Curtis-Branch-c-Bill-Bamberger-390x260Farmer Curtis Branch. Photo by Bill Bamberger
Natural Capital Investment Fund’s Accounting Assistance for Disadvantaged Farmers program helps farmers of color and limited resource farmers in Eastern North Carolina establish good recordkeeping and build financial stability.  The program enables disadvantaged farmers to contract with qualified CPAs at a reduced rate. 

NCTTF sponsoredThe Accounting Assistance Program is supported by a grant from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.  


 

Farmers can download an overview and application HERE (Word) or HERE (PDF).
Accountants can download an overview and application HERE (Word) or HERE (PDF).

 

Farming is hard work, and even harder for small farmers.  Farmers of color face additional challenges– discrimination, difficulty accessing capital, and the loss of family lands.   NCIF is committed to helping disadvantaged farmers – who lack access to financial resources -- diversify their enterprises and build greater financial stability.  Raising vegetables or beef for the local market, for example, or developing a CSA, can provide more revenue streams and reduce risk. 

Of course, branching out into new crop or animal production requires more than just agricultural knowledge. Farmers need good financial recordkeeping, tax returns and careful planning to access debt capital and take advantage of federal and state grant opportunities.  That’s where the Accounting Assistance project comes in.  

How It Works

Through this pilot program, farmers who aren’t currently working with Certified Public Accountants will be able to do so at a fraction of the usual cost.  They’ll get help filing their 2015 tax return and will develop a financial recordkeeping system to help keep track of their costs and be ready for future tax years.  

In addition, The Conservation Fund’s Resourceful Communities program will help participating farmers with crop planning and cost management. Learn more.

Farmer Eligibility

To be eligible for the program, farmers must:

  • Be able to show at least $10,000 in farm revenue for the previous year.  You may submit receipts of transactions of commodity sales, contracts, W-9s, Schedule F’s, etc.
  • Have NOT have used an accountant for the previous two years.
  • Agree to pay 20% of the cost of accounting services, up to $250.
  • Be located in Eastern NC or the Sandhills region: Beaufort, Bertie, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Edgecombe, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Pitt, Sampson, Warren, Wayne, and Wilson counties.
  • Agree to complete a survey and interview at the end of the program period to help assess this program.
  • Agree to utilize an accountant from a pre-approved list, OR an accountant of their choice who has experience working with farmers and is current on all certifications and licenses.  

 

Accountant Eligibility

To be eligible for the program, accountants must:

  • Have substantial experience working with agricultural enterprises and preparing their tax returns;
  • Be current on all licenses and certifications;
  • Have no overdue tax debts, as defined by N.C.G.S. 105-243.1, at the federal, state, or local level; and have no personal and/or professional relationships with the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission or Natural Capital Investment Fund (state requirement).   

 
December 31, 2014| Resourceful Communities

 

2020 NC Pandemic Reimbursement Funding


We are excited to announce reimbursement funding for COVID-related food relief. Livingstone College will disburse these funds, which are made available through the NC Pandemic Recovery Office, and in partnership with the NC Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health and The Conservation Fund’s Resourceful Communities program. 

Please read the following requirements carefully.

Livingstone College is providing reimbursements for COVID-related food relief activities between March 1, 2020 and November 12, 2020 ranging from $2,500 to $40,000.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS INCLUDE:
  • NC-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, churches, municipalities, local agencies, and tribal entities.
  • Preference will be given to organizations led by and serving communities of color and/or low-income communities.
  • If your organization is not a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, you can still apply for funds in partnership with a nonprofit fiscal sponsor. Churches are not required to engage a fiscal sponsor but must meet 501(c)(3) nonprofit requirements set by the Internal Revenue Service (click here to open the Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations).
  • Applicants must be located in and serving rural.

INELIGIBLE APPLICANTS:
  • Organizations in the following counties cannot apply: Buncombe, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Orange, and Wake.
  • Statewide and regional agencies cannot apply.

