Our Impact

Learn about the impact we have from our partners.


Berks County Community Foundation

Three different groups of leaders gathered in a room engaged in discussion

Working closely with the Foundation’s staff – Emily Smedley (Environment & Energy Program Officer) and Monica Reyes (Vice President for Programs and Initiatives) – the ICL team developed a set of questions and conversations aimed at determining ways the Community Foundation could gain the community’s perspective.   

“ICL helped participants in our community meeting have some fun and use creativity rather than just stating and restating the problems. A major takeaway we heard from participants was that they planned to start using this solutions-based approach to their own work.

They did such a great job at facilitating that the group clapped after it was over! Participants stayed after to talk to each other and to the ICL folks and kept coming back for subsequent meetings – confirmation that they enjoyed the meetings!

ICL is very good at going with the flow, which lends a hand to how good they are at their facilitation work. They incorporated their national expertise and experience through input and examples that were helpful for our project and were able to understand the intersectionality of participants’ work very seamlessly. They were inclusive of all the participants, especially those in the room who were not directly involved in the environmental field, by helping them feel comfortable and included in the conversation.”

Emily Smedley reflected on this work and the recommendations ICL made based on the community’s engagement in this blog post. The full report and recommendations are available on their website. 

Watershed Partners Advancing Agriculture

Chesapeake Bay Climate-Smart and Regenerative Agriculture Forum

In the fall of 2023, ICL helped plan, support, and facilitate a collaborative two-day gathering focused on climate smart and regenerative agriculture practices in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Partners from across the watershed, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, convened to foster networking, problem solving, and information sharing among colleagues leading these emerging efforts.

“Having ICL as a partner to facilitate and support the planning of our conference was like a godsend! Before ICL came on board, we had already come a long way, but we really benefitted from the focus they brought to our conversations. During the planning stages what stood out to me was their approach to organize the group into focus areas. The ICL team helped shepherd what felt like an unwieldly bunch of ideas and funnel them into something productive. Their support helped us come back to what was important and what we could accomplish in a short amount of time.

To me this was an incredibly worthwhile investment because it ended up making the whole process more efficient and the end product more effective. Just having a partner who is removed enough from the work to come in with fresh eyes helped us create a more objective focus.”

-Elizabeth Beggins, Maryland Agriculture Outreach Specialist, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Pri Ekanayake talks with partners at the front of a conference room.

Strategic Planning

Green Umbrella staff at their annual meeting

“We’ve learned a lot from working with ICL, not only
about the problems we set out to solve, but also with
the process of facilitation, along with other network
experiences that are applicable to our work. Our strategy
team has become a cohesive and connected unit as a
result of the work with ICL — I wish we had been able to
include more of our staff in the process because it has
been such a valuable experience. We are coming out of
this work with a significant shift in how we function as an
organization with lots of big insights gained. These shifts
will take time to implement, and we’re prepared to be
intentional about the ongoing process of moving these
new ideas into implementation – this will remain a part of
our culture.

ICL will help you understand the challenges that you’re
experiencing at a much deeper level and support with
designing solutions that address the root causes. We
appreciated that ICL was willing to improvise and let
the conversation in our group discussions evolve as
they needed to, which allowed us to explore things that
weren’t planned but hold value to our process.”

— Ryan Mooney-Bullock, Executive Director


Planning a More Connected Future

Rails to Trails Conservancy is a national organization reimagining public spaces and connecting communities via trails. In 2023, they came to ICL to create a five-year strategic plan. Their goal is to ensure that trails and trail networks are prioritized as essential for people, communities, and the environment.

Ohio Lakefront Bikeway - Jason Cohen, Courtesy Rail to Trails
Ohio Lakefront Bikeway - Jason Cohn - Courtesy Rails to Trails

“ICL staff know our sector well but didn’t come to our strategic planning process with any dogma. They are collaborative, nimble, flexible thought partners interested in cocreating a process based on the circumstances at hand. They worked to understand our group, were great about facilitation, and got a broad representation of people involved and participating.

We are really pleased with the work. What’s nice is we’re hearing that from partners and supporters as well. RTC is a complex organization that does a lot. It’s also a pretty dynamic time in terms of opportunity and value in our sector, so this was not an easy project.”

-Ryan Chao, President

Building Capacity Through Collaboration

In November, ICL facilitated the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s annual local government forum, which provides a space for deep dive collaborative problem solving amongst local governments, nonprofit leaders, businesses, and funders. When it came time to plan for the meeting, the Alliance for the Chesapeake needed a facilitator who knew local governments and facilitation, and ICL was the perfect fit.

“When you run a lot of meetings, you can get stuck in a rut. But having an outside expert helped us break out of that and rethink how we could make an impact and be effective with our time.

Working with ICL on planning for the forum was seamless right up to the day of the event. ICL was really thoughtful about the experience for both in-person and virtual attendees – it was never an afterthought. We got very positive feedback on the virtual piece of the forum, including from attendees who shared it was the best hybrid meeting they’ve ever been a part of.”

