Good fund raising key to trail success: Pacific Northwest Trail finds mutual benefit with sponsors
The Pacific Northwest Trail is planned to run 1,100 miles from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean through northern Montana, Idaho, and Washington. The PNT concept dates back about 25 years, but in the last four years there has been a renewed interest and some impressive efforts to fund the trail. Much of the trail is existing, but funds are needed to complete it, provide maintenance, and develop new programs and volunteer efforts. Following are some of the successful funding efforts of the Pacific Northwest Trail Association:
Ford heads the list of major sponsors
Last year the Chairman of the Board of Ford Motor Company, William Clay Ford Jr., hosted a press conference to present the PNTA with some wonderful gifts. Representing a delegation of Ford officers, he presented the PNTA with a check for $125,000 and the keys to a new F-250 bi-fuel pickup. The F-250 pickup runs on either propane fuel or regular gasoline.
Why sponsor a trail? According to Ford, the contributions to the PNTA were just one the efforts the company has taken to put itself in a leadership role in conservation and improving the environment throughout the world. A partnership between Ford and the Wildlife Habitat Council, for example, has created "Wildlife at Work" sites at Ford facilities in the United States, Canada, England, Brazil, and Mexico. And to be sure, it helped that Keith Magee, a PNTA Board Member is a retired Ford Motor Company Vice President.
Regional Ford dealers join the campaign
Following the corporate announcement, the Northwest Ford Dealers agreed to match Ford's commitment to the PNTA of $125,000 over the next 5 years. Then in a surprise announcement, the dealers said they would increase their support of the trail by purchasing symbolic miles of the PNTA. Although details haven't been worked out, they plan to purchase up to 100 symbolic miles of trail. If that goal is reached, it would provide the PNTA with another $500,000 in support!
In addition, dealership employees would be involved in maintaining the part of the trail that was purchased by their dealership. Jamie Pierre, Chairman of the Northwest Ford Dealer Association, said "This latest plan to support the PNTA by buying miles of trail gets us even more directly involved in this tremendous undertaking. Now individual dealerships and their employees can participate in supporting the PNTA and feel the gratification that one feels by helping out with a worthy cause."
Partners provide publicity for the Trail
Another example of the mutual benefits of the sponsorship is in the area of publicity. The Northwest Ford Dealer Association ran a full page print ad several times in the Seattle Times, Portland Oregonian, and the Spokansman Review. In addition, the dealers, through their advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson, filmed a 30-second TV commercial on a scenic part of the trail. The TV commercial highlighted the dealers' support for the trail, and it showed some of the beautiful scenery from the trail. The publicity from the Northwest Ford dealers has resulted in the PNTA being exposed to millions of people, a publicity value of several thousand dollars.
"Leave a Lasting Legacy" and "Purchase a Symbolic section of the Pacific Northwest Trail" are two of the slogans in another trail funding campaign. The PNTA is creating an endowment fund with the income only to be used for Association expenses. Individuals and corporations are invited to purchase a Memorial Mile, Half-Mile, or Quarter Mile of the trail, priced from $1250 to $5000. A yard is $30.00, and the recipient receives a certificate of symbolic ownership.
Advisory Board Development
To continue the successful funding efforts, the PNTA is putting together a new Advisory Board. Besides providing good ideas for the Association, the Board's job is to open doors both in funding and in making new contacts to promote the trail. Board members will be civic and business leaders from around the region.
For more information: Pacific Northwest Trail Association, P O Box 1817, Mount Vernon WA 98273; (877) 854-9415; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.pnt.org/
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