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Schiff Gala to Fund Community-Based Conservation

April 21 Gala at Chester’s Tranquillity Farm Marks Launch of Capital Campaign.

On the evening of April 21, at 6 p.m., Schiff will launch its Campaign for Community-Based Conservation, with a spring fundraiser at Tranquillity Farm in Chester. This capital campaign launch event will include hors d’oeuvres and light dinner, music and an auction.

“We are thrilled to take this next step in our evolution as an organization,” said Schiff’s Executive Director, Marissa Hartzler. “The event will give us the opportunity to celebrate our successes and share future plans with our supporters.  As a local non-profit organization, Schiff derives most of its support from the community. This is a chance to celebrate that support at a new level.” 

In the last decade Schiff’s preserved acreage has more than doubled in size, and they have been recognized for their programming that brings all ages out to enjoy the natural areas in their own community. Additionally, the residents of Mendham, Chester and the surrounding area have come to depend on Schiff’s efforts to protect natural areas, clean air and water, and to ensuring a high quality of life for local residents.

Schiff’s achievements in land acquisition have benefited greatly from successful partnerships with Mendham Borough, Mendham Township, the New Jersey Water Supply Authority, and the Morris County Utilities Authority, as well as grant funds provided by both the State Green Acres Program and the Morris County Preservation Trust.

Schiff has also made great strides in expanding its multi-use trail system and providing additional public access facilities to allow the community to enjoy the lands preserved by Schiff.  But land acquisition and ownership comes with responsibilities, such as on-going costs for maintenance, restoration, and stewardship. Like many other non-profits, Schiff has been affected by the economic downturn, resulting in decreased revenues that fund programs and maintenance of the Nature Center, other buildings, and roads, as well as equipment needed to manage preserved lands.

Fortunately, we envision that virtually all of the funds needed for the direct cost of pending and future land acquisition efforts will continue to be provided by existing public open space funding sources. However, there are several other areas where Schiff’s capital needs can only be met by private contributions.  Therefore, the capital campaign seeks to secure private contributions to provide resources in six principal areas, including:

  • Support for the incidental expenses of land acquisition, such as the costs of appraisals, surveys, environmental assessments, and closing costs.
  • The renovation of Woodbadge Lodge, including the installation of a new water system, a working kitchen and bathroom, as well as other capital improvements.  
  • Improvements to the Nature Center and the Stewards Cottages, includingenergy-efficiency improvements, emergency generators, electrical upgradesand other safety improvements, as well as renovations, landscaping and the creation of new exhibits at the Nature Center.
  • The establishment of an Endowment for Schiff, which would help provide

Some welcome financial security. Accrued interest on these funds would support annual operations.

  • The creation of an Operating Reserve to improve cash flow and to provide
    additional financial security in the form of a “rainy day” fund.
  • The establishment of a Stewardship Fund, which would support land
    management, including restoration costs; habitat enhancement; trail
    construction and public access improvements; tools and equipment.

To register for the event, or to find out how you can help, please contact Marissa Hartzler at (973) 543-6004, or visit the event website.

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