At its recent annual meeting, local conservation nonprofit Upstate Forever announced that the organization exceeded its initial $7.5 million goal in the Crossroads Campaign to protect green space, safeguard water quality, and promote balanced development in the Upstate region.
The Crossroads Campaign launched publicly in March of 2019 and ultimately raised nearly $8.5 million, including a $1 million anonymous gift made in memory of Marjorie E. Schmidt, a long-time Greenville resident with a heart for nature.
“Growth is coming. By 2040, more than 320,000 additional people will call the Upstate home,” said Andrea Cooper, Upstate Forever’s Executive Director. “We are at a crossroads regarding how and where we will grow. We want to welcome our new neighbors while being vigilant about the natural assets we need and love. As a conservation organization, we saw a need to take bold, immediate action to protect land, water, and the special character of the Upstate in light of such unprecedented growth. That’s why we launched the Crossroads Campaign, and we’re truly grateful to everyone who supported it.”
Upstate Forever will use funds from the Crossroads Campaign to help:
- Permanently protect 15,000 additional acres of land by 2022
- Safeguard the region’s water quality and quantity
- Provide for work with communities to reduce sprawl, and
- Engage more voices for conservation and responsible growth practices
“Thanks to the many generous donors who gave to the Crossroads Campaign, Upstate Forever staff can work even more effectively to protect the Upstate’s special places at this critical turning point for our region,” said Aldon Knight, Upstate Forever’s Director of Development and Community Relations. “We also thank our members who sustain Upstate Forever through annual giving — their support is the lifeblood of this organization. Together, we will ensure that we grow intelligently while protecting the natural character that makes the Upstate a beautiful place to call home.”
Efforts are already underway to protect critical lands throughout the region. Funding from Crossroads has already directly supported land conservation efforts in places like Jones Gap State Park, Paris Mountain State Park, Persimmon Ridge, and acreage along the Chauga River. To date, Upstate Forever’s nationally accredited land trust protects more than 23,000 acres, including more than 100 miles of rivers and streams.
Visit the Upstate Forever website for additional information.