REIMBURSEMENT for COVID-19 related food relief expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 and November 12, 2020:

Reimbursement Amount: $2,500-$40,000

  • Eligible organizations must submit receipts/documentation, including proof of payment, for eligible expenses between March 1, 2020 through November 12, 2020.
    • PLEASE NOTE: Documentation that demonstrates proof of payment might include receipts, pay stub, or bank statement (not just timesheets) for staff time, invoice plus canceled check, etc.
  • Expenses eligible for reimbursement include food purchases, distribution expenses (boxes, transportation costs for delivery, staff time), cold storage for COVID-related food relief, etc. 
    • PLEASE NOTE: Construction and capital improvements are not eligible for reimbursement. Expenses paid for from Federal funding sources such as PPP or CARES ACT funding are not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Applications are due December 2, 2020by 11:59pm EST via the online application. Click here to complete the application.

Please note: Applicants must submit documented expenses, an IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter (if applicable) and W-9 form with the online application. All documentation must be submitted with the application for reimbursement or will be deemed ineligible. Groups recommended for funding will be required to sign an agreement with Livingstone College by noon on December 16, 2020 or will not receive funding.


 

If you have additional questions, email smallgrants@conservationfund.org or contact anyone on our team:

December 31, 2014| Business Partnerships
We practice conservation to achieve environmental and economic outcomes. Every Fund program places conservation at its center to effectively implement innovative, practical solutions to benefit the natural world and the well-being of Americans from every walk of life.



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December 31, 2014| Conservation Acquisition
Our experienced team consists of some of the most skilled and creative conservation real estate experts in the field including knowledgeable practitioners, attorneys, lenders, and foresters.  Many work in small offices across the country, living in the communities they help conserve.

December 31, 2014| Conservation Acquisition
Since 1985, The Conservation Fund has  conserved more than 7 million acres. We have protected national parks, natural areas, storied battlefields, popular getaways and more.  Our partners and transactions are national, regional, state-level and local in scope, from thousands of acres of wilderness to one-acre urban parks.  In completing over 2,000 real estate projects over three decades, we bring original and informed solutions to every transaction, often resolving unusual challenges. 

We work to fulfill top public priorities.  Our projects often begin when government or community leaders want to save a special outdoor place. To act swiftly, they turn to us for bridge financing and a full suite of conservation services, from real estate negotiation and land acquisition to strategic planning, conservation training and community outreach. 

In addition to helping public partners save land, we work with interested private landowners to secure conservation easements on lands with high conservation value.

We place particular importance on “working lands,” or forests, farms and ranches being sustainably, actively managed. A growing part of our work involves helping corporate partners and regulatory agencies achieve good conservation outcomes through mitigation.

December 31, 2014| Conservation Acquisition
By the Numbers:
We have protected more than 8 million acres of land and water in all 50 states.

Every dollar invested in our Revolving Fund goes directly to protecting land, over and over. By recycling these dollars, we have saved lands valued at more than $7.2 billion. 
Protecting land and water with high conservation value is essential for America's environmental health and its economic vitality.  The Fund enables conservationists, government agencies, community leaders and land trusts to swiftly protect properties for wildlife, recreation and/or historic significance.  Often a landowner's timetable to sell does not align with available funding from private and public sources.  Our capital  supplies the timely bridge financing that is critical to help our partners save important properties. 

We offer rapid and nimble action, along with deep expertise in a wide array of complex transactions.  By continually re-investing our funds into new conservation projects once others are completed, we’ve helped permanently protect over 8 million acres in all 50 states. 

December 31, 2014| Conservation Acquisition
Our Revolving Fund, established in 1986, provides ready capital for acquisition of lands and waters of high conservation value. Funds are continually in use for conservation: upon repayment, we “revolve” the money back into the fund. Every dollar in the Revolving Fund is used to acquire property—no overhead, no administrative expenses.  

Revolving Fund Model V3 blog

Since its establishment, an average of over 90% of this Fund has been invested and continually re-invested in communities throughout America.

We use our Revolving Fund to help our federal, state and local partners by acting quickly to save priority lands vulnerable to development or fragmentation. As immediate conservation opportunities arise, our conservation partners turn to us to deploy the ready capital of our Revolving Fund. When public and/or private funding later becomes available to secure long-term protection, the Revolving Fund is fully repaid so it can continue to serve future conservation investments.

