Frequently Asked Questions



What is Keystone Conservation Trust and why was it established?

Keystone Conservation Trust (KCT) is a public charity headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania whose focus is on conserving land and on helping individuals who want to unlock some of the value in their land and property for charitable causes, whether that be for conservation or not. Our goal is to increase the speed, capacity and quality of conservation through innovative charitable solutions and strategic collaboration. KCT was established by four non-profit corporations with extensive experience in both the non-profit and environmental arenas and whose collective vision is to dramatically increase charitable gifts of real estate and to empower collaborative conservation initiatives.



What is the difference between Keystone Conservation Trust and the Legacy Property Fund?

Keystone Conservation Trust (KCT) is the non-profit corporation which manages the Legacy Property Fund (LPF). All donations are made to KCT. Once properties are sold, the funds reside in the LPF and are managed until redistribution to either charities of the donors choice or to critical conservation projects in need of funding. If the donor chooses to have part or all of the proceeds from the property sale reside in the LPF for conservation projects, KCT pools these funds for redistribution to qualified conservation capital projects. KCT also works directly on collaborative initiatives to conserve large scale, strategic landscapes. KCT identifies high priority conservation projects in these landscapes which are eligible for funding from the LPF.



How is KCT different from a land trust or other environmental organization?

KCT's work supports and enhances the work being done by land trusts and others, rather than competing with it. Our goal is to increase the speed with which conservation objectives are achieved and boost the capacity of the conservation community to carry out its urgent work. KCT is focused on substantially increasing the funding for land protection, improving the strategic preparedness of emerging partnerships to manage change effectively, and directing critical resources where they are needed, when they are needed. In so doing, we seek to help conservation practitioners more rapidly achieve the permanent protection of the important landscapes of Pennsylvania.

KCT accomplishes this first by increasing the amount of capital available for conservation projects by accepting, liquidating and re-distributing real estate donations and public penalties through KCT's Legacy Property Fund. Second, we work with organizations in establishing and strengthening collaborative efforts in large landscapes, integrating the disciplines of strategic planning, conservation strategy, change management and finance. Third, KCT identifies, develops and advances the best conservation practices to effectively conserve large-scale landscapes. KCT's role is to accelerate conservation results by helping other conservation organizations reach new levels of success.

KCT also differs from other conservation groups in our scope. Whereas the work of land trusts and watershed organizations is typically focused on a specific geographic area, and other environmental groups may focus on a particular area of interest such as protecting wildlife or farmland, KCT's approach is to facilitate the most important conservation work of the day without regard to geographic boundaries or mission constraints. We provide resources to help the conservation community achieve results faster and more effectively wherever or whatever their focus might be.



Is contributing to KCT similar to supporting a community foundation?

While community foundations exist to address a range of concerns in their own communities, KCT focuses on the need for swift, effective conservation action across the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Like a community foundation, KCT receives funding from multiple sources and re-grants funds for projects of merit, and does so at the direction of the landowner/donor. Unlike a community foundation, KCT specializes in donations of real estate and does not proactively seek and redirect funding to a specific community. KCT works with community foundations to secure gifts of real estate which can become donor-advised funds. Because the proceeds from the Legacy Property Fund are donor-directed, KCT distributes the proceeds according to the donor's wishes - charities of choice, community foundation or other donor-advised funds, or high impact conservation projects, protecting threatened natural habitats and treasured scenic areas.



How does the Legacy Property Fund differ from an endowment?

In contrast to endowments, which provide an ongoing source of funds over a sustained period of time, the Legacy Property Fund (LPF) fills an immediate, capital need for conservation and philanthropy ? funds to support organizations chosen by our donors as well as conservation projects where the threats are imminent and irreplaceable landscapes are about to be lost. At a time when our open spaces are rapidly disappearing and public funds are insufficient to meet today's conservation needs, the LPF will provide a means of closing the funding gap and allowing imperiled lands to be protected forever.

Like an endowment, the LPF pools together the gifts of many contributors to achieve a more substantial impact for change. Unlike endowments, the LPF redistributes 98% of the net proceeds to charities. Donors benefit from realizing a very high return on their contribution, knowing that their contributions are put to work quickly, providing essential support at critical junctures of need. By enabling at-risk lands to be preserved and safeguarded, LPF donations secure a legacy of beautiful and pristine landscapes for the enjoyment of future generations and the ongoing benefit of the native wildlife of our area.



What are the benefits to the donor of giving to the Legacy Property Fund?

LPF provides a major gifting opportunity for the charitable donor interested in making a significant contribution in support of open space protection efforts. By using an asset which may not have previously been considered in personal financial planning, LPF helps these Legacy Property donors realize key personal philanthropic goals.

At the same time, property donations to LPF provide immediate and substantial tax benefits to the donor, offering opportunities to reduce capital gains, income and estate taxes. With homes that have experienced significant appreciation, these tax benefits can be substantial. By shifting the home from being an estate tax burden to a gifting asset in their wealth management portfolio, KCT's Legacy Property Fund provides a winning solution for philanthropic landowners.

Significantly, donors may continue to live in and enjoy the use of their homes for as long as they wish after donation to LPF. Donor properties may also be permanently protected through conservation easements if so desired.

Working with KCT has additional benefits to our donors such as eliminating the sales-related costs and transaction hassles associated with the sale of the donated property. Our approach also provide a seamless complement to the donor's present arrangements as we work closely with donors and their financial advisors to ensure a fit with their individual financial needs and charitable goals.(See Legacy Property Fund Benefits)



How will the money be used?

The resources of the Legacy Property fund will be distributed to high impact conservation projects across the state, all administered by established and capable non-profits and all strategically important to the larger land protection efforts in the region. Through the Legacy Property Fund, KCT is able to pool resources, thereby ensuring that these critical projects get the boost they need. Finally, KCT is able to further leverage donations by using them either as matching funds for grants or seed money for additional donations from others.



How else does KCT support land conservation efforts?

With a focus on building powerful, adaptive alliances of conservation partners, KCT is pioneering a new approach to large-scale conservation planning. The integration of strategic planning tools with conservation strategy and change management tools helps build partnerships faster, ensures solid strategy development, assessing institutional capabilities and readiness, fosters team leadership, and encourages organizational development models that do not over stretch the needs of funding institutions but get the job done.



Who is KCT working with?

We work with major land conservation organizations across the Commonwealth, including statewide and regional associations, state and county agencies, local and regional land trusts, watershed groups, and wildlife conservation organizations. With funding support from the state government, top private foundations, and visionary private donors, we are now enhancing the near-term and long-run ability of the conservation community to face the growing challenges of creating effective conservation solutions. By piloting new approaches, mobilizing partnerships and increasing critical resources for vital preservation initiatives, KCT is advancing our mission of increasing the speed and capacity of conservation in our region so that we all can deliver a legacy of beautiful wild places to future generations.


Latest News

Working with the GreenSpace Alliance and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, KCT is convening partners to focus on the Delaware Riverfront area from Bucks to Delaware ...
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2007 marked the best year yet for KCT's Legacy Property Fund. Over $1 million in charitable gifts was donated that year to more than three ...
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Recent Project


The Pennypack Greenway is a wooded oasis in a highly built-out setting at the margins of Philadelphia. Encompassing three protected areas within both Philadelphia and Montgomery counties (the Pennypack Park, Lorimer Park, and the Pennypack Preserve), the Pennypack watershed houses over 2600 acres of publicly accessible protected lands. Conservation challenges ...
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