How MALT Increases the Impact of Your Gifts by Leveraging Public Funding
By Peter Fugazzotto,
January 22, 2020
MALT is built on the vision of people from different backgrounds working together to protect Marin’s farmland for farming forever. Our founders, a rancher and a botanist, collaborated to seed the idea of MALT as a nonprofit organization. At MALT, ranchers work side-by-side with scientists to improve soil health. And charitable donations from people like you are amplified with funding from public agencies.
While we share regularly about how important gifts from
individuals are in our work, grants and awards of public money also play a
critical role in protecting Marin’s farms and ranches.
Currently, private contributions from caring individuals like you
comprise 70% of MALT’s budget. What you may not realize is that the other 30% of
MALT’s revenue comes from public funding from county, state and federal
sources. Public funding contributes to the acquisition of agricultural
conservation easements that protect farmland forever.
Today we want to explain a bit more about how public funding
works, how you can participate in the process and how we’re leveraging your tax
dollars to provide local and regional benefits.
Funding to Protect Marin’s Farmland
Public funds are your tax dollars at work. For example, in Marin
County, Measure A is a quarter-cent sales tax, approved by voters in 2012,
dedicated to protecting parks, open space and farmland in Marin County. Measure
A funding has been transformative in increasing MALT’s ability to protect local
Since implemented in 2014, Marin County has awarded
$14.02 million in Measure A-funded grants for farmland preservation. With the
support of the county’s Farmland Preservation Program, MALT has protected an
additional 12 farms and ranches totaling 7,018 acres, providing habitat for
common as well as threatened and endangered native plants and animals.
MALT staff continually keeps up on new and existing public funding
grant programs, evaluates whether our work aligns with a program’s funding
goals, and applies to secure such funding through competitive and open grant
processes. MALT also works with partners to advocate for new sources of
agricultural conservation funding.
The grant programs for which MALT regularly applies include:
- Sustainable Agricultural Land
Conservation Program, administered by the California Strategic Growth Council
- California State Coastal Conservancy
- California Wildlife Conservation
- Marin County Farmland Protection
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation
Service ALE Program
It’s Your Tax Dollars
All of these funding sources are public; they’re your tax dollars
at work! We wholeheartedly encourage everyone to participate in the public
process around the allocation of these funds.
To that end, we want to share with you how you might participate
in open meetings and public processes discussing MALT’s eligibility for
numerous public grants.
The meetings and agendas for the grant programs for which MALT regularly applies can be found in the following locations:
- Marin County Farmland Protection Program, administered by the Marin County Board of Supervisors – Meetings notices and agendas posted here.
- State Coastal Conservancy – Meeting notices and agendas posted here.
- Wildlife Conservation Board – Meeting notices and agendas posted here.
- Sustainable Agricultural Land Conservation Program, administered by the Strategic Growth Council – Meeting notices and agendas posted here.
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service ALE Program – Information posted here.
Transparent About Our Public Funding
MALT’s work is possible because of the tremendous support of our
community. Public funding also plays a critical role. As a non-profit we pride
ourselves on sharing regularly, frequently and transparently about our work to
protect farmland so that all of our supporters can see the impact of their
On our website you will find a map sharing
the story of each and every ranch we’ve protected. Also on our website are
our audited financials, recent 990s and
Coupling private donations with public funding is proving a
winning combination to protect Marin’s farmland forever. We encourage you to be
involved in the public processes through which your tax dollars are used to
support farmland conservation!