A Titan of the Tax Code, A Lasting Legacy for Wild Alaska

The entire Alaska Wilderness League family was saddened to learn of Tom Troyer’s passing in May of 2022. Tom was a founding board member of Alaska Wilderness League nearly 30 years ago alongside Mike Matz, Tim Mahoney and Robert Mrazek, and was a driving force in shaping the direction and focus of the organization.

Tom Troyer, South Dakota 1981

In addition to being one of the founders, Tom served as Secretary of the Board of Directors in the League’s earliest years, pushing to expand the organization’s objectives beyond protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and widening its focus areas that helped lay the groundwork for the League’s impressive achievements in the Tongass National Forest, Arctic Ocean and many more of Alaska’s special and wild places.

Tom’s legacy goes beyond his work to protect Alaska. Nonprofit advocacy organizations like the League are common in today’s political and legal landscape. However, there was a time when that was not the case. As an expert on the tax code and advocate for public interest lawyers, Tom’s greatest legacy may well be his work to reform the tax code so that 501(c)3 organizations could be more effective, paving the way for the contemporary world of public interest advocacy. Institutions like ours and many others owe a debt of gratitude to Tom’s work.

For our part, we honor that legacy by following his example and continuing our work with the same passion and dedication as Tom. As the environmental movement begins to more effectively confront the international challenge of climate change, it’s critical that Alaska be a part of the solution, not another contributor to the problem. There is simply too much potential climate pollution in Alaska’s vast landscape that cannot be allowed to cause greater warming, and too many endangered species that rely upon these ecosystems.

Alaska Wilderness League and all its staff are here today, ready to do that work, because of Tom, and for that we will always be grateful to him and his family. Tom’s obituary, which further reflects on his life and achievements, can be found here.

Photo Credit: Dave Shreffler