American Friends Financial Report 2014

Revenue $198,246


Revenue Summary
Program Fees$29,550
In Kind Donation$53,190
Total Revenue


*American Friends is especially grateful for the probono legal services of:

Mark McHughan, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
Murray Braaten, Lando&Co LLP
Paul Peterson, HGR Graham Partners LLP
Konrad Liegel, Konrad Liegel PLLC
Peter Forester, Q.C., Cox & Palmer

Expenses $192,756


Expenses Summary
Program $102,222
Grants to Canadian Land Trusts$45,522
Total Expenses$192,756

Completed Projects Summary
Acres ConservedAppraised Value
Prior Years1,9535,168,847
Totals2452 Acres$6,624,376

Why Support American Friends with your Financial Gift?

Canadian land trusts work tirelessly to protect the landscapes and communities that are cherished by citizens of both our countries – and many others. Their work reflects pride and love for Canada’s heritage. Financial contributions from people like you – who appreciate Canada’s lakes, rivers, shorelines, wetlands, forests and wildlife – are essential to ensure the permanent protection of these special places.

One way American Friends assists organizations dedicated to protecting Canada’s iconic landscapes is by facilitating gifts of cash, securities and land from US taxpayers. American Friends is recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a publicly-supported charity, therefore gifts are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.

Please consider including American Friends and its partners in your charitable giving.

Sustaining Corporate Partners Program

Corporations interested in investing in protection of landscapes beloved by generations of Canadians and Americans can underwrite the work of American Friends and its partners at a national, regional, provincial or local scale. We invite business leaders to participate in American Friends innovative cross-border alliances with U.S. taxpayers who own strategic conservation properties in Canada. Sustaining Corporate Partners benefit by expanding the preservation of priority lands in Canada, obtaining unparalleled leverage for their contributions and communicating with their markets about their commitment to protecting Canada’s natural heritage for future generations.

Another Cross-Border Breakthrough in Georgian Bay, Ontario

A rare potential conservation donation in Georgian Bay Ontario, with a common potential preservation pitfall, produced a successful gift and good news for landowners and land trusts.

Georgian Bay Land Trust (GBLT) had an opportunity to protect an undeveloped island featuring undisturbed stands of White Pine and Red Oak, open rock barrens and coastal meadow marsh. The rock barren and marsh are ideal habitat for two rare species: the Eastern Foxsnake and the Eastern Mississauga rattlesnake.

georgian-bay2This scenic, developable and valuable property was owned by nine individuals, some Canadian and some American, all descendants of five area property-owners who acquired the island more than 60 years ago. The Canadians controlled 60% of the total ownership and the Americans 40%. Although all of the owners agreed they wanted to protect the island there wasn’t an organization that could accept tax deductible donations from both Canadians and Americans.

GBLT’s leaders knew the American donors could give to American Friends. However, they also knew that the Canadians would have the best tax outcome if they donated to GBLT through Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program (EcoGifts).

To make the donation financially realistic for all the owners, GBLT and American Friends agreed to each accept the share of title belonging to the donors from their respective country. Despite this being entirely new for both organizations and Environment Canada, all the parties’ efforts resulted in the first ever EcoGift of a Candian-American owned property. GBLT and American Friends now co-own the new preserve in the Point au Baril area.

Ian MacLeod, Chair of GBLT’s Land Protection Committee said,

“Finding a way for Canadians and Americans who share ownership of environmentally important lands to receive favorable tax treatment is a true breakthrough. This has paved the way for more conservation because Canadian/American co-ownership is fairly common on the Bay. We are extremely proud of this accomplishment and grateful to EcoGifts and American Friends for their commitment to Georgian Bay.”

For more information, please call Bill Lougheed, Georgian Bay Land Trust ( 416-440-1519.

Gift of a Jewel on a Gem of an Island in New Brunswick

“If something happened to us, our land might be developed.” This concern motivated a couple from Vermont, who want to remain anonymous, to donate nearly 59 acres (24 hectares) on Grand Manan Island to American Friends, in a transaction facilitated by the Nature Trust of New Brunswick (NTNB). This is the first New Brunswick donation to American Friends.

The property is known as Seven Days Work Cliff, referring to the spectacular striated bluff that plunges to the surf of the Bay of Fundy. Some imaginative person was reminded of the biblical reference to God’s creation of the world.

The donors say their gift was inspired by the beauty of this parcel and the entire island, together with their commitment to the residents of Grand Manan. “We decided to protect the property while we are alive for the welfare of the island, and its future, not just for our pleasure of being in this beautiful place.”

“We loved walking the trails,” reminisces the wife, referring to the network maintained by the Grand Manan Trails Association. “As you pass through the forest, along the cliffs, you see the shining sea, the birds. You get a feeling of wilderness.” The beloved “Red Trail” traverses the edge of Seven Days Work Cliff, giving hikers views to the horizon, often replete with whales, seals and migrating raptors.

“It would be a blow to the island if our land was developed. Tourism is more and more important for the economy here. Trails are key to attracting visitors to Grand Manan. They don’t want to walk by house after house. It would be like being in suburbia.”

For their peace of mind the couple asked NTNB to steward their treasured land after they are gone. Because the donors are U.S. taxpayers, NTNB arranged for the gift to be made to American Friends.

