Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

The Conservation Fund

Arlington, VA

Mission

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 7.8 million acres of land since 1985. www.conservationfund.org(http://www.conservationfund.org/)

Ruling Year

1985

President & CEO

Mr. Lawrence A. Selzer

Main Address

1655 N. Fort Myer Drive Ste 1300

Arlington, VA 22209 USA

Keywords

conservation

EIN

52-1388917

 Number

0704484358

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.

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Programs + Results

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Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Conservation programs

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Acres of land managed

TOTALS BY YEAR
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Conservation programs

Number of acres of land protected

TOTALS BY YEAR
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Conservation programs

Total dollar amount of loans issued

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Conservation programs

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

At The Conservation Fund, 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.

While economic disparity has gone on for too long, we have been addressing it for decades, recognizing that the spirit of enterprise is alive and well in America. A lot of our work happens in the very places that are rich in natural resources but deprived in economic circumstances. Many people in these areas are not waiting for the next job or for someone else to make their community better—they are creating their own future now.

While conventional jobs have evaporated in many small towns and isolated rural settings, these are the places where the seedlings of green businesses? are growing rapidly. Local food, value-added agriculture, renewable energy, tourism, new markets for nutrition and other products are buoying commerce while conserving natural resources. We have found that with relatively small investments of grants or loans, imagination and drive does the rest. Our conservation-led approach addresses a broader national challenge for helping revive communities by spurring new jobs while using natural resources wisely.

We're also hard at work ensuring nature has a place in our cities, where more than 80 percent of Americans now live. While investment in “hard" infrastructure is essential, so is our investment in parks, garden plots, trails, tree canopy and other “green infrastructure." These natural elements help create the cities of tomorrow rather than repeating past mistakes, building in practical solutions to flood management and water quality. Green infrastructure creates jobs, too—reviving traditional skills and creating new opportunities.

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 works throughout the country with willing landowners to 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 natural-resource based businesses, most of whom are located in hard-hit geographies where it matters most, like Appalachia and the Midwest, and provides them with technical assistance to ensure their success. Our Resourceful Communities program works 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 each community's unique culture.

Our focus is on conservation and communities—creating as many pathways possible for people and organizations to protect their natural resources and save the places that matter most—properties with ecological, historic and/or cultural significance. We deliver conservation and economic vitality through strong partnerships with government, business and colleague organizations.

We are willing to take risks. We are creative, entrepreneurial and have devoted three decades to re-defining conservation—inviting more Americans to participate in, and benefit from, the multiple advantages offered by our solutions. Traditional methods of conservation are not keeping pace with ever-increasing demand for the benefits supplied to us by nature. Today we face climate change, inefficient systems for water and land use, damaging agricultural practices, as well as resistance to acknowledge the real value of the natural world on which we so heavily rely. Our programs re-imagine our short-term human systems to better align them with the longer-term cycles of nature.

We are independent and do not have a membership, and thus appreciate the dedicated support of a nationwide community of individuals and organizations who agree with our vision and approach. Working efficiently and effectively, The Conservation Fund devotes 96% of its annual budget directly to conservation programs and just 1% to fundraising.

With 30 consecutive years of growth, our record demonstrates that new ideas can work, especially when created and implemented with trusted, credible partners. The Conservation Fund has proven again and again that it can address the big challenges and achieve enduring change through purposeful conservation.

Every four years, The Conservation Fund's staff and board of directors undertake a strategic review of our programs. We do this to make sure that our existing services still make sense for The Conservation Fund and are targeting the highest value conservation priorities, and to fully evaluate any new conservation opportunities that we think may hold promise. This process is consistent with our core values of entrepreneurship, flexibility, nimbleness and creativity. It is part of what has enabled us to succeed even as our operating environment has undergone significant change.

It took 10 years for The Conservation Fund to save one million acres. Over the next two decades, we conserved an additional six million acres. We're committed to making our next decade 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.

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. And places like the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail—the route, across 10 states and three rivers, that 19th-century explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark pioneered.

The Conservation Fund has also been instrumental in the establishment of national parks and national monuments. On Maryland's Eastern Shore, we donated a 480-acre property to the National Park Service that became a national monument 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 park, more than 140 years after becoming America's first state. We have also helped the National Park Service preserve special places within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Wind Cave National Park, San Juan Islands National Historic Park, Little River Canyon National Park, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and many more. These lands are part of the American story, and we protect them for the public, for current and future generations.

Our work is about people, as much as places. Land conservation acts as a foundation for our broader 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.

• We have conserved nearly 1,250,000 acres of working farms and ranches—keeping livelihoods, habitat and landscapes protected.

• We have awarded over $3.2 million in grants to community organizations that preserve the rural landscape and strengthen local economies—supporting 1,000 local “green" jobs and providing a $12-to-$1 return on investment through our Resourceful Communities program.

• We protect land—nearly 8 million acres since 1985—and create jobs. We've created or retained more than 3,000 jobs at over 180 businesses in underserved rural and urban communities throughout central Appalachia and the Southeast through our Natural Capital Investment Fund.

• We have provided $180 million in bridge financing to our partners through our Land Conservation Loan program to acquire land with a fair market value of over $365 million dollars.

• We have protected and sustainably managed over 470,000 acres of working forest in 14 states through our Working Forest Fund—keeping forest product jobs and ecosystems intact.

• And we've delivered green infrastructure plans in 40 states and completed statewide green infrastructure network mapping in 19 of those—helping communities balance nature and the built environment.

External Reviews

Financials

The Conservation Fund

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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Operations

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

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

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

Yes

ETHICS & 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?

Yes

Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Gender

Race & Ethnicity

Other/Additional Ethnicities

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.

Disability

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.

Diversity Strategies

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We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
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We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
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We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
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We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
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We have a diversity committee in place
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We have a diversity manager in place
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We have a diversity plan
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We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
The Conservation Fund (the Fund) has made best efforts to provide the requested data within the confines of laws protecting the rights and privacy of our staff and Board. Consistent with applicable law, we do not ask for, nor do we have access to, some of the information requested above. If voluntarily provided by staff via anonymous survey, we record such data and have reported it above. To address Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) across our organization, the Fund in 2015 formed an EDI Workgroup, which issued a report with internal and external goals. EDI training also has been a key focus, with leadership participating in training as well as a 4-part training program available to all staff. In addition, the Fund continues to work to diversify Board membership. For our EDI vision statement, click: https://www.conservationfund.org/about-us