It’s been an exciting first three months as Executive Director of the LOR Foundation. I began with a focus on listening and inquiry, and have had the pleasure of meeting or talking with many of you. I greatly appreciate your feedback, advice, and candor as I work to position LOR for the future. I still have so much to learn, but I wanted to share my early perspective and some information about what I see ahead.

I could not be more enthusiastic about LOR’s mission and the work of our partners and grantees to enhance livability and quality of life in our beloved Intermountain West. As you know all too well, our region is at a critical juncture. There is a pressing need to protect and restore the incredible outdoor amenities that make our region such an attractive place to live, but there is an equally pressing need to support our rural economies—the communities that safeguard and steward these amenities. At LOR, we believe healthy landscapes and healthy communities go hand in hand; in fact, it’s hard to have one without the other.

I’ve devoted my career to community-based conservation, and I welcome the opportunity to now expand upon that experience to support homegrown, community-based solutions to the challenges our rural communities face. In the coming months, we’ll be thinking about how LOR can be most impactful in supporting community-driven solutions and helping to create a movement of engaged, inspired citizens working to enhance livability and quality of life.

We are so proud of what LOR and its partners have accomplished together. At the same time, we can do better. That starts with being clear—both internally and with our partners—about our goals. We are sharpening our approach to grantmaking and developing straightforward guidelines that communicate our funding priorities. During this process, we’ll maintain our momentum and move forward with current projects as well as new grantmaking.

We’ll also deepen our engagement and community presence. We have opened a Montana office and will be adding a senior program officer to join our team of program officers and communication staff in Wyoming and New Mexico.

When I was with The Trust for Public Land, I was proud of our partnership with LOR, and I bring the perspective of a grantee to the Foundation’s work. That’s why I want to make sure that your experiences collectively inform our thinking going forward. In the coming weeks, please be on the lookout for a grantee survey to be administered by the Center for Effective Philanthropy. I hope you will participate in the survey and continue to share your feedback with us.

With your continued partnership, we look forward to supporting the vital rural communities that make the Intermountain West such an extraordinary place to live, work and play.

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Deb Love