As our nation observes Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, we are reminded of the vital role that freedom plays in realizing the American dream. Just as the Fourth of July marks a pivotal moment in our nation’s history, Juneteenth too is a testament to the unyielding spirit of those who fought tirelessly for emancipation and liberty.

In 2022, Enviva launched the Enviva Heirs Property Fund (“EHPF” or the “Fund”) to support landowning families, particularly family forest owners, in increasing their ability to own and steward their land across generations. These families span the United States, but many are in the U.S. Southeast, in what is known as the “wood basket of America,” the same region where we sustainably source the wood that is used to produce our pellets. The Fund aims to provide comprehensive support to these families by addressing the legal, technical, and financial obstacles that often impede generational ownership and sustainable stewardship of their land. This is delivered through direct financial support for professional services, identifying pathways for families to capture sustainable land value, and through public policy advocacy at the state and federal level.

“Without the Enviva Heirs Property Fund, many of my clients would not be able to retain ownership of their family-owned land. More corporations should establish legal funds to support such endeavors, as Enviva demonstrates its commitment to supporting real estate owning families and the liberation of the American dream,” said Crystal Richardson, an attorney at The Law Office of Crystal M. Richardson PLLC, which works with families who own heirs’ property and helps them resolve legal issues that may arise from this ownership.

The issues of heirs’ property ownership disproportionately affect southern Black American landowners and have been a significant driver of Black American land loss over the last century. The Federation of Southern Cooperatives estimates that 60 percent of African American-owned land in the South is held as heirs’ property, and from 1910 to 2007, it is estimated that Black American farmers lost approximately 80 percent of their land, from about 19 million acres to about less than 3 million acres today.

“Land and property matter to people. It can mean far more than just a parcel of land, serving as a window to the past that tells the story of a family, a community, or even a way of life. Knowing about your family’s history and culture creates a sense of place and belonging. The loss of heirs’ property impacts an entire community, not just one family,” shared Sam Cook, owner and CEO, SCJ General Forestry Services, which provides forestry and property management consultant services.

Enviva recognizes the vital role that family-owned land plays in achieving the American dream, including providing financial stability, wealth creation, and a legacy to pass down to future generations. Through the Fund, and with the guidance and assistance of various organizations that are very active in this space, including HeirSharesRoanoke Electric CooperativeWinston County Self Help Cooperative, and The Black Family Land Trust, Enviva hopes to empower families to invest in the future by helping them protect and preserve their land for generations to come. As a company rooted in the Southern wood products industry, we have witnessed firsthand how sustainably managed land has supported not only families, but also entire communities, governments, and industries, including our own.

“Commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans on Juneteenth offers several lessons on collective action that can be applied today. In particular, it underscores the need for collective action across sectors to achieve comprehensive solutions in support of family-owned real estate, including family-owned forests. Enviva’s appreciation of and action in support of heirs’ property has been a boost to the heirs’ property movement. It’s been wonderful to see,” said Mavis Gragg, the CEO of HeirShares, a tree builder app that facilitates the title-clearing process for real estate owned as heirs’ property.

On Juneteenth, and every day, we remain committed to supporting our communities and helping landowning families achieve their goals. We celebrate the resilience and strength of those who fought for freedom and justice, and we recommit ourselves to building a more equitable and sustainable future.

“We urge more business leaders to step up and support the communities where their employees and customers live, work, and raise families. Land rights provide the foundation for resilient communities, forests, and a resilient world we can all be proud to pass on to the next generation. We should join or model what Enviva is doing in the establishment of the Enviva Heirs Property Fund. Juneteenth is a day to celebrate in honor of our ancestors,” concluded Cook.

To learn more about EHPF, visit If you are a landowner in need of assistance, a legislator seeking information, or a professional offering guidance, please contact