444S Foundation



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2015):

Revenue: $16,636,936
Expenses: $2,444,813
Assets: $35,907,737




Grantmaking Organization

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The 444S Foundation is an environmentalist grantmaking organization associated with the family of the late former Sierra Club president Edgar Wayburn. 1 The foundation is located in Bellevue, Washington, and focuses on grantmaking to environmental groups focused geographically on the Northwestern United States, Alaska, and Canada. 2

The 444S Foundation has no public website, receives little press coverage, and does not accept unsolicited grant requests. 3

Organizational Overview

The 444S Foundation was founded by in 1997. 444S Foundation has focused its efforts on the environment in the Northwestern part of North America. 4

Grants are focused on wilderness, parks, wildlife conservation, and organizations that seek to prevent development of lands. Grants to organizations like 350Seattle, Ecojustice, Earthjustice, Tides Canada and WildEarth Guardians the organization demonstrate a left-of-center advocacy position. 5

In addition to the foundation’s grants, it has taken positions opposing the proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline,6 supporting the “Banking on a Low Carbon Future” pressure campaign,7 and joining the Biodiversity Funders Group as a member. 8


Cynthia Ann Wayburn is a longtime environmentalist activist from the prominent Wayburn family of environmentalist campaigners. Her father, physician Edgar Wayburn, led the Sierra Club for five terms;9 her mother Peggy wrote nature books. 10  Cynthia Wayburn is a trustee of the 444S Foundation. Wayburn was on the original staff of Earthjustice (a 444S grantee) and previously served on its board of trustees; she is chair of the Earthjustice Council, a circle of the group’s most involved supporters. 11 James Roush, Wayburn’s late husband, was the son of a co-founder of trucking company Roadway Express and a longtime member of the board of directors. Roush sat on the Sierra Club Foundation board and supported the work of the American Civil Liberties Union and Earthjustice. He passed away in early 2016. 12

Will Roush, son of G. James Roush, is an environmental activist who works as conservation director for Wilderness Workshop. 13 He is also a trustee of 444S Foundation,  a trustee of Earthjustice,14 secretary of the board of Ecojustice,15 and a board member for the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. 16

Fred Ackerman-Munson serves as Executive Director of the foundation and, as a Board member of Cascades Conservation Partnership. 17 In addition, Mr. Munson serves on the Advisory Committee of Activists and Funders for the Arctic Defense Fund (with funding routed through the Sustainable Markets Foundation). 18


2017 tax returns for the 444S Foundation show assets at fair market value of $54,676,989 with revenue of $5,033,597 (including $4,022,249 from the sale of assets) offset by $2,844,296 of expenses and disbursements including $2,120,000 of grants. 19 Employee, officer, and director salaries and benefits totaled $251,376. 20

Fred Ackerman Munson, the foundation’s executive director, was paid $165,855 in salary and $21,577 in contributions to benefits and deferred compensation in 2017 and is the only employee named on the foundation’s tax return. 21

James N. Sheldon received $24,021 and is the only trustee to receive compensation. 22


  1. Martin, Douglas. “Edgar Wayburn, a Leader in Saving the Wilderness, Dies at 103.” The New York Times. The New York Times, March 10, 2010.
  2. “About” Foundation Directory Online. Accessed August 27, 2019.
  3. “444S Foundation: Grants for Environmental Conservation.” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed August 27, 2019.
  4. “444S Foundation” GuideStar Accessed August 27, 2019.
  5. 444S Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2015, Part XV Line 3
  6. “Investor Statement to Banks Financing the Dakota Access Pipeline.” Accessed August 27, 2019.
  7. Boston Common Asset Management-Share Action-Banking on a Low Carbon Future.” Accessed on August 27, 2019.
  8. “About Our Members.” Accessed August 26, 2019. Biodiversity Funders Group.
  9. Egelko, Bob. “5-Term Sierra Club Chief, Edgar Wayburn, Dies.” SFGate. San Francisco Chronicle, March 8, 2010.
  10. Kim, Ryan. “Peggy Wayburn — Author, Conservationist.” SFGate. San Francisco Chronicle, March 28, 2002.
  11. “The Earthjustice Council.” EarthJustice. Accessed August 26, 2019.
  12. “G. James Roush ‘50.” Amherst College. Accessed August 27, 2019.
  13. “Two National Leaders Join Earthjustice Board.” Earthjustice. Accessed August 25, 2019
  14. “Two National Leaders Join Earthjustice Board of Trustees.” November 17,2014. My Social Good News. Accessed August 27, 2019.
  15. “Will Roush Secretary of the Board.” Ecojustice. Accessed August 26, 2019.
  16. “Two National Leaders Join Earthjustice Board.” Earthjustice. Accessed August 25, 2019
  17. “Fred Munson, Cascades Conservation Partnership.” Grist. Accessed August 26, 2019.
  18. “Endorsements.” Arctic Defense Fund. Accessed August 26, 2019.
  19. 444S Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2017.
  20. 444S Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2017, Lines 13,14,15. Accessed August 27, 2019
  21. 444S Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2017, Part VIII
  22. 444S Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2017, Statement 13. Accessed August 27, 2019.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 1998

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Dec Form PF $16,636,936 $2,444,813 $35,907,737 $1,442 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $2,972,397 $2,126,491 $28,758,632 $5,886 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $3,426,921 $2,363,127 $27,908,872 $2,032 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $1,743,037 $1,877,567 $26,849,401 $6,355 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $1,477,875 $2,039,083 $26,983,207 $5,631 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    444S Foundation

    PO BOX 1128
    BELLEVUE, WA 98009-1128