Second Nature, Inc.

  • Boston, MA
  • http://www.secondnature.org

Mission Statement

in 1993 by Dr. Anthony
D. Cortese
with a mission to create a healthy, just and sustainable society through
education, Second Nature advocates for economic, social and environmental
sustainability to be a foundation of all learning and part of the definition of
an educated citizen and develops
strategies for building higher education’s individual, institutional, and
sector-wide capacity to create a sustainable society. 


Nature’s largest network is the American College & Universities Presidents’
Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), made
up of college and university presidents who have made an institutional
commitment to reduce
and eventually eliminate their greenhouse gas emissions, and to create the
knowledge and the educated graduates to help society do the same. The initiative has grown to 680 committed
colleges and universities (representing more than 5.7 million students) in just
three years, and will result in the elimination of more than 33 million tons of
greenhouse gas emissions annually.


Nature supported the
development of the
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), a higher education professional
association with over 1,000 institutional members, and the Higher
Education Associations Sustainability Consortium (HEASC), a national network of
professional associations working to accelerate campus sustainability efforts.

Main Programs

  1. American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment
  2. Advancing Green Building Program
Service Areas



Second Nature provides leadership in and for higher education throughout the United States.

ruling year


Principal Officer since 1993


Dr. Anthony Cortese

Co Principal Officer since 2006


Michelle Dyer MSLS



Higher education, sustainability, educational resources, environment, colleges, universities, EFS, learning, sustainable, design, training

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Also Known As

Second Nature





Physical Address

18 Tremont Street, STE 308

Boston, MA 02108


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Unknown (Z99)

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?


Self-reported by organization

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

Program 1

American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment

The American College & University
Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), launched in 2007 to
accelerate progress towards a sustainabile society by garnering institutional
commitments to the pursuit of climate neutrality in operations, education, and
research.  This game-changing
initiative has inspired and empowered the higher education sector (including
many schools who have not yet joined the network, but have initiated climate
action as a result of considering signing the ACUPCC) to educate students,
create solutions, and provide leadership-by-example for the rest of society.    The ACUPCC provides a framework and support for America’s
colleges and universities to implement comprehensive plans in pursuit of
climate neutrality. It is a high-visibility, joint and
individual commitment through which over 650 schools in all 50 states and the
District of Columbia have committed to reducing and eventually neutralizing all
greenhouse gas emissions from electricity, buildings and transportation on and
to their campuses and educating their students to help the rest of society do
the same.    These college
and university presidents and chancellors have become signatories and have
committed to:

·      Complete
a greenhouse gas emissions inventory within one year;

·      Set a
target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral within two

·      Take
immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing two from a list
of seven short-term actions;

·      Make sustainability
an integral part of the curriculum and the educational experience of      all students;

·      Make
the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.

 The Commitment recognizes the unique responsibility that
institutions of higher education have as role models for their communities and
in educating the people who will develop the social, economic and technological
solutions to reverse global warming and to help create a thriving, civil and
sustainable society.  The college
and university presidents and chancellors who are joining and leading the
Commitment believe that exerting leadership in addressing climate disruption is
an integral part of the mission of higher education and will stabilize and
reduce their long-term energy costs, attract excellent students and faculty,
attract new sources of funding, and increase the support of alumni, business
and local communities.

signatories themselves, led by a Steering Committee of 22 presidents and chancellors,
and an enthusiastic group of governmental, non-governmental, and corporate
partners come together annually at the ACUPCC Climate Leadership Summit to
review their progress and work together to address implementation of the
Commitment (see: http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/news-events/summit).

Since the public launch of the ACUPCC, its membership has
more than tripled.   Along
with the increase in signatories, there has also been a relative increase in
the percentage of the student body that benefit from the commitment, due to the
number of larger institutions joining the network.  Currently, the signatory institutions are providing the
leadership for more 34% of the entire student population in the United States.


Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified


Program 2

Advancing Green Building Program

Green Building in Higher Education (AGB) initiative provides
capacity-building opportunities to under-resourced colleges and universities
working to build and renovate sustainably on their campuses.  This was made possible through the
generosity of the Kresge Foundation as a way for Second Nature to help
under-resourced schools learn about and use the financial and technical
resources available to construct and renovate campus buildings in ways that
save money, reduce environmental and health impacts, serve as educational
tools, and increase student enrollment.

The built environment accounts for an
estimated 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, a major contributor to global
climate disruption. Given the environmental and health problems exacerbated by
the construction and use of campus buildings, hundreds of institutions of
higher learning are building high-performance, healthy facilities that reduce
or eliminate harmful emissions and waste and increase quality of life and
productivity for their occupants. However, many public universities, religious,
community, and technical colleges, and institutions that serve financially
disadvantaged and minority students have fewer resources to spend on bricks and
mortar projects, less in-house knowledge about green building, and a limited
opportunity to learn from similar schools that have excelled in green building.
Many are unaware that green building will result in 10-20% annual energy
savings over the long-term.


Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General


Service Areas



Second Nature provides leadership in and for higher education throughout the United States.

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Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.


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

Second Nature, Inc.



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

Principal Officer

Dr. Anthony Cortese

Co Principal Officer

Michelle Dyer MSLS


Dr. Cortese is former director of the Center for Environmental Management and was the first dean of environmental programs at Tufts University. He was commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and also worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Public Health Service. Dr. Cortese currently serves as a member of several boards of directors and advisory committees, and has received several leadership awards in environmental protection and public health. He is also an AAAS Fellow.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Second Nature has been a major driving force for transforming the education, research, operation, and community outreach of the higher education sector in order to create a healthy, just, and sustainable future for everyone.


While it is heartening to see the explosion of action on college campuses during this time, we are at the beginning states of this transformation while the challegnes grow more difficult daily.


With your help, Second Nature will continue to play this important role in developing the high leverage strategies to make a sustainable society 'second nature' through education.


Anthony D. Cortese, ScD"



David Hales

College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine


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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?



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



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



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



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