The very first angel investment I made after I sold my first company was in a company called NetGenesis. Will Herman and I were the initial seed investors; I was chairman of the company for the first couple of years. Eric Richard was one of the co-founders and one of the technical brains behind the company. Eric stayed actively involved with company for much longer than I did – through the IPO and then the ultimate sale to SPSS.
I haven’t seen Eric much over the last eight or so years, but we email periodically. This morning, among other things, he pointed me to the first letter to the editor that he’s had published. It’s a letter in his local paper (the Sudbury Town Crier) titled: Nobody cares about 50 years from now. Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” had an impact on Eric and he writes eloquently about it. Regardless of whether or not you believe in “the crisis of global warming”, Eric’s thoughts and suggestions apply.
Now – that’s a mission statement. I’m on the board of the Colorado Conservation Trust and we had a board meeting last week. CCT is one of the best organized non-profits I’ve ever had the privilege to be involved with and is unambiguous about its goal. The mission statement says it all – “Conserve 2,000,000 Acres in the Next Decade – Let’s Get Going.”
I’ve lived in Colorado for 10 years. Part of the magic of this place is the mountains, the open space, and the wide stretches of undeveloped land. Boulder benefits greatly from the city and county’s forward thinking conservation attitude from many years ago, resulting in a magnificent city in an environmentally protected setting. None of this was by accident and I’ve tried to do my part in the last decade to help locally.
CCT broadens this view across the entire state. There are numerous environmental organizations in Colorado – some effective, some not. There is the typical conflict you’d expect from an area that is undergoing huge growth ranging from private property rights to zoning issues to wildlife protection. In addition to actively participating in conservation, CCT has taken a leadership role in understanding what is going on in conservation across the state. Recently, they released Colorado Conservation at a Crossroad – their first comprehensive report on conservation in Colorado
Since it was founded in 2000, CCT has contributed to the protection of more than 30,000 acres in Colorado. It’s raised $10 million from 30 foundations in and over 300 individuals. It’s leveraged the $10 million with an additional $24 million of public and private dollars. It does this with a staff and organization that is 100% underwritten by its board of directors – we cover 100% of CCT’s operating costs so that all of the money that is contributed can be directly deployed against land conservation programs.
If you live in or enjoy Colorado, you should be happy there are folks like Will Shafroth and his team at CCT working hard to help keep it special. We’re always looking for additional support of any kind and – as the end of the year rolls around and you consider any philanthropic giving – I’d encourage you to consider a gift CCT if you are conservation minded and enjoy Colorado. Remember – 100% of your money will go to land conservation – we (the board) has got the admin stuff covered. If you want to learn more or get involved, feel free to contact me.
I’m on the board of the Colorado Conservation Trust. I think it’s currently the most impactful environmental conservation based organization in Colorado – I am so enthusiastic about it that I merged a non-profit environmental organization that I helped start – the Front Range Alliance – into CCT last year and joined the CCT board. CCT is continuing the mission of the Front Range Alliance with the Front Range Mountain Backdrop initiative.
One of the really fun projects that CCT did last year (at the request of one of our major donors) was to hold a high school video essay contest. The winner – 10th grader Michael Beggs of Boulder High School – produced a remarkable video titled “Grasslands”. Second place was titled “Oil and Gas Development on the Roan Plateau” and third place was “Eurasian Milfoil – A Non-Native Grass that is Polluting Colorado’s Rivers and Streams.”
If you are conservation minded, you should be pleased that we are “growing them young” here in Colorado.