Investing in Regional Conservation: A Model from New England

To accelerate the pace of land conservation in New England, the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust committed $1.1 million over three years in support of developing Regional Conservation Partnerships. In partnership with Highstead, the Cox Trust created two grant programs:

Donated Land and Easement Grant Program 

  • 6 awards of $100,000 each to cover transaction costs like appraisals and surveys
  • Each served as seed funds granted to RCPs to incentivize owners of priority lands to donate easements or provide deep bargain sales

RCP Innovation Program 

  • 14 awards of $20,000 each
  • Built capacity of RCPs to conserve more land, pilot new projects and conservation tools, develop new landowner outreach projects, engage in strategic planning and priority setting, plan and initiate capital campaigns

As one of its closing acts, the Cox Trust celebrated the success of the two programs at the 2017 RCP Network Gathering in Nashua, NH, and recognized two exceptionally innovative RCPs with two final Blue Sky Awards of $45,000 each: the High Peaks Initiative and the MassConn Sustainable Forest Partnership

Be part of the collaborative movement to conserve New England’s unique farms and forests, wildlands and communities. Your investment will have a positive impact for generations to come!

Check out the links below for more information on the Donated Land and Easement Transaction Program and RCP Innovation Program and RCPs that received awards. Contact Highstead Senior Conservationist Bill Labich at

Program Overview, Lessons Learned, and Final Report from Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust 

Environment Awards Program: Regional Conservation Partnerships - Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust

Beyond Habitat: Lessons from the Transaction Costs Grants - Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust

Learn about the history of the Cox Trust and the inspiration and thought process behind their investment strategy by reading Generations of Impact: Celebrating 35 Years of Giving (click here to go directly to RCP feature page).  

RCP Network Blog Posts

2017 Cox Trust RCP Grant Awards - May 12, 2017 - RCP Network Blog post by Prentice Zinn

Early Lessons from the Cox Trust Donated Land and Easement Fund - June 17, 2016 - RCP Network Blog post by Prentice Zinn


Cox Trust Grantees and Award Descriptions