Dollar for dollar, our Revolving Fund has protected more land than any other land conservation vehicle. Every $1 million invested in our Revolving Fund has leveraged more than $40 million for the conservation of land—a return on investment that cannot be matched.
December 31, 2014| Conservation Loans
By the Numbers:
Conservation groups in 39 states and 5 Canadian provinces have used nearly 370 loans to conserve more than 150,000 acres.

Our partners have borrowed over $200 million dollars to acquire land valued at more than $400 million dollars.
The urgency and pace of conservation can be impeded by a lack of timely funding.  Our Conservation Loans program offers flexible financing as well as sustained and expert technical assistance to land trusts and other organizations aiming to protect key properties in their communities, increase access to green and open-space, recover natural habitats, provide conservation education programs, and help people connect with nature. Since our first loan in 1993, we’ve helped our partners achieve their conservation goals, providing more than $200 million in almost 370 loans to 170 partners. Local conservationists have protected more than 150,000 acres across 39 states—lands valued at more than $400 million—with funds from our continually revolving pool of loan capital.  We are a land trust as well as a lender, investing in our shared conservation goals. Contact us today to learn more. 

VIEW OUR PROGRAM REPORT HERE

DOWNLOAD AN APPLICATION



Featured Partner

Our friends at Land Trust Alliance have highlighted our partners at Kent Land Trust for excelling at community conservation. We provided Kent Land Trust with a $350,000 loan to help acquire Camp Francis—a former Girl Scout camp, treasured by the community. The loan came at a critical time, allowing the land trust to purchase the property quickly while additional funding from state and federal grants were processed. You can watch the video below:

 

Learn More About Conservation Loans

December 31, 2014| Conservation Loans
We are a Conservation Leader, not just a Lender

We work with each of our partners to help them achieve their conservation goals in a way that meets their unique needs. Unlike commercial lenders, whose services are limited, we offer a wide range of assistance to help your organization with financial support and project management in a timely and effective manner. We invest in your success. Think of us as partners, mentors and trusted advisors.

Through our years of work on a broad array of land conservation transactions and loans across the United States, we’re able to evaluate potential projects and counsel land trust and nonprofit staff on real estate transactions and project management, including fundraising and marketing. 

With our backing, local conservationists have protected parks, wildlife havens, forests, farms, historic sites, trails, open space areas, nature centers and much more.

Our Services

We offer:
  • Experience: We offer technical assistance throughout your real estate transaction.
  • Flexibility: We provide a practical payment schedule, collateral requests and rates. 
  • Momentum: We’re committed to moving swiftly, keeping you on schedule.
December 31, 2014| Resourceful Communities
By signing up for our e-news updates, you agree to receive periodic communication from The Conservation Fund/ Resourceful Communities. You can easily unsubscribe at any time, and we commit to only contacting you with pertinent, timely information. (See our Privacy Policy for details.) Our workshops and other network events are for nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations. Our e-news updates provide information and resources for community partners.   

December 31, 2014| Conservation Loans
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We deliver action and impact. Our services focus on collaborative problem-solving—bringing people together to facilitate on-the-ground results. 

Conservation Leadership Network (CLN) staff are skilled presenters, facilitators, and content experts, backed by the expertise of The Conservation Fund and a community of CLN Partners. Our services include: 

Collaborative Problem-Solving

CLN forges on-the-ground partnerships with community, government, and corporate leaders around the country to reach conservation solutions.  We create neutral forums for discussion to reach shared objectives and goals. 

Read more about our projects >

Multi-Disciplinary Course Offerings 

Collaborative learning is our niche, and we’ve achieved great results.  We offer courses at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and can schedule courses on site in local communities. By providing an open, safe and neutral environment for learning and dialogue, CLN inspires participants to test new ideas, exchange information, and form lasting partnerships.  

Upcoming courses and events >

Innovative Demonstration Projects 

The Conservation Fund works at the nexus of the environment and the economy. CLN is adept at convening disparate interests to create cutting-edge projects that serve as models for others around the country. 

