Advanced Collaboration & Merger Assistance Program
Assisting land trusts seeking stronger organizational health and effectiveness through advanced collaboration, structural realignment, or merger with other organizations.
For more information contact CLCC's Deputy Director, Aaron Lefland.
Connecticut's land trusts have a wide range of organizational capacities, resources, and expertise, and often find that they can be more effective or efficient by collaborating with neighboring land trusts through joint programs, shared resources, or organizational merger.
CLCC's multi-level program assists organizations in determining if a formal collaboration is in their best interest, and provides support along the way. Projects have included the creation of new Regional Conservation Partnerships (RCPs), assisting land trusts in identifying shared staffing opportunities, and facilitating mergers between multiple groups of land trusts.
Level 1: An Introduction to Collaborations and Mergers
Through facilitated discussion, CLCC will provide two or more land trusts with an opportunity to hear about some of the latest trends in collaborations, partnerships and mergers across the Northeast region, and explore ways to determine whether such strategies would be potentially beneficial to the participating organizations
Prerequisite: Participating organizations must have some existing relationship (geographic or otherwise) that makes collaboration feasible. Simply contact CLCC staff to discuss your situation and determine if this introductory session would be appropriate and useful.
Level 2: Deeper Dive into Options for Collaboration and Merger
Through a series of facilitated discussions, this next level provides two or more organizations with an opportunity to take a deeper dive into if and how they can achieve greater effectiveness and sustainability through a new collaborative relationship or structure.
Prerequisite: Participation in Level 1 or other analogous structured conversation(s) regarding the exploration of collaborative models, followed by a joint letter of interest submitted to CLCC.
Level 3: Feasibility Study
Organizations that are formally committed to the exploration of advanced collaboration will work with CLCC staff and/or a consultant/facilitator over the course of several months to determine the feasibility of formalizing a new relationship or structure.
Prerequisite: Memorandum of Understanding or other analogous written commitment by each organization’s board, committing to the feasibility study process.
Level 4: Implementation
Organizations that have committed to an advanced collaborative relationship, structure, including merger, will work with a consultant and other professionals (attorneys, accountants, etc.) to implement some or all components of the collaborative process.
Prerequisite: Participation in Level 3 and a board resolution committing the organization to a good-faith effort to work through the merger process.
Connecticut land trusts working through Levels 1-3 are eligible for free support from CLCC. CLCC sustains this support through Level 4, at which point financial assistance may be available through the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck (PCLB) Foundation's Building Enduring Land Trusts (BELT) grant program. BELT grants are awarded to cover the cost of professional assistance needed to advance the merger process, including, but not limited to:
- Legal fees, including filing state corporate registration, drafting policies and HR documents, preparing insurance filings, modifying by-laws, reviewing and transferring of land and easement holdings, etc.
- Accounting needs
- Branding and public relations
- Other due diligence and implementation costs
Multi-year general operating support is also available from the PCLB Foundation once the merger is complete.
CLCC has compiled a list of resources to assist land trusts along their collaboration and merger journey.
Find useful documents, experiences from other organizations, and Q&A sessions to help answer questions land that may arise during the process.
Learn more about successful land trust collaborations and mergers
Working Together with Creativity, Cooperation, and Vision
Building a stronger organization, and taking an important step in upholding the promise of perpetuity
After participating in CLCC-led regional roundtables, the boards of the East Granby, West Hartford, and Wintonbury Land Trusts recognized that their organizations had much in common. Through a feasibility study, they explored opportunities for closer partnership - ultimately agreeing that coming together as a regional land trust would be a mutually beneficial outcome. Guided by CLCC and consultant Sharon Danosky, the land trusts worked steadily towards a goal of building a new organization that would be greater than the sum of its parts.
Working Together with Creativity, Cooperation, and Vision
It’s this type of land trust creativity, cooperation, and forethought that’s helping to accelerate the pace and diversity of land conservation efforts in Connecticut.
Land trusts know that nature and farm viability doesn’t stop at town borders or state lines. They see, more than ever, the value of preventing land fragmentation, protecting wildlife corridors, and creating greenways.
They understand the need to take care of the land they have been entrusted to protect. That’s why so many land trusts are assessing how they can work together regionally to continue to expand, diversify, and sustain their missions and work in perpetuity.
A larger vision for preserving natural areas is necessary
“We believe that this merger enables us to protect more of the open spaces in our region that are so important to us and future generations,” said Aspetuck Land Trust President, Bill Kraekel.
Aspetuck Land Trust (ALT) and Monroe Land Trust and Tree Conservancy (MLT) announced the merger of their organizations, effective today, July 1. ALT and MLT board members have been in discussion about their two land trusts coming together for several years. The final arrangement was facilitated with the assistance of the Connecticut Land Conservation Council.