The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) has received $20,000 in grant funding from the Virginia Environment Endowment (VEE) to expand the organization's Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) work in Northern Virginia. The grant provides an opportunity to invest in new partnerships and conservation efforts within communities that most need them.
“With the profound changes in our region’s demographics and an imperative that we must bring nearby nature to all residents of our region, NVCT is committed to becoming a more inclusive, equitable organization that reflects who Northern Virginia is and will be,” said Executive Director Alan Rowsome. “VEE’s support comes at the perfect time in NVCT’s evolution, and we can’t thank them enough for believing in this vision and standing with us.”
In Northern Virginia, minority residents have grown from 34.6% of the population in 2000 to over 50% as of 2020 according to new census data. As the regional land trust representing Northern Virginia, NVCT has a responsibility to listen to and champion these residents who deserve livable, sustainable communities with access to natural areas that are so critical for our mental and physical health. This is an intentional broadening of an organizational approach that historically has protected undeveloped tracts of land in wealthy and rural areas of Northern Virginia as opposed to protecting nearby nature in underserved areas as well as in rental and condominium neighborhoods.
“Thanks to the Virginia Environment Endowment NVCT has the opportunity to expand on outreach, partnerships, and ultimately our conservation efforts. The dedicated support VEE is giving us to increase our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility underlines the importance of our work and provides the momentum we need to make advancements on modernizing our conservation practices,” said IDEA Board Committee Chair, Shruti Kuppa.
The VEE grant will specifically address NVCT's strategic plan goal of developing a sustainable, IDEA-principled organization that is inclusive of the entire Board of Directors and staff. At the outset, NVCT is creating a paid fellowship program for individuals from underserved communities to experience land trust work and help the organization develop community conservation goals. NVCT will also be developing a pipeline of diverse voices to enhance both its staff and board and will be broadening its relationships throughout the region with the support of a consultant.
Finally, NVCT will build bridges to community leaders while identifying historically disenfranchised neighborhoods where there are limited, safe opportunities to access natural outdoor experiences. All aspects of the organization’s growth and commitment to diversity and equity in our region will be reflected in internal and external communications with a focus on inclusivity.
ABOUT THE NORTHERN VIRGINIA CONSERVATION TRUST
The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) is a regional, nonprofit land trust that forever conserves, manages, and advocates for land with natural, historical, and cultural value to our Northern Virginia communities. NVCT works with conservation partners, local governments, and private landowners to preserve, restore and steward the land in Northern Virginia. Since its founding in 1994, NVCT has protected over 8,000 acres in urban and rural areas. To learn more or to inquire about a conservation easement on your property, call us at 703-354-5093, visit nvct.org, sign up to receive news alerts, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.