The Gates Family Foundation (GFF) has demonstrated what it means to be committed to Colorado. With a generational history in the state, the GFF is committed to working with partners and communities across the state to address long-term challenges and deliver impactful opportunities. Gates Family Foundation has been a funding partner to the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) since our founding. CCALT’s efforts to protect working lands would not be possible without the financial support of partners like these and our state’s conservation minded landowners.
Russell Schnitzer, Senior Program Officer – Natural Resources, joined the Gates Family Foundation in the Fall of 2016. With a determination to support land conservation projects statewide through the Foundation’s programmatic and capital grants programs, Schnitzer became a close friend to CCALT. Schnitzer and the Foundation recognize the increasing development pressures throughout Colorado, as well as the critical role of agricultural landowners in managing and preserving ecosystems. Throughout his tenure, he was an advocate for Colorado’s farmers and ranchers as key to achieving lasting conservation outcomes.
Schnitzer’s career at the Gates Family Foundation has influenced organizational development and strategic planning, major gift fundraising, and public policy. Schnitzer parts with the Gates Family Foundation to pursue an opportunity managing a conservation investment fund in Northwest Arkansas, throwing his hat across the creek.
“As someone who comes from a farming family, my grandfather instilled in me at an early age that conservation and agriculture are one in the same. That belief is the core of my personal conservation ethic. Thankfully, that ethic is mirrored by that of the Gates Family Foundation’s natural resources program. The close working partnership with CCALT has helped the foundation evolve and remain relevant in the face of profound conservation challenges. Whatever Colorado’s future holds, I’m confident that this partnership will endure. It has been an honor and a privilege to learn from and support CCALT’s incredible team of professionals.”
Among the many conservation projects invested in by the Gates Family Foundation, CCALT has been lucky enough to work alongside the Foundation and its staff to deliver conservation easements in North Park, throughout Southeastern Colorado, and along the eastern I-70 corridor. In addition to conservation easements, the Foundation has invested in agricultural resiliency work, evaluation of orphaned easements and the impact these will have on the long-term stewardship of conservation, and the 2019 merger with the Yampa Valley Land Trust.
CCALT is grateful for the partnership with the Gates Family Foundation, and we wish Russ the very best down the road and across the creek.
See more of the GFF work here: https://vimeo.com/316890132.