for the Sheffield you love
through a Planned Gift—
Sheffield Land Trust
(view pdf brochure)
The Legacy Circle Fund is a board-restricted reserve fund—not an endowment—that will allow the Land Trust to strategically take advantage of conservation opportunities in our community.
Supporters of the fund become members of our new Legacy Circle. By doing so, they help give the Land Trust a secure foundation to protect land in our community and take care of it for all generations to come. There remain hundreds, maybe thousands, of acres of beloved land—farms, forests, fields, wetlands—that Sheffield families may someday want to protect. We want to be ready to help them.
Additionally, we want to build on the strong conservation spirit you have helped nurture in Sheffield. Since the Land Trust was founded in 1989, your and other members’ generous contributions have enabled us to help families conserve more than 5,000 acres of Sheffield’s 31,000-plus acres of land, including more than a dozen family farms. Most of that land remains in private ownership and on Sheffield’s tax rolls. (All the land that we own also remains on the tax rolls.)
The land is important not just for its beauty, our heritage, and the wildlife that it supports, but for the water, food, and clean air that we all depend upon, and the local farm, forest, recreation, and tourist economies that the land supports. Life during the pandemic has reminded us how lucky we are to live in a place where we can just walk out of our houses or drive a short distance to enjoy the great outdoors or safely see family and friends or buy locally grown food.
Sheffield’s land is unique in so many ways. Sheffield hosts the most working farms of any town in Berkshire County, thanks to our agricultural soils and strong history of skilled farming families. It has some of the largest tracts of unbroken forests in the Northeast. Our limestone soils support some of the state’s most rare and endangered terrestrial species, leading Massachusetts to establish the Schenob Brook Area of Critical Environmental Concern in the southwest part of town and The Nature Conservancy to name Sheffield one of its Last Great Places on the planet more than 25 years ago.
In the more than 30 years we’ve been at work, the Sheffield Land Trust has been able to bring millions of dollars in outside private and governmental funds to Sheffield to help pay for protection of our land. That’s only been possible because our members and our community have joined in raising money for the “local contribution,” the share of conservation costs that are required by these outside funders to show that those closest to the land care enough to financially support its conservation.
Our members'support has also allowed the Sheffield Land Trust to become a respected, prominent player in the conservation arena. In the years to come, we want to build on a strong organization that has:
–A diverse working board of directors, composed of longtime and new members, farmers and other business owners, community leaders, and primary- and second-home owners.
–A committed professional staff, each with more than 20 years of service to the Land Trust and broad experience in the field, including serving in leadership roles with state and regional conservation organizations and programs.
–An executive director who is the long-time chair of the statewide Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition Steering Committee.
–More than 400 members and four active committees made up of dozens of volunteers, who help manage the organization and ensure that conserved property is monitored and taken care of.
–Many strong relationships with local, state, and national conservation groups, as well as other local nonprofits. (You can see a list at the bottom of this letter.)
–A history of organizational stability, innovation, and success— accomplishments recognized by conservation peers.
–A long history of engagement with the local community, including working with nearby schools and a long-standing program of public events, lectures, and tree plantings.
A longtime board member, Libby O’Connor, started us thinking about establishing a Legacy Circle Fund when she included us in her will. Here’s what her niece says about how Libby left her estate:
“Libby spent much of her professional life as a planned giving officer
at some of the nation’s best nonprofits. She saw how planned gifts
can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of a nonprofit like the Sheffield Land Trust. Libby lived her beliefs, and in passing she left
a generous bequest to the Land Trust.” —Carolyn Fulton
Another of our neighbors explains why he has included the Land Trust in his planning:
“What the Sheffield Land Trust has accomplished is truly amazing.
The working farmland and other open space make Sheffield a healthy and pleasant place to live. I have included the Land Trust in my will
to help preserve this quality of life, especially for the children, well
into the future.” —Chris Nye
Sustainability lies at the heart of every land trust’s mission, and that means building our reserves. Making a legacy gift lets you accomplish your financial goals and support a cause that is important to you. You can do that by naming the Land Trust as a beneficiary. Donations can also be made in cash, stocks, real estate or other assets. Many planned-giving options offer tax benefits, as well. Of course, it is always important to consult an attorney or other financial advisor to discuss what options are best for you.
Please review the Legacy Circle brochure (read pdf) for more details, and don’t hesitate to be in touch or to have an attorney or other advisor contact us when you are ready to proceed. You can call Kathy Orlando, Sheffield Land Trust’s executive director for land protection, at 229-0234 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.