plan to resolve contentious land use problems around the City of Whitefish Montana that resulted in the creation of the Whitefish Trail, a highly successful regional amenity and community resource. Prior to starting Conservation Partners, Marty worked as a principal at a large landscape planning firm and spent ten years as vice president of two statewide land trusts, Colorado Open Lands and the Vermont Land Trust. He is frequently asked to speak on conservation and land use issues in the West and is a board member on the Colorado 14ers Initiative, the organization that creates and maintains sustainable trails on Colorado’s high peaks.


    Closed Captioning

    We are offering closed captioning for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you are in need of this service, please email us prior to the webinar. An unedited transcript will be sent to all attendees following the webinar.


    While we may individually agree (or disagree) in whole or in part with any or all of the participants, the views expressed in these webinars are not necessarily representative of the views of American Trails as an organization or its board and staff.

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