Environmental groups aim to pool resources
December 2, 2011
Environmental groups from across Northern Utah gathered together Wednesday to start a new dialogue. Local groups like the Park City Foundation and the Summit Land Conservancy met at the Canyons Resort with other nonprofits in hopes to find and discuss common goals for the environment and for Utah.
"This is about having people talk," said Fraser Nelson, the executive director of The Community Foundation of Utah. "We want people to create relationships and collaborations."
The Community Foundation of Utah is a public organization that pools resources and invests in community projects that connect nonprofits. The group called together the "Our Natural Heritage" meet-and-greet Wednesday as a way to get the ball rolling on discussions looking at big-picture issues.
The Community Foundation of Utah board member, Jeramy Lund, said he hopes discussions will lead to less work for nonprofits.
"One of the things I’ve noticed just being involved in the community is that there is just not enough dialogue between groups when we’re working on issues," Lund said. "We need to figure out the best way to facilitate action. This happens all the time where you have two or three different groups working on exactly the same issue that never coordinate what they’re doing."
Katie Wright of The Park City Foundation said she knows there have been times where the job could have been easier if her group was more aware of possible connections.
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"To solve any real issues, you need to work collaboratively," Wright said. "You have to get together in the same room as people who care about the same issues."
That is just the first step to something more for Lund, who said that in addition to getting environmental groups together, he would like to start a process where the environmental groups, government and industry can talk on a regular basis.
"Take any controversial issue," he said. "Take the gondola here. Groups need to be less reactionary and we need to create a process where Talisker could reach out and talk to environmental community."
While part one of his project is to facilitate a dialogue, the second part will add onto the Natural Heritage project, a one-stop donation process that creates endowments to secure local nonprofits’ futures.
Wright of Park City Foundation said collaboration is something her organization would love to see in the future. The parkcitygreen.org initiative is one that Wright said could easily be bridged to other cities in the state.
"One thing I know is that the parkcitygreen.org project wants to be more connected and work with the business community on how we can green practices and help them save money," Wright said.
Whether it is building onto a program, taking on a conversational issue or keeping nonprofits around in the future, Lund said he hopes Wednesday’s first step will open up avenues of conversation that may have once been closed.