‘A place that reflects their values’

Why a couple decided to further our mission by building us a new home

conservationcenter_000In 2007, following a visit to our leased offices on the second floor of a commercial building, a Land Conservancy supporter made an extraordinary, unsolicited gesture:  She and her husband offered to build us a new home.  We asked the couple, who wish to remain anonymous, to reflect on this generous offer. Here is what they wrote. “We’ve been asked what motivated us to offer the Land Conservancy a building for its headquarters. Not only have the two of us lived and worked in Northeast Ohio for many years but our family has a long history here.   As children, farming was part of our lives, from apples to haying to raising chickens.  We love this community – its people, countryside, communities (and even the weather).  Seeing farms disappearing and developments filling in the beautiful fields was distressing. We were always impressed with the passion and skill the Land Conservancy brought to organization; tracking the community to find possible properties, soliciting funds and finding creative ways to preserve them.  They were achieving a huge success for our community.  The little, second-floor Land Conservancy office was stretched to the limit.  But that in itself was not a bad thing – pressure breeds excitement.   Some of the most creative and passionate initiatives we have known, thrive under that pressure. Then a few years ago we began noticing something new – at least new to us.  The vision of the Land Conservancy was expanding well beyond traditional land conservation programs, to consider more broadly the threats and needs of the future.   They started involving people with expertise in areas such as urban development, water issues, pollution, forests, wildlife and food production. We began to realize that here was the opportunity:  to create for the Land Conservancy a facility which would provide appropriate space and efficiency for its operations.  It could be a place that reflects their values and the community they represent.  A place they would be proud of. At the same time, it would provide a beautiful facility to bring community people together with their own dreams of possibilities.” We suspected that the Land Conservancy desperately wanted space but it would certainly not have been appropriate for them to ask their donors for money to build fancy facilities.  We could solve that problem by just offering it to them as a gift – take it or leave it.  But we could just give it to them for them to take or not as they saw best. So… How’s it going so far?  Well, it took quite a time to find the right location and get some plans together, but we were joined by a number of other people who, in one way or another, made very serious contributions.  Having Charles and Sandy Lang come forward with their generous offer was just incredible. Everything was right about the property – the wonderful old house and the land completely surrounded by parkland.  What could be better? Far and away, the most exciting part is that Rich Cochran and the Land Conservancy board have indeed led us all in a much more farsighted initiative to envision and protect our environment and community.  Particularly, we love their commitment to an educational program on community issues. It has been an incredible experience for us. We have gotten to know so many wonderful people. We love architecture and construction and they have been nice enough to involve us in the whole process. It has been a great experience to see so many other people and businesses give so generously of their time and money to help the project along. This is truly a generous community. The new headquarters is certainly a dream that has come true for us and we feel strongly that it will provide a base for many new ideas and directions. Future generations will be able to enjoy and live with nature at its finest.”