UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Of Pennsylvania’s 28 million acres, 17 million are forests. Seventy percent of those forested lands are managed by private landowners, two of whom are Tony and Jeanne Riley, of Baltimore, Maryland.
Couple's gifts support endowment and programs of the Center for Private Forests
Tony Riley is chief medical officer of Gilchrist, a nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for patients with serious illness and those at the end of life. Jeanne Riley is a retired biopharmaceutical executive. After becoming the owners of approximately 200 forested acres in Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania, the Rileys added new roles to their lives and realized what an awesome responsibility they had taken on.
“The actions we take in our forests affect not only our own land, but also our communities, our environment, and Pennsylvania’s vital industries,” said Jeanne Riley, who also serves as a member of the College of Agricultural Sciences’ volunteer development council.
Neither are Penn State alumni, but they knew to reach out to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences for guidance and found the Center for Private Forests (CPF) at Penn State — an organization that quickly became one of their philanthropic priorities.
Since 2014, the Rileys have made contributions supporting the center’s many projects as well as the CPF Endowment Fund, which ensures the long-term financial viability of the center and allows it to expand and share its knowledge about private forest landowners and their land. Recently, the couple contributed $55,000 to support leadership and development programming for volunteers and pledged an additional $100,000 to the CPF Endowment Fund, putting their lifetime contributions to-date to the CPF to more than $200,000.
Established in 2011 under the leadership of its founding director, Professor Emeritus of Forest Resources Jim Finley, the CPF collaborates with experts within the college and across the country to study, educate and inspire forest landowners in the stewardship of their land. The center also directs the highly regarded Pennsylvania Forest Stewards volunteer program. The Rileys are 2013 graduates of the program, which provides opportunities to learn about sustainable forest management practices and to join a community of people dedicated to sharing knowledge with other landowners and the public.
“Jeanne and Tony Riley have given greatly of their time, energy, expertise and resources to support the Center for Private Forests at Penn State. Contributions such as these enable the center to expand its role as a knowledgeable and collaborative resource for both the community of landowners and the many professionals and organizations interested in the future of Pennsylvania’s forested landscapes,” said Allyson Muth, assistant research professor, private forests management and interim director of the Center for Private Forests at Penn State. “We are tremendously grateful for their generosity and commitment to our work.”
“Our forests provide vital health, ecological, and recreational benefits to communities, while also contributing to the economic vitality of the commonwealth’s forest products and tourism industries,” said Tony Riley. “We are excited to support the center, which has become a distinctive voice in shaping the understanding of academic institutions, government agencies, natural resource organizations, industry and the public about private forest landowners and their woods.”
The Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences represents the foundation of Penn State and its land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, the University is seeking support for "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a fast-paced campaign focused on the three key imperatives: Open Doors, Create Transformative Experiences, and Impact the World. Through teaching, research, and Extension, and because of generous alumni, friends, and corporations, the College of Agricultural Sciences is able to offer scholarships to one in four students, create life-shaping opportunities, and make a difference in the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit http://agsci.psu.edu/giving.