Date of Graduation

Summer 6-22-2023

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA)


School of Management

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Greggory Johnson III


For years, the land trust sector of California and much of the United States has operated with a dollars and acres mentality that has prioritized fundraising as a result of acreage protected. Within California, nearly 5.8 million acres of land have been protected by 132 land trusts throughout the state. To accommodate for the diverse cross-section of land and the many needs of the population, land trusts take on numerous shapes and sizes. A unique aspect of this diversity is the rich agricultural and natural spaces found throughout the state. This mix of land and variety of land uses has led to some differences in the purpose and operation of trusts throughout the state. With this large range of land trusts, the goals remain the same: to protect and preserve lands across the state. To accomplish this and further impact the environmental conservation movement, trusts have been forced to move past the dollars and acres mentality and into a larger stewardship and education role. As organizations continue to transition into this role, they must look further and examine the sustainability of their work. Who are we conserving this land for if it continues a cycle of inequity and inaccessibility? The land trust model must continue its transition from dollars and acres but more importantly, it needs to ensure it is taking an active role in the various diversity, equity, and inclusion practices that are readily available in the sector. Examples that were highlighted from organizations in Northern California include the rematriation of land to native tribes and providing opportunities for under-resourced communities to utilize the open spaces protected by the trusts. Without a bigger tent of supporters, funders, and users, land trusts will grow unsustainably into the role of educator and steward. The greatest way to impact environmental conservation and climate change is to mobilize the greatest number of people from a diverse range of backgrounds.