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We are an organization built on the spirit of collaboration.
In 2006, Western Reserve Land Conservancy was created by the largest-ever merger of land trusts in the United States. Eight northern Ohio land trusts -- two of which were themselves the product of mergers -- voluntarily joined forces to form a private, nonprofit conservation organization for a region that stretches from Sandusky Bay to the Pennsylvania border and from Lake Erie to Wayne County. Four years later, the Land Conservancy grew again by merging with Grand River Partners. And at the start of 2013, two more conservation groups joined us -- the Waite Hill Land Conservancy and the Little Beaver Creek Land foundation. Today, Western Reserve Land Conservancy is the result of the mergers of 13 organizations.
With the Little Beaver Creek Land Foundation merger, the Land Conservancy expanded from its footprint from 14 to 17 counties, adding Columbiana, Jefferson and Carroll.
In addition, the Land Conservancy in 2011 formed Thriving Communities Institute, a program designed to revitalize Ohio's urban centers. This program, headed by Jim Rokakis, has helped institute county land banks throughout Ohio and has helped secure $182 million in funding for the demolition of vacant and abandoned structures.
Our collaborative land-protection efforts have produced results. The eight local land trusts that merged to form the Land Conservancy in 2006 had collectively preserved about 8,000 acres. By the end of 2013, the Land Conservancy had topped the 500 mark in the number of preserved parcels and was approaching the 40,000 figure in total protected acres.