Annual Report
August, 2014

Compiling and finalizing this report has been a truly bittersweet experience. On the one hand, we are incredibly proud of the work which Conservation Resources Inc. (CRI) has done over the course of the last decade to identify and develop innovative new resources for conservation projects here in New Jersey, as well as the impressive suite of conservation projects we have been able to support. And while this report will provide details on those successes, it is not without some considerable regret that we cease operations here at CRI, for that will end our direct involvement in so many exemplary conservation projects and with so many wonderful conservation partners.

This report will not only detail the successes in conservation that we have seen in the last ten years, but also highlight some of the lessons we've learned. As one of the nation's first conservation intermediary organizations, we very much hope that the broader conservation community across the country can learn from our challenges and failures, as well as from our opportunities and successes. We have also worked hard to insure that important aspects of CRI's pioneering work will endure. The Open Space Institute has agreed to assume responsibility for The Conservation Exchange, and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation will be administering future rounds of the Franklin Parker Small Grants Program. Hopefully, each of these programs will continue to sustain innovative conservation projects for many years to come.

We would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank those who have made our work possible during the last decade. It is worth noting that CRI would never have been launched but for two generous start-up grants from the William Penn Foundation and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. We owe a huge debt of gratitude for the confidence that Feather Houston O'Connor, Geraldine Wang, Andrew Johnson and others at Penn, as well as David Grant and Robert Perry at Dodge, had in our ability to create a useful new organization which could leverage their existing considerable support of conservation. The Penn and Dodge Foundations were a mainstay of support for CRI throughout our history, and were soon joined by the Victoria Foundation, as well as so many other generous funders.

We would also like to acknowledge the handful of farsighted regulators who were open to CRI's role in matching those members of the regulated community who needed to fund a conservation project in order to satisfy a regulatory requirement with a non-profit organization or local government seeking funding for an appropriate project. For their part, the regulated community and their legal advisors and consultants instinctively "got" CRI's role and welcomed this new way to comply with New Jersey's stringent environmental regulatory requirements.

The conservation community of New Jersey includes some amazingly talented and dedicated individuals and organizations. We thank them for their willingness to work with CRI, as well as their vision and dedication in pursuing their respective missions in what is surely the most challenging set of circumstances in the country. We are immensely gratified that the very last funding round for our Franklin Parker Small Grants Program was our largest ever, and that we were able to help provide both seed money and matching funds for so many ambitious and remarkable conservation projects being undertaken by these partners.

Last but not least, CRI's trustees and staff deserve significant acknowledgement and credit. Under the astute guidance of an amazing Board of Trustees, CRI staff included some remarkably talented individuals who were as familiar with conservation projects and partners as they were dedicated to the cause. Together, we set out to create a new organization which was purposely lean and efficient in terms of overhead and administrative expenses, user-friendly for those who availed themselves of our services, and which was a model employer in terms of progressive and flexible policies that allowed our staff to make a significant contribution while still having the time to be with their families and to pursue the personal interests that keep us all vital and energetic. We take great pride in the fact that, together, we created an amazing organization completely from scratch, and CRI succeeded in each and every one of our objectives. In so doing, our trustees and staff made a demonstrable and lasting difference in conservation matters here in the most densely populated state in the nation.

Sincerely,

Michael Catania
Co-Founder, President and General Counsel