Federal Lands Livability Initiative >

Implementing NiSource: Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan >

Community Capacity Building

Our community capacity workshops on green infrastructure planning and sustainable tourism program development are changing communities. CLN staff have worked with hundreds of communities across the country and bring national perspective to the table.

Balancing Nature And Commerce Program >

Success Story:  Unicoi County, Tennessee >

Regional Place-Based Offerings

We provide tailored, place-based offerings of all our courses and workshops, incorporating local trends and needs so that communities can work together to overcome barriers to reach their own conservation outcomes.

Texas conservation banking community >

Livability and Tourism Assessments 

We work with communities across the country to provide assessments of an area’s natural, cultural and historic assets and evaluate opportunities to sustainably develop these assets predicated on livability principles.

Learn more about our assessments >

Sustainability Consulting

We understand that the environment and economy must work in harmony in order to create a sustainable future, and so do our corporate partners. CLN continues to collaborate with private sector partners to develop strategies tailored to reach sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals with a “triple bottom line” approach.

Read about our work with CSX Corporation >
By the Numbers:
Over $3.2 million in grants and community services distributed since 1998.

Over 48 partner organizations engaged each year to forge leadership for on-the-ground conservation solutions.

Over 140 communities served each year.

Over 500 U.S. regulators from all U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Districts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Environmental Protection Agency regional offices have been trained to develop successful conservation and mitigation banking programs. 
We believe communities and corporations can achieve environmental and economic successes when they work together to develop shared knowledge, networks and technical skills. Our Conservation Leadership Network (CLN) is a team of experts that brings diverse constituencies together to achieve common ground.

We deliver action and impact. Our services focus on collaborative problem-solving—bringing people together to facilitate results such as:

  • Revitalized downtowns
  • Comprehensive transportation solutions
  • Small business development
  • Resolution of infrastructure challenges
  • Creating more livable communities
  • Supporting innovative markets for ensuring water quality

We deliver these results through multi-disciplinary course offerings, innovative demonstration projects, regional programs, and sustainability consulting that supports on-the-ground solutions. 

The hallmark of our work is to delve into our partners’ needs, understand issues, and craft solutions that achieve outcomes that protect natural resources, while creating vibrant, sustainable economies. In sum we help ensure conservation that works for America.

We serve as a catalyst to action and impact. We work with community, government and corporate leaders to plan for the future, deepen regional connections, develop innovative conservation and economic strategies, and balance nature and commerce in ways that have a lasting impact.
 

Connect Regions

We connect regions by bringing together people who share common goals, despite professional or geographic distinctions. We’ve fostered partnerships and community economic development across the Canadian-Minnesota border branding the “Heart of the Continent”, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and throughout the Appalachian Mountain area, for instance. In each case, community leaders developed new action plans to spur local economies and save favorite places.

 

Balance Energy and Environment

As America invests in energy infrastructure, we’re factoring in the environment. For example, energy provider NiSource Gas Transmission operates more than 15,500 miles of pipeline across 14 states. We worked with NiSource, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and state stakeholders to plan conservation across this entire region. Similarly, in the Midwest, we are convening wind energy companies, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and state agencies to develop conservation plans for promoting renewable energy while protecting sensitive species.

Build Capacity and Develop Leaders

Collaborative learning is our niche and we are achieving results. Our community capacity workshops on green infrastructure planning are leading to the establishment of green infrastructure plans and our tourism assessments are changing communities. By providing an open, welcoming, and neutral environment for learning and dialogue, we inspire participants to test new ideas, exchange information, and form lasting partnerships.

Plan for the Future

West Virginia’s New River Gorge region is known as a recreation destination with wild scenery and small-town ambiance. That’s why, when New River Gorge was chosen as home to the annual Boy Scout Jamboree–and its 350,000 visitors–community leaders turned to us to plan its growing economy while keeping its character intact. We brought technical assistance to an audience made up of business leaders, elected officials, and public land managers to discover effective ways to balance nature and commerce.