abbott

Upper Saco Valley Land Trust Executive Director William Abbott, seen in 2019, is stepping down after 10 years at the helm of the non-profit. The position is being advertised. (JAMIE GEMMITI PHOTO)

CONWAY — The Upper Saco Valley Land Trust announced earlier this month that its executive director of 10 years, William Abbott of Conway, will be moving on to work with another non-profit — the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation — in February.

Abbott will be leaving USVLT in sound financial shape, with last fall’s completion of a $6 million capital campaign, according to the board of directors.

Abbott’s new role with the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is as senior philanthropy adviser for the Lakes Region and North Country. He said he’ll work with donors who are "passionate about addressing crucial community needs in New Hampshire, including conservation of our landscape."

Abbott said: “I’m excited for the next chapter, and for the many opportunities I’ll have to work with donors to support so many of our worthy local non-profits.

"My departure from USVLT is bittersweet, as the group has become a second family over the last 10 years. But, I also feel that I’m leaving on a high note, with the organization now having solid financial footing, and with many exciting land conservation projects now in the pipeline," he said.

Among these land conservation projects is the proposed 1,200-acre Dundee Community Forest in Bartlett and Jackson, which is scheduled to be completed in June.

The fundraising for that project has been completed, thanks to the "20 Years & Onward Campaign" capital campaign that wrapped up last fall, which included a $2.3 million Forest Legacy Grant and a $500,000 grant from New Hampshire’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP).

The 20 Years & Onward Campaign will also provide funding for an expansion of Conway’s Pine Hill Community Forest (an additional 134 acres near Kennett High School is on-track to be purchased this month). The campaign is also seeding a Capital Reserve Fund of $1 million to sustain USVLT’s future stewardship initiatives, as well as an Agricultural Fund to conserve farmland and advocate for local family-scale farms.

During Abbott’s tenure, USVLT completed 37 land protection projects throughout its 11-town service area (which includes parts of Oxford County in Maine), and the Land Trust became accredited by the national Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission.

The Land Trust also doubled its staff, tripled its membership and spearheaded a strategic planning effort now underway. USVLT is currently working on more than 17 separate projects that will continue this track record of conserving land for community benefit.

Abbott thanked USVLT’s volunteer board of directors and staff, and he gave them credit for much of the success of the past decade.

USVLT is currently accepting inquiries and applications for Abbott’s replacement in the position of executive director. The job posting and full position description are available online at usvlt.org/employment.

The Upper Saco Valley Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its motto is “Preserving Land for Community Benefit.” USVLT has completed more than 80 conservation projects since 2001, totaling 13,000 acres throughout the towns of Hart’s Location, Bartlett, Jackson, Albany, Chatham, Conway, Eaton, and Madison in New Hampshire, and Brownfield, Denmark, and Fryeburg in Maine.

Learn more about the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust by calling (603) 662-0008 or going to usvlt.org.

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