Laura Cattell Noll, Local Government Initiative Director

Ohio Environmental Council

With the support of the George Gund Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation, ICL has supported over 20 organizations and collaborations working for environmental and climate health in Ohio. In 2020, the Ohio Environmental Council engaged with ICL as a thought partner to increase their coalition building efforts. This engagement led to development and support of the Cleveland environmental policy platform for the mayoral candidates in the 2020 election.
A group of four people inside a greenhouse

“ICL’s facilitation helped us bring together a diverse group of environmental advocates to put together a policy platform to support a healthier and greener Cleveland. They helped us make sure we were communicating well with partner organizations, meeting the needs of the group, and forming good relationships along the way. After engaging with ICL, we were able to move into 2021 with momentum—conducting expert conversations with Cleveland’s new mayor and his administration about these important policy priorities.”   

-Emily Bacha, Vice President of Public Affairs, Ohio Environmental Council


Delaware River Watershed Professionals of Color Cohort Program

BIPOC individuals within environmental organizations often face obstacles in advancing their careers due to underrepresentation and systemic barriers. In response to these challenges, Senior Associates Pri Ekanayake and Joy Jackson collaborated to design a yearlong program to connect and support professionals of color working on environmental and conservation issues in the watershed. The cohort met virtually throughout the year to engage in lessons and activities focused on career development, network building, and skills development, with the goal of enhancing and advancing their professional pursuits.
Group photo of the cohort outside at Awbury Arboretum in the fall

“Being a part of this cohort was a super valuable experience. It helped me with tangible skills and gave me the inspiration and confidence to make a huge career leap. The personal pitch module was especially important for me. The way it was facilitated helped me clarify what I was doing in my career and what I would like to be moving towards.

The experience of doing this learning alongside other people of color in different stages in their careers was really powerful. This cohort program gave me the opportunity to see the world outside of my regular daily viewpoint.”

-Jehane Samaha, Urban Nursery Specialist, US Forest Service

“When I joined this program, I had high hopes for gaining leadership development skills and the results were even better than I imagined they would be! The way the program was facilitated was magical. We were empowered to make it a collaborative process and asked for input and feedback from the start. All of the sessions combined created a holistic feeling to the program.

What I learned led to a year of growth for me and gave me confidence to value my own ideas and contributions. I know I can call on my cohort if I need to ask for advice, share events, or just to say ‘hello.’

-Asha- Lé Davis, Trees Program Manager, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Peer Cohort Learning Support

In 2022, ICL supported the Network for Landscape Conservation’s Catalyst Fund peer learning cohort through a workshop series called Facilitating Collaboration. The series was designed to empower and equip landscape stewardship coordinators across the U.S. with the knowledge, skills, and tools to facilitate and support collaboration virtually.

“What drew us to working with ICL was their grounding in collaborating in the conservation sphere. They are steeped in the nuances of collaboration, which added depth to the workshop and made it especially effective. ICL brought forth a lot of virtual tools that our grantees really valued being introduced to and were able to explore these tools in context of collaborative theory, concepts, and principles to create a really powerful approach. ICL’s depth of understanding really shines through.

So many of the challenges that conservation is increasingly called to address and wrestle with transcend boundaries and operate within complex systems that exceed the capacity of any organization to effectively address on their own. There’s a huge thirst for skills, knowledge, insight, and best practices around how to navigate collaboration in conservation. ICL is at the forefront of being a resource here, and their work is more relevant with each passing day. I have a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude for being exposed to such expertise in this space – I think the role that ICL is playing to support development of these skills represents a watershed moment that’s both powerful and exciting.”

-Jon Peterson, Catalyst Fund Manager, Network for Landscape Conservation

Sun peeks through tall trees in Oregon

Developing Leadership for Collaboration

Each November since 2019, ICL has supported the Highstead Foundation‘s staff in planning and facilitating the Regional Conservation Partnership Network’s Gathering. This year’s Gathering was designed for participants to explore how to build relationships and strategies to address issues of land justice and climate resilience. In 2022, Highstead also approached ICL to design two online workshop series focused on skills for leaders to apply network frameworks and enhanced leadership facilitation capacities.
Reflections on a marshy area of a lake in Maine

“ICL understands how leaders need support. Their programs are so impactful, and they will help you articulate goals you may not have even known you had. Everyone I’ve worked with at ICL is so wonderful  and patient, and they always find the time to genuinely connect with us.”  

There is some very necessary and critical work ICL helps make happen that supports us in reaching our goals for meetings and partnership building. They use a deep understanding of adult learning to integrate simple processes seamlessly so that it doesn’t feel like a curriculum– it’s just part of their skill and expertise which has been huge.  Some of ICL’s approaches have worked so well for us and I’ve started using them for every single event we’ve done since engaging with them.

I would encourage you to trust ICL’s process even if it feels unfamiliar or goes against how you’ve been doing meetings or workshops. There is a magic that happens and if you open yourself up to that it will change how you think about your work and how you approach it.”

-Katie Blake, Conservationist at Highstead Foundation