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Mass Audubon Launches New $75M Land Protection Fund

Press Release
June 20, 2024

Mass Audubon, the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England, has created a new $75 million land protection fund devoted to accelerating the pace of land conservation in the battle to protect biodiversity and capture and store carbon in an era of rapid climate change.

The largest in the region, Mass Audubon’s 30x30 Catalyst Fund represents our contribution to the global effort of protecting 30 percent of the world’s lands and waters by 2030. An initiative endorsed at the COP 15 climate change forum and by the Biden administration in 2022, Massachusetts is leading the way and providing a model for other states and countries by establishing strategies to protect 30 percent of Massachusetts land—equivalent to an additional 100,000 acres. With a $75 million goal, Mass Audubon’s new private fund will inspire philanthropic investment, and it will leverage public capital to achieve this goal, which equates to protecting areas roughly equal to the size of Boston, Worcester, and Springfield combined.

The fund has been created in direct response to unprecedented changes to our climate that threaten wildlife and the critical habitats they depend on, and increased damage from heat, flooding, and other impacts of severe weather. The 30x30 Catalyst Fund will provide financial resources to protect the most biodiverse and carbon-rich lands across the state.

“Climate change and the loss of biodiversity are the most pressing conservation issues of our time, and that’s why Mass Audubon has created the single most ambitious land conservation effort ever undertaken in our 128-year history,” said Mass Audubon President David O’Neill. “Enormous challenges call for transformative, collaborative, and innovative solutions, and the 30x30 Catalyst Fund is our call to action and represents our organization’s commitment to accelerating the pace of land conservation.”

The seed money for the 30x30 Catalyst Fund is a transformative $25 million gift from MathWorks over seven years, which has already helped protect more than 1,300 acres of vital forest in Winchendon and Ashburnham that were at risk of development. While Mass Audubon has received other significant pledges, we still actively seek to raise an additional $25 million toward our $75 million goal.

The fund will support Mass Audubon projects and also be used to assist communities, state and federal agencies, and other land conservation NGOs with their land protection priorities. The 30x30 Catalyst Fund will allow Mass Audubon and its partners to be nimble and effective in protecting lands rich in carbon and biodiversity, directly supporting projects and providing loans to take advantage of time-sensitive land conservation opportunities.

"The Catalyst Fund and the resources it will leverage will have a significant positive impact to protect land and create a legacy of resilience," said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. "This fund demonstrates Mass Audubon's dedication to understanding how all species and habitats are connected and contribute to the health of our natural resources. We share and applaud their commitment to protecting biodiversity to enrich our ecosystems."

The abundance of large tracts of forest land in Central and Western Massachusetts makes those regions a focus area. A portion of the fund will also protect and restore coastal areas, where the landscape’s abilities to adapt to rising sea levels and other aspects of climate change are an increasing concern.

For more information, visit massaudubon.org/catalystfund.

About Mass Audubon

Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 160,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at massaudubon.org.

Media Contact:
Climate Change
Access to Nature
Birds & Wildlife
land conservation
Catalyst Fund