Lowcountry Land Trust Inc.

Charleston, SC   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Lowcountry Land Trust Inc.

EIN: 57-0809313


Operating in all 17 coastal counties of South Carolina, Lowcountry Land Trust's mission is to protect land and water forever, nurture relationships between people and place, and connect community to conservation.

Ruling year info


President and CEO

Ms Ashley Demosthenes

Main address

635 Rutledge Ave Suite 107

Charleston, SC 29403 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as




Subject area info


Oceans and coastal waters

Rivers and lakes

Water conservation


Show more subject areas

Population served info


NTEE code info

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Lowcountry is growing. According to a report released by the US Census Bureau, Spopulation has reached 5 million, and over the course of a 12-month period ending in July, 2017, only 9 other states’ populations grew more than ours.\n\nWith a surging population comes increasing development. According to research conducted by the Post & Courier, “nearly 105,000 homes have already been approved by towns, cities and counties throughout the 3-county Charleston metro area.” This could boost the population by 270,000—making the region the size of Charlotte and Jacksonville—and will bring with it another 210,000 vehicles. \n\nThis development, in turn, increases the risk of landscape fragmentation—the fracturing of a landscape into smaller, disconnected remnants. Fragmentation weakens the ability of landscapes to support our community—to produce our food, clean our air, filter storm water, and provide habitat for wildlife—and threatens the health of the places that make SC unique and belove

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Rural Land Protection

We work with landowners to protect rural land in all 17 coastal counties of South Carolina from development. We work primarily through conservation easements, but will also buy land fee-simple to protect it. We also work with large corporations on mitigation projects in environmentally threatened corridors.

Population(s) Served

We work with landowners and communities to protect tracts of land within the tri-county (Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley) area. We work primarily in conservation easements, but will also purchase land fee simple. Most of our community-centered conservation takes place in the tri-county area, with a special emphasis on the Sea Islands (Johns Island, Wadmalaw, Kiawah), Cooper River Corridor, East Cooper area, Ashley River historic district, and other threatened communities with cultural and ecological significance.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Lowcountry Land Trust’s goal is to improve the health of the Lowcountry lands we love by connecting and protecting properties across the South Carolina coastal plain’s forests, marshes, and rivers. Doing so safeguards the quality of our drinking water, supports fish and wildlife populations, promotes clean air, and preserves the Lowcountry’s unique way of life.

Lowcountry Land Trust (LLT) uses a time-tested method to conserve new lands, steward the lands under our protection, and build consensus for conservation:\n\nConservation\nTo improve the health of our landscapes, LLT staff spend countless hours walking in the field and pouring over maps to identify natural features—forests, swamps, rivers, and marshes—that may or may not already be partially protected. We then work to develop relationships with landowners who own adjacent properties in hopes of establishing protection for contiguous natural areas. Our principal tool for protection is voluntary conservation easements donated by private landowners.\n\nStewardship\nStewarding lands already under our protection is just as vital as securing protection for new land. Why? Through our 500+ landowners, we have the ability to assist in the management of our protected land portfolio and in doing so improve the health and vitality of a variety of natural systems. Moreover, through our constant physical presence on these landscapes, we gain insight into new conservation opportunities and continue to assemble a mosaic of connected and protected properties. \n\nThe goals of our stewardship staff begin with their near constant presence in assigned geographic regions and include: (1) meeting regularly with current landowners; (2) conducting annual visits at each portfolio property to document changes; (3) attending regional task forces to participate in collaborative conservation efforts; and (4) participating in landowner and community-wide education programs and volunteer events. \n\nBuilding Consensus for Conservation\nLLT will only achieve its ultimate goal of improving the health of the entire Lowcountry landscape if the community believes in the value of conservation, takes steps to aid in conservation efforts, and connects conservation success with healthy, vibrant communities. To expand our impact in the community and build consensus for conservation, LLT has embarked on four initiatives:\n1. SOUL of the Lowcountry, which targets young professionals who might not own land but who care about conservation, the outdoors, and quality of life, through a series of events; \n2. Angel Oak Effect, a grass-roots community conservation effort that has already resulted in the purchase of the 35 acres next to the iconic oak on Johns Island, SC. In the coming year, LLT will open this property as a public passive park, designed with community input; \n3. Expanded Volunteer Projects and Community Events, including beach sweeps and clean ups on public lands across the Lowcountry, along with educational programs to help us tell our story and build our base of supporters; and\n4. The Lowcountry Place Project, a comprehensive effort to engage residents, community groups, and businesses from across the Lowcountry to develop a vision for the Lowcountry’s next 25-50 years along with distinct action plans that small groups can follow to conserve the places that matter most to them.

For 34 years Lowcountry Land Trust has been building, enhancing, and expanding its conservation program throughout South Carolina’s coastal plain. Today LLT is the most successful regional land trust in SC and one of the leading local land trusts in the nation. Two hallmarks of our success are our ability to work with a variety of landowners—both large and small—and our ability to collaborate with an array of public and private partners, leading to the collective conservation of over 1M acres in the coastal plain.

Since its founding in 1985, Lowcountry Land Trust has placed protections on over 140,000 acres across South Carolina’s coastal plain. Our goals for the coming year include conserving 6,000 to 10,000 acres of land, stewarding the 140,000+ acres under our permanent protection, and building a conservation-minded community among the 1.7 M who reside in the 17-county coastal plain where we work.


