The Enviva Heirs Property Fund
The Enviva Heirs Property Fund (EHPF) is dedicated to ending involuntary land loss across the U.S. Southeast by providing support to landowning families through partnerships with local organizations to assess each family’s needs, identifying pathways for families to capture sustainable land value, and directing financial support to professional services (e.g., legal professionals, tax consultants, professional foresters, surveyors) to secure a clear and marketable land title.
Since its inception in 2022, Enviva commits to an annual investment of $250,000 to the Enviva Heirs Property Fund.
EHPF will work with seasoned nonprofit organizations and property professionals throughout the U.S. Southeast to assist families secure clear title to their land assets, help them capture sustainable value from their land, and advocate for public policy solutions to help end involuntary land loss.
A key achievement of EHPF includes creating and developing synergetic partnerships with the Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Network (SFLR), a program that has been working to end land loss but also increase the value of African American owned forests, land retention, and asset development for Black families in the U.S. South. With the help of our partner organizations, Enviva has assisted over a dozen families in retaining, managing, and/or accumulating wealth from approximately 800 acres of land.
Enviva has also partnered with various law firms practicing estate planning regarding heirs’ property matters to support families in achieving clear ownership and title as well as advising them on succession planning.
Heirs Property Fund
Land is inherently valuable, but much of that value can only be captured by showing a clear legal title to the land. Clear title is critical to landowners to demonstrate legal ownership and possession of their property. Land held outside of a clear title, collectively known as “heirs property,” is subject to involuntary loss from predatory sale, improper taking, back taxes, and a number of other causes. This land loss has caused American families – especially Southern Black families – to relinquish millions of acres and the accompanying value from those acres since 1900. EHPF seeks to help landowning families overcome the obstacles between their current land assets and achieving clear, legal, and demonstrable titles, which can allow them to maximize the wealth generating benefits of their land in an ongoing, sustainable way.
EHPF assists landowning families by referral from our partner organizations in states across Enviva’s operational footprint. EHPF’s efforts will begin in 2022 in Mississippi and North Carolina, and will expand to include direct financial aid to landholders incrementally throughout Enviva’s operational footprint in the coming years, in addition to the national policy work currently underway.
EHPF is proud to partner with America’s leading land use practitioners, academics, and nonprofit organizations to provide direct assistance to landowning families seeking to secure their acreage in clear title, thus removing them from heirs property status and preventing further involuntary land loss. EHPF works with state-based partner organizations to intake landowning in families as clients, assess their needs on a case-specific basis, and provide the tailored assistance necessary to protect the family’s land and their family legacy of generational wealth creation through sustainable farming and land use.
EHPF is proud to partner with the
Enviva recognizes there are well-established groups who have been working in this space for decades, and therefore will continue to partner with existing regional groups to address involuntary land loss issues. Current partners include the Roanoke Electric Cooperative (NC) and Winston County Self Help Cooperative (MS), to name a few.
The following serve as great resources to understand the nature of heirs property and the current events surrounding heirs property policy and news.