Dear Friends of the Ninevah Foundation:
We have exciting news about the future of the Foundation. The Boards of the Ninevah Foundation and the Farm & Wilderness Foundation have agreed on a new governance structure and sharing of resources which we believe will be beneficial to both organizations, to our community, as well as Lake Ninevah and surrounding land. Through this letter, we want to share with you the key points of this new relationship, as well as the background that led to it.
As many of you may know, the Ninevah Foundation is a successor to the for-profit Wilderness Corporation that was founded in 1961. The Wilderness Corporation was in many ways an organization ahead of its time, a for-profit engaged in the buying and selling of land around Lake Ninevah for the purposes of conservation, and in support of the programmatic aims of the Farm & Wilderness Camps (also at the time for-profit). Both organizations have evolved since then. Farm & Wilderness, founded by Quaker Educators and operated under Quaker principles of governance, became a non-profit charitable organization in 1974. The Wilderness Corporation evolved into the non-profit charitable Ninevah Foundation in 2001.
Both organizations have thrived over this period. Farm & Wilderness has grown to include multiple summer programs, three of which are located on Ninevah Foundation land, and now owns approximately 1,200 acres of conservation land. Ninevah Foundation now owns and conserves more than 3,300 acres of land in the Lake Ninevah valley and on the spine of the Green Mountains, along an important corridor between the north and south sections of the Green Mountain National Forest.
Over the past 10 years, the Ninevah Foundation board has been asking critical questions about the role, management, and long term prospects of the Foundation. We have always operated as a working Board, hiring help as needed, but largely doing the work ourselves.
More recently, we have taken a much more active role in understanding and managing the features and resources available on our land. This has included programs such as the “milfoil monitors” at the state fishing access, educational events on our lands and in Belmont, and more active management of land-based invasive species.
The growth of these activities and the need to support them placed strain on Ninevah Foundation’s model of combined Board management and operations. Farm & Wilderness has always been, and continues to be, an organization with whom we have tremendous synergy. Their programs depend on the continued conservation of our lands, and our programs depend on the financial support we receive in the form of rent. In 2013, we began to discuss options and alternatives for working or affiliating with Farm & Wilderness that would bring long-term stability to the Ninevah Foundation.
We have now completed an agreement with Farm & Wilderness. Through this agreement, Ninevah Foundation will become one of three non-profit organizations run by a common
board of trustees dedicated to education of children in six summer camps and stewardship of the environment. The Ninevah Foundation will maintain its name, mission, property ownership and finances; and will now benefit from full time professional staff provided by Farm & Wilderness, who will continue to work with the Lake Ninevah community to steward the lake and the land around it. Our agreement requires the adoption of a stewardship plan and the hiring of a dedicated conservation director who will manage natural resources as well as work with those whose collaboration is critical to the conservation missions of the Ninevah and Farm & Wilderness Foundations.
Dano Weisbord, former President, and Andy Schulz, former Vice-President of the Ninevah Foundation will serve on the board of trustees that will oversee the Farm & Wilderness Foundation and the Ninevah Foundation; and serve on a newly formed conservation committee of the boards of both organizations. The agreement includes an on-going requirement that at least two board members have knowledge of Lake Ninevah and that one of them must own property in the immediate vicinity of the lake or be a family member of a land-owner.
We are very pleased to bring professional land stewardship to the Ninevah Foundation, and proud of this deepened relationship with Farm & Wilderness Foundation. Many of you have been long-time supporters of the Ninevah Foundation, and we are tremendously appreciative of your dedication. We will be counting on your continued support of the Ninevah Foundation and we look forward to making introductions of the staff people who will be working with us to carry on our mission of caring for Lake Ninevah and the surrounding land. We are happy to answer any questions you might have, so please feel free to be in touch with any of us.
With best regards,
Trustee, Farm & Wilderness Foundation and Ninevah Foundation Former President, Ninevah Foundation
Trustee, Farm & Wilderness and Ninevah Foundation Former Vice-President, Ninevah Foundation firstname.lastname@example.org
Farm & Wilderness Foundation and Ninevah Foundation email@example.com
Sustainable Resources Director
Farm & Wilderness Foundation and Ninevah Foundation firstname.lastname@example.org