New Endowment Created to Manage Funds Arising from U.S.-Canada Settlement

The United States Endowment for Forestry & Communities, Inc., (Endowment) today formalized incorporation as a not-for-profit to receive $200 million in funds to promote sustainable forestry and to assist timber-reliant communities. The grant that will capitalize the Endowment was made under the terms of the recently signed Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) between the United States and Canada and announced in October. The $200 million earmarked for the Endowment is the largest of three funds designated under the SLA.

“It took much heavy lifting by many folks on both sides of the border to reach the historic softwood lumber agreement between our two great nations,” US Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins said. “And now the creation of this endowment represents another dramatic step forward in this process as it recognizes the need to protect and sustain our natural environment while continuing to enhance economic opportunities for citizens on both sides of the border.”

The eleven-member board of directors will be Chaired by Dick Molpus, President of Molpus Woodlands Group, LLC of Jackson, Mississippi. Molpus, in announcing the Board said, “Since initially being contacted by The White House in mid-2006, we’ve been working to assemble an experienced, distinguished board. We all see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build something from the ground-up that will leave a lasting legacy.” The Endowment’s Board met via conference call today to among other things, approve bylaws, establish operating procedures and hire its first President & CEO.

For the CEO role they named a proven leader with experience in both the forest products industry and not-for-profit management. Carlton Owen of Greenville, SC, was founder of The Environmental Edge, LLC, that for the past six-years has worked to “bring business and the environment together” to benefit both.

“I’m honored and excited about the opportunity at hand,” said Owen. “The caliber of people assembled and the chance to work together with diverse interests from all across the nation in partnership to ensure that our working forests continue to yield a wide array of benefits to society is truly humbling,” he continued.

Over the next few months the Endowment’s Board and staff will work to establish operating procedures that will ensure the greatest leverage possible and yield not just charitable investments; rather, systemic and lasting change.

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