Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

The Conservation Fund

  • Arlington, VA
  • www.conservationfund.org

Mission Statement

At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land since 1985. www.conservationfund.org(http://www.conservationfund.org/)

Main Programs

  1. Conservation programs

service areas

National

Self-reported by organization

ruling year

1985

chief executive

Mr. Lawrence A. Selzer

Self-reported by organization

co-chief executive

Mr. Rich Erdmann

Self-reported by organization

Keywords

conservation

Self-reported by organization

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EIN

52-1388917

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Forest Conservation (C36)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

The Conservation Fund was chartered in 1985 as the first organization with a dual-purpose mission of land and water conservation as well as economic development and job creation. For a relatively small organization (fewer than 150 employees nationwide), we have made an outsized impression on the American landscape. To date, we have protected over 7 million acres of land and water in all 50 states; lands that today are national monuments, state parks, community forests, historic battlefields, wild areas and favorite destinations of all kinds. Our organization is also working with communities to address their unique needs and craft long-term sustainable economic strategies. We do this with communities large, small, urban, suburban and rural by training grassroots conservation leaders, providing bridge financing to local land trusts, and offering capital and technical assistance to small businesses that sustainably use and protect natural resources. We continually evaluate current conservation concerns and focus on finding practical solutions for the most pressing issues facing our nation, including preventing the rapid development and conversion of forestlands, finding tangible solutions for climate change, and reconnecting children with the natural world.

Programs

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

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Conservation programs

The purposes of the organization are to further the understanding and appreciation of mankind's relationship to the natural world with an emphasis on means of conserving resources.  The fund endeavors to protect important landscapes having significant natural, historic or open space values.  The fund explores creative techniques to further this objective and ensure that these areas are protected in accordance with local land use plans and state or national land use polices.  The fund also undertakes demonstration projects to integrate local community land use planning with economic development efforts.  All program services expenses are incurred in furtherance of these goals.

Category

Food, Agriculture & Nutrition

Budget

$153,175,279.00

Population Served

General Public/Unspecified

Charting Impact

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

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Every year, America loses three million acres of land. That’s remote forests being cleared, urban green space getting swallowed by sprawl and farmland crumbling away. Nature is shrinking -- one parcel at a time. The good news is that more and more public and private leaders see this and want to save the best of America’s outdoors now. But they need a conservation partner to make it happen.

    The Conservation Fund was founded in 1985, as a new model of American land conservation. Rather than pursue a strict agenda of our own, we partner with these community, government and business leaders to achieve land conservation on the ground and across all 50 states, moving swiftly and smartly.

    In additional to our land conservation work, we also focus on enhancing nature’s valuable assets for the local communities that rely on them. We know that conservation impacts some of America’s most pressing issues: food security, reliable energy, available water, job creation, and livable communities. We developed our programs to support sustainable economic development, spark cutting-edge conservation, and bridge connections between people and the land. We’re advancing vibrant, healthy communities.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    As one of America’s most effective environmental nonprofits, The Conservation Fund is known for combining a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit. With a no-frills budget—no membership, endowment or big overhead costs—our dedicated team has spent 28 years fanning out across the country to work with willing landowners and help our partners preserve valuable lands and waters, while promoting economic development.

    Our strategies include programs that work directly with communities to address the whole system issues. For instance, our Conservation Leadership Network is a professional planning and training team that collaborates with community leaders to forge conservation solutions that work for the future, connect regions, and balance goals for nature and commerce. Our Strategic Conservation team develops green infrastructure strategic plans for cities, towns, and even states to help leaders incorporate a network of natural lands, working landscapes, and other open spaces that conserve ecosystem values and benefit citizens. Our Freshwater Institute focuses on water as a natural resource asset important to ecological function, cultural heritage and economic opportunity. Our Land Conservation Loan Program helps local NGOs succeed by providing flexible financing and capacity to swiftly purchase high-priority lands that come up for sale. Our green business lending programs provide loans to small green businesses, most of whom are located in hard-hit geographies where it matters most, like Appalachia and Michigan, and provides them with technical assistance to ensure their success. In North Carolina, our Resourceful Communities work with grassroots organizations using a “triple bottom line” approach that focuses on environmental stewardship, sustainable economic development and social justice to create opportunities that preserve the rural landscape, lift people out of poverty and celebrate the state’s unique culture.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    The Conservation Fund maintains a small staff size by design, but we aim to employ the brightest and boldest conservation talent in the country. The tool we use to power our work is our Revolving Fund. When we are asked to conserve high priority land for one of our partners such as the National Park Service or a State Wildlife Agency, we use capital from our Revolving Fund to acquire the land and hold it until the public agency can buy it back from us. When they do this, the money is returned to our Revolving Fund ready for deployed for the next land conservation project.

