Funding

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Contributions

Grants from foundations and corporations and gifts from individuals are important sources of support for Commonweal. In addition to providing funds for general operating expenses, grant monies and individual gifts are needed to underwrite a wide variety of community-building initiatives (e.g., park design and development, land restoration, Geographic Information System-based planning studies, multi-modal trail development, and conservation easement design and stewardship).
[How to Contribute]

Transaction-generated Funds

Commonweal Conservancy is funded in large part from transactions that advance the organization's public-benefit-serving conservation and community development activities, through landowner donations of land value and through professional services fees. (A donation of land value is defined as the difference between a property's appraised value and the price at which it is sold to a nonprofit organization or government agency.)

In most cases, Commonweal Conservancy will generate unrestricted operating funds from the following process: Commonweal staff will (1) negotiate the purchase of properties from private landowners at "bargain sale prices" (i.e., below appraised value); and (2) sell subdivided parcels to project partners (e.g., public agencies, community development organizations, educational institutions) at prices below a parcel's appraised value. Through this approach, Commonweal Conservancy anticipates capitalizing a portion of the land value donation that it secures through its bargain sale purchases.

An example: To help illustrate the mechanics of this exempt-purposes-serving revenue model, assume that Commonweal Conservancy has the opportunity to purchase a 5-acre property located in a central city location for a price of $2 million. (For purposes of this example, the property's appraised value is assumed to be $2.6 million.) Assuming that the purchase contract affords an inspection period of 12 months, Commonweal Conservancy would use the inspection period to secure development entitlements as well as gather funding commitments for the land's purchase so as to facilitate the development of a 1-acre community housing project, a 2-acre elementary school, and a 2-acre neighborhood park.

After 12 months, with its inspections completed and development entitlements in place, Commonweal would proceed to purchase the property by depositing funds from the three nonprofit and public agency buyers in amounts totaling $2.3 million ($600,000 from the community housing developer, $850,000 from the local school district, and $850,000 from the city parks department). With this pricing model, the community housing developer, school district, and parks agency would each achieve a significant savings in their land costs (compared to the appraised retail value of the individual parcels) and Commonweal would capitalize $300,000 from the original land value donation to recover $200,000 in project costs, as well as underwrite other ongoing organizational expenses.