People generally donate for preservation, not for financial benefit. Often potential donors prefer to deal with a private organization rather than a public agency. A perpetual conservation easement means the property will never be subdivided and developed. Easement contributors receive a tax break based on the appraised difference between the property’s value as agriculture acreage and its subdivision value. Landowners retain all other rights of ownership.

A public benefit privately-funded organization can provide for safekeeping of land assets as part of land preservation. These properties, as they are acquired, may be held and then either conveyed to a public agency or stay in protective status and management permanently with the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands. This has been the concept and founding principle of the foundation (formerly Idaho Park Foundation) when it was chartered in 1972 during the first administration of Governor Cecil D. Andrus. The reason it is called a “foundation” is that it can make “grants” of land to public agencies.