Lowcountry Land Trust Inc.
Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 1.14 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5.7 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 20% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Lowcountry Land Trust Inc.

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Lowcountry Land Trust Inc.

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Lowcountry Land Trust Inc.

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Lowcountry Land Trust Inc.’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$308,671 -$495,134 $5,451,607 -$675,019 -$2,882,365
As % of expenses -16.7% -25.3% 326.0% -26.6% -102.7%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$336,477 -$520,780 $5,428,388 -$1,702,252 -$2,887,842
As % of expenses -17.9% -26.2% 320.2% -47.7% -102.7%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $1,963,124 $1,397,399 $6,804,512 $2,955,338 $7,219,594
Total revenue, % change over prior year 35.6% -28.8% 386.9% -56.6% 144.3%
Program services revenue 4.8% 5.9% 2.1% 9.3% 0.9%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 14.8% 15.4% 3.0% 6.5% 4.3%
Government grants 3.4% 0.0% 17.5% 10.8% 41.7%
All other grants and contributions 60.8% 67.9% 61.6% 69.8% 54.1%
Other revenue 16.2% 10.8% 15.8% 3.5% -0.9%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $1,852,357 $1,960,809 $1,672,072 $2,542,413 $2,805,597
Total expenses, % change over prior year 4.2% 5.9% -14.7% 52.1% 10.4%
Personnel 63.3% 64.1% 65.3% 45.5% 57.5%
Professional fees 16.0% 11.4% 12.4% 22.9% 16.6%
Occupancy 6.1% 6.0% 8.2% 5.4% 5.6%
Interest 1.1% 1.0% 3.0% 1.8% 3.9%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 13.5% 17.4% 11.1% 24.3% 16.4%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Total expenses (after depreciation) $1,880,163 $1,986,455 $1,695,291 $3,569,646 $2,811,074
One month of savings $154,363 $163,401 $139,339 $211,868 $233,800
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $1,000,000 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $6,312,877 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $2,034,526 $2,149,856 $8,147,507 $4,781,514 $3,044,874

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Months of cash 2.8 8.0 10.0 8.8 6.8
Months of cash and investments 59.0 51.6 71.4 54.0 62.4
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 4.4 1.0 11.0 14.5 0.8
Balance sheet composition info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Cash $430,867 $1,309,861 $1,388,231 $1,860,282 $1,593,496
Investments $8,670,782 $7,115,023 $8,555,922 $9,575,440 $12,995,372
Receivables $50,294 $149,089 $244,130 $169,900 $1,644,961
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $13,772,134 $13,772,134 $20,062,089 $15,785,765 $15,769,514
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 0.6% 0.7% 0.5% 0.5% 0.4%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 34.3% 36.0% 34.6% 34.6% 29.6%
Unrestricted net assets $13,360,676 $12,839,896 $18,268,284 $16,566,032 $13,678,190
Temporarily restricted net assets $1,087,302 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $620,132 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $1,707,434 $1,542,818 $1,608,310 $1,454,224 $9,451,556
Total net assets $15,068,110 $14,382,714 $19,876,594 $18,020,256 $23,129,746

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

President and CEO

Ms Ashley Demosthenes

Ashley Demosthenes began her conservation career in 1998 with The Nature Conservancy in South Carolina supporting land acquisition and conservation easement activities in the ACE Basin and eventually in McClellanville and surrounding natural areas. In 2002, began working for TNC across the state negotiating conservation easements, conservation buyer transactions and cooperative land acquisition projects with public partners across the state. In 2012, she became the ACE and Savannah River Basins Project Director where she worked closely with private landowners and conservation partners on land protection, funding strategies, stewardship and government relations. Ashley became Lowcountry Land Trust's first Director of Conservation in 2013, managing the conservation and stewardship program for the Trust. In March of 2015, Ashley was promoted to Executive Director and eventually President and CEO. Ashley oversees the entire operation of the Trust with a special emphasis on strategy.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Lowcountry Land Trust Inc.

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Lowcountry Land Trust Inc.

Board of directors
as of 01/18/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mr. Tom Hutto

GEL Engineering

Robert M Baldwin

Baldwin and Associates

Thomas D.W. Hutto

The GEL Group

W. Mac Baughman

Newkirk Forestry and Land Management

Walter Dale Blessing Jr.

MD, Roper St. Francis

Amanda Davis

Anderson Insurance Associates

Lindsay Nevin


Telfair H. Parker

Anderson Insurance Associates

Robert Daniel Perry

The Paulstrine Group, SC Dept. of Natural Resources, Retired

Randall C. Stoney III

Joye Law Firm

J. Travis Benintendo

Haut Gap Middle School

Robert M. Hollings, III

Bank of South Carolina

Sheldon Kramer


Paula Feldman

University of South Carolina, retired

Susan Johnson


Justin Craig

SCS Engineers

Richard Morrison

White Oak Forestry Company

Paul Butler

Commercial Real Estate and Property Management

James Baxter Porter


Bobby R. Creech


Elizabeth W. Settle

Attorney, Retired

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/7/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/07/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.