    Every dollar in the Revolving Fund is used to buy land, and only to buy land – no overhead, no administrative expenses, just land. So far, across more than 2,500 projects we’ve conserved more than 7.3 million acres of remarkable landscapes including wild havens, working lands, historic sites and vibrant community spaces.

    We’ve saved places like Rocky Fork, Tennessee – a pristine 10,000-acre property at the foot of the Southern Appalachian Mountains that every year welcomes thousands of visitors to hike, camp, fish and rediscover the outdoors. Places like the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail – the route, across 10 states and three rivers, that 19th-century explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark pioneered.

    And our work is about people, as much as places. Our Revolving Fund acts as a foundation for our broader conservation work, allowing us to not only save land but also directly change lives. By helping communities protect special places, we learn about their economic needs and can find ways to fulfill those needs sustainably. For example, in the Southeast, we’re helping low-income farmers hold onto lands that have been in their families for generations by providing financing to buy grain storage bins critical for farm operations. With small loans and technical assistance, we have conserved working farms at very low cost. Similarly, we have helped launch small businesses that use resources sustainably, enabled dozens of local land trusts to preserve history, and shown community leaders how to own and celebrate their natural resources for the first time.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    It took ten years for The Conservation Fund to save one million acres. Just four short years later in 1999, The Conservation Fund reached two million acres preserved. Since then we have conserved an additional five million acres and are poised to reach the 7.5 million acres conserved by the end of this year.

    We’re committed to making our next 25 years every bit as productive as the last.
    The demands – and opportunities – for conservation are greater than ever before. Across the country, state and community leaders recognize the value of saving wildlife habitat, open space, recreation destinations and more. In one example of new opportunity, conservation leaders are focusing on saving bigger and better-connected swaths of our landscape to provide adequate room for wildlife to migrate and mate, particularly in areas where landscapes are being affected by a changing climate. This “landscape-level” conservation takes more funding and often involves more complex project structure.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Just this past March, President Obama established five new national monuments. The Conservation Fund played an instrumental role in two of them. On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, we donated a 480-acre property to the National Park Service to honor acclaimed abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and then repeatedly returned to the area to lead other African Americans to freedom along the Underground Railroad. In Delaware, we purchased and donated to the National Park Service a 1,100-acre property, known as Woodlawn, which established Delaware’s first national monument or park, more than 140 years after becoming America’s first state. Not all of our projects become national monuments or parks; some are natural areas, storied battlefields, or urban parks. We have completed the protection of over 2,500 projects and they each have their own story to tell.

    In addition, through our programmatic work, our Conservation Leadership Network has trained more than 10,000 community and business leaders nationwide. Our Land Conservation Loan Program has provided more than $100 million in more than 200 loans to roughly 100 partners. Our Resourceful Communities team has created a network of 300 grassroots and community organizations, invested more than $2.2 million in triple-bottom-line projects that have leveraged over $22 million, trained more than 5,000 community leaders, and helped its partners create more than 425 jobs.

    We have completed green infrastructure plans in places like Houston, Chicago, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Nashville, and Louisiana. Our forest carbon programs have resulted in the protection of 74,000 acres, the restoration of 25,000 acres, and the planting of 10 million trees.

    Our green business lending have leveraged $50 million and provided more than 7,500 hours of technical assistance to make 350 green small businesses more bankable nationwide. We have helped these companies create and retain more than 1,000 green jobs.

service areas

National

Self-reported by organization

Social Media

@theconservationfund

@conservationfun

@the-conservation-fund

@theconservationfund

@conservationfund

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Financials

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THE CONSERVATION FUND A NONPROFIT CORPORATION
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

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

The Conservation Fund

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Knowledge Base Search
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOR FISCAL YEAR

Mr. Lawrence A. Selzer

co-chief executive

Mr. Rich Erdmann

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Michael Leonard II

Davis, Pickren, Seydel & Sneed, LLP

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & 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?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

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Gender
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Race & Ethnicity
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Volunteers.
Sexual Orientation

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Disability
This organization reports that it does not collect this information.