Salazar Center for North American Conservation announces $100,000 incentive prize

Colorado State University’s Salazar Center for North American Conservation is serious about conservation – and is putting up big money to prove just how serious.

A $100,000 incentive prize is being offered to nonprofits and other conservation-centric groups throughout North America to come up with the best ideas for creating meaningful change. The cash incentive was announced Sept. 24 during the first Salazar Center International Symposium on Conservation Impact in Denver by CSU President Joyce McConnell.

“The basic idea behind the prize is to encourage small entities with big ideas to affect change,” said Beth Conover, director of the Salazar Center, named for former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “We figured that creating an incentive prize would bring the world to us instead of us trying to find them.”

A panel of judges will review entries and determine which ones have the best potential to succeed. Judges will be drawn from conservation leadership in academia, in the nonprofit world and philanthropy.

CSU President Joyce McConnell announces the CSU Salazar Center Conservation Impact Prize.

Conover added that the prize hopes to realize entries from a demographically diverse group of applicants, including Native Americans. The incentive prize will be offered annually, and recipients will have two years to implement their plans before reporting back to the symposium.

“This is not a reward prize (recognizing work done in the past) – it’s risk capital to create momentum in the conservation movement,” Conover said.

Funding for the prize came from the Trinchera Blanca Foundation, the Bohemian Foundation and donations from Jim Kelley, Patrick Phillips and other supporters. Conover said she hopes to eventually endow the prize fund via fundraising.

Louis Bacon, chairman of Trinchera Blanca Foundation, a Colorado affiliate of The Moore Charitable Foundation, said the center’s prize will serve as a catalyst for fresh approaches and thought leadership in the advancement of landscape-scale conservation in North America.

“Secretary Salazar, the Salazar Center and all involved in this pioneering effort are shining a spotlight on the complex challenges facing conservation in North America,” he added. “We look forward to the cutting-edge thinking and tangible results this effort will generate.”

In addition to the international incentive prize, the Center also announced a CSU-specific prize to mark the university’s 150th anniversary year. The CSU faculty prize will recognize faculty whose research has led to tangible conservation impacts over time.

Both prizes will be launched in December of 2019, accept nominations/submittals until the spring of 2020 and be awarded later in 2020. To sign up for updates, visit connectivitychallenge.org.

“The Salazar Center is an external-facing, impact-oriented entity, and this program fits within that mission,” she said. “We’ll offer a new challenge each year at the symposium, alternating themes between large landscapes and urban conservation/access to green space. We’re excited about the possibilities.”

Conservation Impact Prize

conservation impact prize logo

A $100,000 incentive prize is being offered to nonprofits and other conservation-centric groups throughout North America to come up with the best ideas for creating meaningful change. To sign up for updates, visit connectivitychallenge.org.