Trail Giving

Tiffany hiking at the ATC 2017 Conference in Maine

“Opportunity Makers,” although

not a commonly used term, are those individuals who see opportunities for positive change and grab the brass ring to make things happen. At the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) we are so fortunate to have “Opportunity Makers” all around us. They are those individuals who donate their time, talent, and treasure to make our organization run smoothly all while protecting and maintaining the almost 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Our thousands of members, donors, and volunteers embody this mission as they come together to do something much bigger than any individual.

So, as we head into the autumn and early winter months, I ask you to consider what kind of Opportunity Maker are you, or will you become? This premise is much more than wealth, or titles, or lots of contacts—although we appreciate those things too. Creating opportunity is our capacity to connect around each other’s better side to bring out our charitable efforts. As I recently stepped into a new role as the ATC’s vice president of Membership and Development, I hope to further foster those behaviors that so many of you already do — to reimagine our fundraising so that we are constantly utilizing our best talents, resources, and time to accomplish even greater things together.

With this in mind, we have much to be proud of and excited by in the coming months. This past summer, the Membership and Development Department, as well as countless volunteers, board members, and ATC staff executed several events, including our final Biennial Conference with the guidance of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and the Appalachian Mountain Club. Proudly, more than 800 attendees joined us to enjoy hikes, excursions and workshops during the August 4 to 11 event at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. This fall, we take on new initiatives including our Tribute Garden located at the ATC’s Headquarters in Harpers Ferry. The garden will be a permanent public memorial honoring those who have walked on, helped protect, or been inspired by the A.T. It will be a space where loved ones, volunteers, members, hikers, and staff can be celebrated and remembered. It also will serve as a beautiful and fitting place to commemorate the generosity of donors who support the ATC’s legacy and future. Groundbreaking for this project will kick off in spring of 2018. We will also ramp up our Planned Giving program and are putting a plan of action together to celebrate individuals who generously provide support to the ATC through legacy giving via their estate planning. Look for more on this in the coming months. Finally, we welcome a new team member to our Membership and Development staff — Chris Blosser, director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, who will be strengthening our corporate and foundation giving programs.

I am encouraged by our new opportunities and I hope you will help further shepherd the ATC’s success. There is no gift too small, as small gifts combine to do great things! Remember, as Dave Liniger, noted motivational author once said, “You can’t succeed coming to the potluck with only a fork.” It truly does take a village.

Tiffany Lawrence / Vice President of Membership & Development