by Mark Welther, President and CEO, RFFI Inc.
2020 has been a year like no other, with COVID-19, a global recession,wildfires and more. Even so, RFFI has completed another successful year pioneering community forestry.
RFFI has survived this year thanks to the generosity of supporters like you. Many have stepped up to give more – we thank you. Now, heading into 2021, our success depends even more upon your consistent support.
RFFI is a small, self-supporting nonprofit that owns a big business, the Usal Redwood Forest Company (URFC). URFC, in turn, owns and operates the Usal Forest and generates income from logging and carbon sales.
Why is this important? Because URFC income is restricted for Usal debt payments and forestry operations – none of it supports the RFFI programs you value:
• Future forest acquisitions – Board member Steve Pearson says that he looks forward to the day when RFFI owns not just Usal, but ten community forests
• Purchase and development of the Reist Ranch, the 95-acre in-holding homestead, Development ideas include an educational or scientific research center
• Salmon stream restoration
• Educational Partnerships with the Anchor Academy, the Krenov School and others
• Community-based projects such as the Sudden Oak Bioblitz and wildlife monitoring
• The Chinquapin Springs Acorn Grove, a traditional gathering site for our tribal neighbors
• The proposed McCoy Creek Trail and recreational events like the Usal Hopper Biking Race
• Future RFFI profits invested back into the community.
In 1997, RFFI was founded as a bold experiment. We successfully used private capital to leverage public funds to acquire large forest resources. Now, our developing model demonstrates how an innovative community governance structure can successfully restore a large, depleted landscape, address climate change, protect human health and build back community wealth.
In this COVID-19 time of tight budgets and cancelled events, RFFI needs to raise $75,000 by December 31st to begin 2021 strong. I am asking you, as you make your year-end gifts, to support RFFI and the programs you value at the greatest level you can afford.
Then together let’s get on with building Steve’s vision of ten community forests. Thank You for your support and Happy Holidays!
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