Vital Ground says goodbye to retiring conservation stalwarts
An office move wasn’t the only change at Vital Ground headquarters during recent months, as 2023 has seen us bid farewell to two pillars of the organization’s last decade.
Joining Vital Ground in 2012, Kevin Rhoades served as our communications director with diligence, eloquence and foresight. He oversaw Vital Ground’s print and digital outreach, producing countless newsletters, brochures, reports and mailings. He led our charge into the multimedia milieu of the 21st century, spearheading the growth of Vital Ground’s video and social media outreach and documenting dozens of events and field trips by camera. In a great many board and staff meetings, his expertise and caring insights have helped shape the vision, strategy and day-to-day decision-making of Vital Ground.
Over the last five years, Kevin greatly expanded the organization’s business partner and monthly giving programs. Drawing from his professional experience in sales and marketing, he tirelessly recruited and stewarded many corporate partnerships that have generated monumental support for Vital Ground’s conservation mission. From Kodiak Cakes to our Montana charity license plate, some of the largest contributors to our work stem from Kevin’s relationship-building.
Kevin continued to manage those collaborations over the last year in a part-time role as Recurring Partnerships Director before retiring fully at the end of June. Now he will embark on a well-earned next chapter prioritizing time spent outdoors with his wife, two sons and new granddaughter, not to mention a young bird dog that will keep him plenty busy. Rumor has it he won’t give up his conservation contributions entirely, with an open seat awaiting him on Vital Ground’s Development Committee.
Meanwhile, those of us tasked with filling his shoes in the Communications Department will greatly miss his attention to detail and kind leadership. From all of us in the Vital Ground family, bear hugs and huge thanks to Kevin!
This year also sees the departure of Jack Capp from Vital Ground’s board of trustees. Following a distinguished career with the U.S. Forest Service, Jack began serving on our board in 2011. Based in Fort Collins, Colo., he brought exceptional wisdom, thoughtful analysis and ever-present good cheer to dozens of board meetings, committee calls and special events.
Most recently, Jack has helped lead a push to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion on Vital Ground’s board and in its larger organizational strategy. While he will remain an advisor to Vital Ground’s Lands and Conservation Committee, we will greatly miss Jack’s sharp mind and upbeat presence on the board.
A last, griz-sized thank you to Jack and Kevin for their truly outstanding service to Vital Ground and wildlife conservation!