History, Mission and Strategic Plan

MCHF advances the conservation and appreciation of forest, fish and wildlife resources by applying financial resources to the priorities of the Missouri Department of Conservation in collaboration with donors and other partners.

One of the Foundation’s first projects was to raise $3.6 million in matching funds to construct the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center in Kansas City, at left. Since that time, the Foundation has provided almost $20 million for conservation projects large and small throughout the state.

The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization created in 1997 to meet financial demands placed on Missouri’s natural resources. The Foundation receives funding not only from the Stream Stewardship Trust Fund but also from Conservation Heritage license plate sales, grants and individual donations.

“Missourians are fortunate to have the conservation sales tax to help fund worthy projects and activities of the Conservation Department,” said Foundation Executive Director Chris Vitello. “But sales tax revenues are tied to the economy and cannot always keep pace with needs.” This is why the Foundation was created—to provide an additional stream of revenue for conservation, and to provide donors with an easy way to contribute to conservation initiatives that are important to them.

“If you love fishing and you want to help fund fishing opportunities for kids, you can designate your donation for that,” said Vitello. “The same goes for stream protection, hunting clinics, hiking trails, bird habitat protection and scores of other projects—we help donors invest in the kind of conservation legacy they want to leave for others.”

Conservation Department staff applies for Foundation funding for projects they initiate or that they endorse on behalf of partner groups. These projects address immediate conservation and outdoor recreation needs. The Foundation board of directors—comprised of conservation, community and business leaders—oversees funding decisions.

For a complete list of conservation projects to date, see the Foundation’s Project Database. The Foundation’s Strategic Plan Mission, Guiding Principles and Goals guide future work of the organization.