For nearly a century, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has been at the forefront of conservation efforts in the Northeast — creating and maintaining over 1,800 miles of public nature trails that stretch from northern New Jersey to the Hudson River Valley of New York.
Until recently, however, the Trail Conference — a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization — lacked a permanent headquarters, which hampered its ability to train volunteers and educate the public in its core areas of environmental stewardship, trail building, mapmaking and advocacy.
The Trail Conference turned to Innovative Resources Group for help in launching the largest campaign in its history to raise the resources needed to transform and restore the iconic Darlington Schoolhouse in Mahwah, New Jersey, into a dynamic headquarters and conservation training center. Using our trademark Strategic Action Process©, we worked with Trail Conference staff and stakeholders to build key partnerships, strengthen relationships and leverage more support.
In addition to serving as campaign counsel, Innovative Resources' Creative Innovations Studio team designed brochures and other communications that made the case for restoring the 1891 landmark —considered the most architecturally significant school buildings in New Jersey.
Phase 1 and 2 of the comprehensive campaign successfully raised more than $4 million. When the final $300,000 is secured to meet the full construction budget, the transformation of the historic schoolhouse will be complete — turning a once-decaying structure into a dynamic headquarters that helps the Trail Conference better serve 100,000 outdoor-loving people already connected to the Trail Conference while expanding its reach to meet the needs of valuable new constituencies.