Chicago Wilderness Transition
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Posted by: Catherine Game
Chicago Wilderness is in the midst of a considerable transition. Over most of our 20 years, Chicago Wilderness has relied on federal funding. We thank our federal partners for supporting critical conservation work across the region. While this funding initially comprised approximately 100% of our budget, it was never intended to serve as a long-term revenue source for the organization and has decreased substantially over the last several years. The Chicago Wilderness Trust Board (the fiscal body of Chicago Wilderness) and staff worked tirelessly to diversify the alliance's revenue. They instituted a mandatory dues program and applied for grants amidst restructuring the organization for measurable conservation pursuits across the region. Unfortunately, the pace at which federal support dropped has exceeded the speed at which they can implement this revenue strategy.
Thus, while the Chicago Wilderness alliance will continue as an important force for conservation in the region, the business side of the organization has to change. As a result, the Chicago Wilderness Trust operations will end on Friday, March 31, 2017. That will also be the last day of employment for Chicago Wilderness staff and the last day that the office is open. A new fiscal agent is being sought.
Arnold Randall, Chicago Wilderness Chair, and Elizabeth Kessler, Vice Chair, are committed to working with the Executive Council and other alliance members to determine the best strategy for moving forward. Collaboration is critical to the success of this region, and they are confident that the Chicago Wilderness alliance will continue to provide members important opportunities to connect and share resources through the region.