Capital Campaign 2018: Where are we now?
by Jeff Simms
Thanks to the generous support of so many people and institutions, including 100 percent of the organization’s Board members and staff, Black Rock Forest has exceeded the goals of its most ambitious capital fundraising campaign ever and raised $7 million.
The campaign, which was established in 2016, was bolstered by a $2 million matching grant from the organization’s late Chair, Sibyl Golden. In a Memorandum of Understanding from 2016, Sibyl stated she would match qualified contributions to the campaign on a 1:1 basis up to a maximum of $2 million. Thanks to timely and generous contributions from Board members, donors and member institutions as 2018 wound down, Black Rock Forest met the full $2 million of Sibyl’s challenge by year’s end.
With the campaign complete, Black Rock Forest now has a healthy core endowment to support its operations well into the future, including a fund to create and permanently support a Postdoctoral Fellowship in forest ecology at the Forest. The organization recently hired its first Fellow, a postgraduate studying tree physiology and forest productivity.
Construction is now underway to convert the lower level of the Forest Lodge into an Education Center that will be named for the late President Dr. Frank Moretti, who served as Black Rock Forest President for nearly 20 years while also serving in leadership roles at the Dalton School and Columbia University. In addition, the successful campaign allows Black Rock Forest to establish a fund to hire a new Master Educator to work exclusively with partner institutions. Black Rock Forest hosts nearly 15,000 student visits per year and the new Master Educator will help incorporate research findings and technology advances like the new Mesh Network to enrich these educational experiences more than ever before. This new position has been advertised and the hiring process is underway.
Finally, Black Rock Forest has also established a $365,000 Conservation Science Fund in honor of the Board co-chair, David Redden. This fund has already paid dividends by bringing visiting conservation scholars, such as the wildlife connectivity specialist Paul Beier, to New York for a series of talks and workshops, and in launching a program for awarding annual grants of up to $6,000 to support regional conservation science projects. The Small Grants Program’s first six awards were distributed this summer and the Forest has been busy with researchers working on these projects. The awards include grants to faculty members at CUNY and the American Museum of Natural History among others.
The successful completion of the capital campaign assures a bright future for Black Rock Forest and its advancement of scientific research, education and conservation. Thank you again for your support!