Institute for Social Ecology

The task of teachers, those obscure soldiers of civilization, is to give to the people the intellectual means to revolt. - Louise Michel

aka ISE   |   Plainfield, VT   |  http://www.social-ecology.org/

Mission

Established in 1974 and incorporated in 1981, the Institute for Social Ecology is an independent institution of higher education dedicated to the study of social ecology, an interdisciplinary field drawing on philosophy, political and social theory, anthropology, history, economics, the natural sciences, and feminism. The mission of the ISE is the creation of educational experiences that enhance people's understanding of their relationship to the natural world and each other. By necessity, this involves the ISE in programs that deepen students' awareness of self and others, help them to think critically, and expand their perception of the creative potentialities for human action. The purpose of the ISE's programs is the preparation of well-rounded students who can work effectively as participants in the process of ecological reconstruction.

Ruling year info

1983

Principal Officer

Brian Tokar

Main address

PO Box 48

Plainfield, VT 05667 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

03-0280149

NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

Interdisciplinary Research (V30)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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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?

Climate Justice Project

Supports activist networks around the world by highlighting the links between global warming and social justice with research, education and advocacy.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Academics
Activists
Artists and performers
Farmers

An annual gathering of students, scholars and activists working in the field of social ecology.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Activists
Artists and performers
Farmers
Academics

Each year we offer a popular week-long spring intensive program. Our spring intensives bring together ISE faculty, local activists and scholars for a week of exploring social-ecological transformation in theory and practice. Combining classes, workshops, guest lectures and field trips, participants learn the fundamentals of social ecology and apply them to a variety of contemporary social movements and issues. The site and program changes each time, with past intensives held in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver B.C., and Denton, Texas. We have hosted speakers from organizations such as Organization for a Free Society, Picture the Homeless, Green Action for Health and Environmental Justice, Coalition of Progressive Electors, West Harlem Environmental Action (WEACT), Perennial Solutions, Urban Permaculture Institute, Native American Women’s Dialogue on Infant Mortality and the Tar Sands Blockade.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Academics
Activists
Artists and performers
Farmers

The ISE coordinates and provides faculty for the concentration in social ecology, offered through the Master of Arts Program at Prescott College.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Our programming serves activists and scholars in movements for racial and environmental justice across the United States and around the world. As a movement-driven educational organization committed to the practice of direct democracy, we are always seeking input from our students. Input from our extended community of students, supporters, affiliates and allied organizations plays a fundamental role in shaping the strategic direction of our organization, as well as the programs and courses we offer.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    In the wake of the Black Lives Matter uprisings of 2020, we had a number of strategic discussions with our broader community to determine how our organization could best serve movements for racial justice. In response to feedback from students, affiliates and allies, we created a new Racial and Environmental Justice program to offer new educational programming focused on the intersection of race, ecology and social movements. We hired renowned Black activist and Cooperation Jackson co-founder Kali Akuno to lead this program.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    By requesting feedback from our students, we are able to continually evaluate our educational programming and ensure that our curriculum meets our students' needs—both as learners and participants in social movements. Feedback we have received from supporters has played a catalyzing role in revising board practices, including formalizing rules around transparency, meeting rules and accountability. This in turn has helped to redistribute power within the organization, empowering those who have more recently been involved while de-centering members who have been with us for many years.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

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Operations

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

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Institute for Social Ecology

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dan Chodorkoff

Institute for Social Ecology

Daniel Chodorkoff

ISE

Six others avail. on request

ISE

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 ? Not applicable
  • 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? Not applicable
  • 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 10/25/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/25/2021

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

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • 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 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 use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • 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 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.