Foundation will leverage public, private funds to benefit BLM-managed public lands
Date: Wednesday, January 19, 2022
WASHINGTON — Taking historic action that will benefit the nation’s public lands for generations to come, the Foundation for America’s Public Lands launched today at a virtual event featuring remarks by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Department leaders. This congressionally chartered, non-profit foundation authorized by Congress in 2017 will help leverage public and private dollars to conserve, protect and restore lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management for the benefit of the American people.
“It is a privilege and honor to manage America’s public lands for the benefit of current and future generations. To do that right, we need a Bureau of Land Management ready for the future, not just with the right personnel, structure and resources but also with a support system of outside partners collaborating on its success,” said Secretary Haaland. “I’m proud to appoint visionary leaders who will take on the enormous task of building the Foundation from the ground up to create this legacy and ensuring that its work is closely aligned with the agency’s mission and priorities.”
“We are thrilled to begin working with these remarkable leaders to get the Foundation for America’s Public Lands off to a great start. Like its sister foundations at the Park Service, Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service, I’m confident this organization will play a historic role for our public lands,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning.
Secretary Haaland named four founding Board members, distinguished leaders with extensive experience who will oversee and guide the Foundation in its initial efforts. The Foundation for America’s Public Lands will operate and raise funds independent of the BLM, though its work will complement that of the agency and help the BLM better accomplish its mission. The four founding Board members include:
In the coming months, Secretary Haaland will appoint an additional five founding Board members to staggered terms of four and six years to complete the Board. The BLM is working with the initial Board members to file papers of incorporation with the District of Columbia, where the Foundation will be officially located, and to apply to the Internal Revenue Service to secure 501(c)3 tax exempt status.
On May 5, 2017, Congress authorized the creation of a BLM-affiliated Foundation in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017. As mandated by the legislation, the Foundation will: (1) encourage, accept, and administer private gifts of money, real and personal property; and in-kind services for the benefit of, or in connection with the activities and services of, the Bureau of Land Management; (2) carry out activities that advance the purposes for which public land is administered; (3) carry out and encourage educational, technical, scientific, and other assistance or activities that support the mission of the BLM; and (4) assist the BLM with challenges that could be better addressed with the support of a foundation, including reclamation and conservation activities, activities relating to wild free roaming horses and burros, and the stewardship of cultural and archaeological treasures on public land.
The BLM will provide initial funding and support for the Foundation and is in the process of hiring a full-time liaison who will work closely with its Board and staff to ensure close coordination. Once operational, the Foundation will operate independently of the agency, though the BLM Director will serve as an ex officio Board Member.