Colcom Foundation’s Partnership With The Hollow Oak Land Trust Continues Cordelia Scaife May’s Conservation Legacy

Green Forest

As Pittsburgh’s suburban communities continue to evolve and urbanize, a partnership between two local institutions is forging a lasting legacy of environmental stewardship.

Colcom Foundation, a philanthropic powerhouse rooted in the vision of its founder, Cordelia Scaife May, has emerged as a steadfast ally of the Hollow Oak Land Trust, providing crucial financial support for its conservation initiatives.

Cordelia Scaife May, a descendant of the renowned Mellon family, was a trailblazer in her own right, dedicating her life to preserving the natural beauty of Western Pennsylvania. Her commitment to environmental conservation was the driving force behind the establishment of Colcom Foundation in 1996, ensuring that her lifelong mission would continue to bear fruit for generations to come.

Today, Colcom Foundation carries on Cordelia Scaife May’s legacy by supporting organizations like Hollow Oak Land Trust, which has been at the forefront of land preservation efforts in the Pittsburgh region for over three decades.

Through strategic partnerships and innovative approaches, Hollow Oak is redefining the way communities interact with nature, working to integrate green spaces into the fabric of urban and suburban environments.

Colcom Foundation’s financial support has been instrumental in realizing Hollow Oak’s vision. In recent years, the Foundation has contributed a generous $230,000 towards various land conservation projects spearheaded by the land trust.

This substantial investment has not only helped protect pristine natural areas but has also facilitated the development of extensive greenway networks, providing residents with much-needed access to the great outdoors.

One of the most significant beneficiaries of Colcom Foundation’s generosity is the Vinegar Hollow project, a 46-acre expanse of woodland nestled in Kilbuck Township, just a stone’s throw away from downtown Pittsburgh. Thanks to a $200,000 grant from Colcom Foundation, Hollow Oak was able to acquire and preserve this hidden gem, ensuring that its lush trails and diverse wildlife remain a community asset for generations to come.

Zahava Bennett, President of the Hollow Oak Board of Directors said, “Healthy greenspaces are vital to a thriving community, and we are looking forward to this opportunity to nurture the natural ecosystem while providing a usable outdoor space for residents.”

Beyond the preservation of Vinegar Hollow, Colcom Foundation’s contributions have enabled Hollow Oak to undertake numerous other initiatives that promote environmental stewardship and public access to nature. These include the development of sustainable trails, the installation of educational signage, and the facilitation of community-driven conservation efforts.

“We’re grateful that, with community leadership and support, we’ve been able to protect this unique community asset,” said Sean Brady, Executive Director of Hollow Oak Land Trust. “The funding from the Colcom Foundation was crucial to the success of this project, and we’re excited to begin refining this greenspace.”

In addition to the $200,000 grant for the Vinegar Hollow acquisition, Colcom Foundation has provided another $30,000 to Hollow Oak Land Trust for general land conservation purposes. This flexible funding has allowed the land trust to seize opportunities to protect smaller parcels and expand its network of greenspaces throughout the Pittsburgh region. Every acre preserved is a victory in Hollow Oak’s mission to safeguard the area’s rich natural heritage.

Colcom Foundation’s commitment to environmental conservation extends far beyond the boundaries of Western Pennsylvania. Nationally, the Foundation is renowned for its efforts to address what is known as the Sixth Mass Extinction – the ongoing global phenomenon of rapidly declining biodiversity and the widespread loss of various plant and animal species, primarily due to human activities such as habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, and overexploitation of resources.

Through its support of organizations like Hollow Oak Land Trust, Colcom Foundation is not only preserving local natural treasures but also contributing to the broader fight against the global biodiversity crisis. By protecting and restoring habitats, the Foundation is ensuring that future generations can continue to experience the wonders of nature in all its splendor.

Cordelia Scaife May’s vision for a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future continues through the work of Colcom Foundation and its partners.

As Hollow Oak Land Trust expands its reach, building new collaborations and working on ambitious greenway initiatives, the Foundation’s support demonstrates the power of philanthropic partnerships in shaping a greener, more livable world.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The Political Anthropologist.