“Grand Manan is a beautiful and environmentally fragile New Brunswick gem. Protecting its special landscapes is a high priority for NTNB, but land there is very expensive, especially if it has an ocean view,” says Renata Woodward, Executive Director of NTNB. “We are thrilled that the Americans who owned Seven Days Work Cliff wanted to conserve their property and were willing to donate it.”

The future of this treasure is as a natural, scenic refuge. “It feels good to know our land is protected. It would have been terrible to lose it.”

For more information, contact Renata Woodward, Nature Trust of New Brunswick, (506) 457-2398,

The Journey to Ontario’s First Cross-border Conservation Easement – Echo Island

When Sam White’s heirs donated a conservation easement over Echo Island to American Friends, they and the Rainy Lake Conservancy (RLC) completed a multi-year journey and reached a preservation milestone. Because this gift was the first of its kind in Ontario, the journey turned out to be a slow paddle rather than a fast ride in a speed boat! This is the story of how RLC, the donors and American Friends got there.

Everyone involved knew from the start there would be the legal equivalent of stormy waters as we developed an easement document acceptable to the Canadian Revenue Agency, the US Internal Revenue Service, and the Province. Fortunately we were a good paddling team and we arrived at our destination none the worse for wear. We, at RLC, are proud that we protected a rare piece of Ontario’s endangered White Pine habitat and charted a course for others who will embark on similar journeys to preserve special places in Ontario.

RLC works to conserve lands and waters treasured by Canadians and Americans. Our area includes the famous Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area, Quetico Provincial Park, the Rainy Lake Islands Conservation Reserve and many other protected places.

A number of metaphorical shoals created by title issues, appraisal questions and government procedures slowed us down at times. Passion, patience and good humor kept us all going to the end.

Having survived our maiden voyage, we are now in the process of protecting 3 more properties on Rainy Lake with American Friends. It has been rewarding to work with such professionals. They are first and foremost individuals committed to conservation, a shared goal that drives land trusts to venture into uncharted waters!

Dale and Phyllis Callaghan, Rainy Lake Conservancy

Dale and Phyllis Callaghan, Rainy Lake Conservancy

For more information, contact Dale and Phyllis Callaghan, Rainy Lake Conservancy,

Little Island Protected, Big Ontario Conservation Impact

Echo Island is small, but its permanent protection can have a major impact on cross-border conservation in Ontario. This conservation easement donated to American Friends is the first known instance of an American donor giving an easement over property in Ontario to a U.S. land trust. The gift provides a land protection road map for the many other American owners of priority conservation properties in the province.

Generations of the White and Wallis families have cherished echo island and rainy lake.

Generations of the White and Wallis families have cherished echo island and rainy lake.

The Rainy Lake Conservancy (RLC), a small all-volunteer Canadian charity, facilitated the gift from the White family, originally from the Chicago area. Three generations have cherished Echo Island’s forest, shoreline and simple cabin over the last 50 years. Desire to both have the retreat serve future generation of their family and to retain the pristine quality of Rainy Lake motivated the donors to make this pioneering gift.

Echo Island is one of nearly two thousand islands scattered throughout Rainy Lake’s 345 square mile area (890Km2) straddling the border of Minnesota and Ontario. Voyageurs National park is located on the southeastern corner of the lake on the US side of the Lake. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is also within the Rainy Lake watershed.

The conservation easement restricts future development, preserving the subject property and also reducing its market value. The latter outcome reduces Canadian capital gains taxes that are due when property is transferred from one generation to the next, whether the owners are Canadian or American.

echo-island-rlc3As a U.S. charity, contributions to American Friends are deductible against U.S. income, and can also reduce U.S. estate taxes. American Friends is a “prescribed done” in Canada, meaning that land and easement donations are effectively not subject to capital gains taxes. This special tax status granted by the Canadian government recognizes that successful preservation of large landscapes that are shared by Canada and the U.S., such as Rainy Lake, depends on the generosity of citizens of both countries.

Blazing a trail for Cross Border Conservation, B.C.

Over the last 50 years, Illinois resident Sally Robinson has witnessed huge changes in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. Recently Sally made B.C. history when she limited the amount of future change that will occur on her 23-acre waterfront property on Gabriola Island, by donating a conservation covenant to American Friends.

Sally’s gift, which was facilitated by the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust (GaLTT), was the first of its kind in B.C. If other American landowners follow Sally’s lead, they can have a significant impact on the future of the Gulf Islands’ unique natural character because they collectively own over 13,660 acres.

Land prices in the Gulf Islands have soared over the three decades since Sally bought her old farm. Large and very visible houses increasingly mar the shores. Sally and her family worried about the future of her beloved B.C. retreat. Placing a conservation covenant over the land prevents development of the two other potential homesites. The reduction in Canadian capital gains taxes as a consequence of the donation makes it feasible for future generations to inherit and steward this special place.

The Douglas-fir forest, cobble beach, mature Arbutus and Garry Oaks, together with the spectacular piece of coast, made sally’s land a protection priority for GaLTT. She also granted a license to GaLTT to build a trail through the woods and to the beach access on her property, as part of the network GaLTT is creating all over the island.

Sally says there are many winners in this arrangement. “The tax savings helped defray the costs of creating the covenant, Gabriola has its trail, the property will be monitored by GaLTT when I am back in Illinois, and we also blazed a path through the tax tangle for other similarly motivated landowners to follow.” As she planned, Sally’s gift demonstrates how fragile island landscapes can be protected, while offering value to the broader community.

For more information contact John Peirce, Gabriola Land and Trails Trust,