We have been asked this question for years by hundreds of people and organizations in the hunting and conservation world. The people who ask the question are sincere. The concern is real and is justified.
We share the concern and have been searching for the solution. Though we work at a fever pace, we have learned the work will never be done. Trust me; the work must continue after we are gone.
We have fashioned a solution as part of Conservation Force’s short- and long-term plans, five and 10-plus years, respectively. The plans are evolving, but Conservation Force’s succession and development is being treated as the priority. There is just too much dependent upon my health and decades of volunteer services. There is no substitute for my expertise, which comes into play every day. The plan is to carefully select, hire, train and test qualified staff to follow in our steps. Their expertise will have to be in different, multiple specialties such as international wildlife treaties, laws and regulations, wildlife management and both the hunting and scientific communities. The sooner select, paid staff can be hired, trained on the job and put to the test, the better. The work is not for everybody, and we will not accept half-hearted people without a true devotion to the industry and a real work ethic.
The selection of qualified people and transfer of esoteric expertise will be challenging, so we intend to start right away. If we start now, there should be time to get it right. The need has been confirmed and a course of action has been established. The one, most important need is funding, which is essential. Periodic cash flow will help. A capital campaign like our Endowment Fund can help too. What is really needed is a legacy gift program targeting gifts of real property, stocks and bonds. Most wealth is held in real property. That is the well we have to tap to transfer the expertise and carry Conservation Force forward.
This is our first announcement of Conservation Force’s Legacy Gift program calling for gifts of real estate, stocks and bonds. The gift of real estate can be immediate and in full (fee simple) or it can be after life, as in a will. It can be with the right to use reserved until one’s death. For success, the sooner the better. We have significant supporters die every year and have to tend to this before we do too.
We will do all that we can to develop and provide for the succession of Conservation Force, but ultimately those that can, need to step up and provide the funding. The amount needed will most likely have to come from legacies and property donations.
First Legacy Donation: Chrissie and I have made the first legacy donation by bequeathing our home in our wills with a provision that the surviving spouse has the right of full use and occupancy until his or her death. This will certainly help, but it will come too late and be too little. Not only do we expect to live long, the search for champions and transfer of expertise needs to start now and needs to be complete before my own bequest can add to the funding. Funding after my death is really too late.
We have done and continue to do all that we can. Now it is up to you out there. You and you alone can make the difference. We have given all that we can and all that we have. Won’t you help? Conservation Force is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Help us carry on and pass it on.
If interested in making the gift of property or a legacy donation, please contact John J. Jackson at Conservation Force, PO Box 278, Metairie, LA 700040-0278, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you do put us in your will, please let us know. Send a copy.