The Nature Conservancy
Nonprofit Land Bank Amasses Billions
The Conservancy is the world's richest environmental group, amassing $3 billion in assets by pledging to save precious places. But recently it has aligned closely with corporations. In addition to land conservation, it pursued drilling, logging and development. Its approach has led to strange bedfellows.
$420,000 a Year and No-Strings Fund
Officials at the Nature Conservancy say their finances are an open book, a stance charity experts describe as essential to promoting public trust. Still, simple answers can prove difficult to get.
Image Is a Sensitive Issue
A look inside the Nature Conservancy reveals a whirring marketing machine that has poured millions into building and protecting the organization's image, laboring to transform the charity into a household name.
Part Two: When Conservation and Business Fail to Mix
How a Bid to Save a Species Came to Grief
Mobil Oil gave the Conservancy a patch of prairie that encompassed the last native breeding ground of the most endangered bird in North America. The Conservancy wanted to turn the site into a national model of environmentally compatible drilling. But the results illustrate how the organization's philosophy and profit pursuits can put its core mission at risk.
For-Profit 'Flagship' Hits Shoals
Five years after the Nature Conservancy converted an abandoned U.S. Coast Guard station building into a rustic inn on Virginia's Eastern Shore as part of a $3-million for-profit venture, the group has declared the project a waste of money.
The Beef About the Brand
Of all the products that carry the Nature Conservancy imprimatur, perhaps the most unexpected is beef.
Part Three : A House in the Woods
Nonprofit Sells Land to Allies at a Loss
The Nature Conservancy has often resold raw land at a loss to supporters as part of a program to limit intrusive development, but the sales generally allow buyers to construct sprawling homes with swimming pools on the environmentally sensitive sites.
Landing a Big One: Preservation, Private Development
When the Conservancy acquired rare open sandplain on Martha's Vineyard it hailed it as "an important victory for conservation." While the Conservancy placed restrictions limiting some development, it also resold half of it, paving the way for Gatsbyesque vacation homes.
Part Four: Conserving Land and Wealth
Developers Find Payoff in Preservation
Mike Kahn, a Florida business consultant and former golf pro, advises celebrities and sports stars how they can save millions in taxes: Buy a golf course and prohibit building on the fairways.
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