Land trusts, also known as conservancies, are not-for-profit organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife habitat and natural lands by acquiring ownership rights and transfer of development rights (conservation easements) either thru donation or purchase. This series of Term Projects follows a small land trust through the process of budgeting. Term Project I requires students to develop and analyze an annual line-item budget and translate that budget, and additional information, into a quarterly cash budget. Term Project II requires students to convert the line-item budget into a functional budget. Further information is employed by students to create a flexible budget. Actual numbers have been obscured while remaining true to the problems faced by the organization.
Chippewa Watershed Conservancy: Not-for-profit Budgeting
Term Project I: Line-item and Cash Budgets
The Chippewa Watershed Conservancy (CWC) is a small (1 staff person) land trust operating in the Mt. Pleasant, Michigan area. Founded in 1985, the CWC has protected 4,233 acres in the Central Michigan area with 49 land protection projects and ranks in the top 10 out of more than 40 conservancies in Michigan in acreage protected. They can be found at www.chippewawatershedconservancy.org.
The CWC operated on a volunteer basis from 1985 until 2004. During that time period volunteers performed all management functions and succeeded in protecting more than four square miles of wildlife habitat in five counties. However, it became apparent that due to the increasing number of protected parcels and the evolution of legal requirements and management standards that the CWC needed professional leadership. In 2004 a part-time employee was hired. That position evolved over the next several years to a full-time Executive Director status. Over that time period management responsibilities were transferred from volunteers to the Executive Director. Members of the Board of...
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