Conservative Energy Network



Tax ID:


Budget (2018):

Revenue: $3,087,792
Expenses: $2,483,110
Assets: $1,104,127




Mark Pischea

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Conservative Energy Network is an advocacy organization that connects state-based ostensibly right-of-center environmentalist organizations. Founded and led by political strategist and consultant Mark Pischea,1 CEN promotes anti-pollution and clean energy policies from ideologically conservative premises, including an emphasis on reducing America’s dependence on oil produced in hostile nations, saving ratepayers’ money, and stimulating local economies. 2

However, despite its name and self-proclaimed ideological values, CEN is heavily funded by left-of-center organizations, including the MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Turner Foundation. 3


In December 2018, CEN voted to support an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) resolution to urge lawmakers to break electricity generation and retail monopolies at the state level. 4

CEN argues government policies to promote environmentalist energy over conventional fuels are popular with voters. After the 2018 mid-term elections, CEN held a national survey with the Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum (another ostensibly conservative environmentalist non-profit with ties to left wing funders5) which found that “clean energy policy is important to a strong majority of midterm voters—voters who are looking for real action from their elected officials in the years ahead.” 6

In summer 2018, CEN President Mark Pischea spoke out against President Donald Trump’s promise to support struggling coal and nuclear power plants. Pischea uses conservative principles to argue that no energy source should be associated with the “left” (ie. solar, wind, etc.) or the “right” (ie. coal, oil, etc.) but rather all energy sources should be put on a level-playing field by the government’s energy policy to allow market competition to pick “winners and losers.” 7


Conservative Energy Network has received funding from a number of foundations typically associated with funding left-of-center advocacy.

MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Foundation provides grants to individuals and organizations, principally on the political left. 8 MacArthur gave CEN a two-year grant in 2018 for $1,000,000 to “support general operations.” 9

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is a global philanthropic organization with a wide range of goals, including left-wing environmentalism. 10 In 2014, the RBF divested its entire $860 million of assets from conventional energy. 11 In 2017, 2018, and 2019, the RBF donated $89,000, $100,000, and $150,000 respectively to Conservative Energy Network for “general support” (2017 and 2018) and “its states and regions programs” (2019). 12

Turner Foundation

The Turner Foundation is dedicated to expanding American government environmental conservation lands and recruiting private conservationist efforts. 13 In 2018, the TF donated $100,000 to the CEN for “project support to develop a conservative, pro-clean energy presence in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.” 14

McKnight Foundation

The McKnight Foundation aims to restore public trust through philanthropy aimed at reducing racial inequality, promoting innovation, and environmental protection. 15 The organization wants to create a carbon-neutral Midwestern American economy16 and increase environmental regulations on the Mississippi River. 17 In 2017, the McKnight Foundation donated $200,000 to CEN for “general operating support.” 18

Argosy Foundation

The Argosy Foundation is a non-profit that provides grants to entrepreneurs in a variety of fields, including arts, education, health, and environmental protection. 19 The AF has partnered with Communities for a Better Environment to help low-income communities prohibit the transport of crude oil by train through their neighborhoods. 20 In 2017, the AF donated “over $20,000” to Conservative Energy Network to “support a clean energy project.” 21


  1. “Mark Pischea.” Linkedin. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  2. “About the Conservative Energy Network.” Conservative Energy Network. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  3. “What is the ‘Conservative Energy Network’ and Why is it Backed by Leftist Funders?” Washington Examiner. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  4. “ALEC Members Reject Electricity Competition Resolution after EEI Opposition.” Utility Dive. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  5. Blumenthal, Paul. “Groups With Liberal Ties Tapped To Re-Elect The GOP Establishment.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 29 Jan. 2015,
  6. “Survey Release: Midterm Voters Want Action on Clean Energy Policy.” Conservative Energy Network. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  7. “Government Shouldn’t Pick Winners and Losers in Energy Market.” Conservative Energy Network. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  8. “The MacArthur Foundation: A Donor without a Cause Spawns a Foundation without an Agenda.” Capital Research Center. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  9. “Conservative Energy Network.” MacArthur Grant Foundation. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  10. “Sustainable Development.” Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  11. “The Rockefellers are Pulling their Charity Fund out of Fossil Fuels.” Accessed November 21, 2019.
  12. “Conservative Energy Network.” Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  13. “Land.” Turner Foundation Inc. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  14. “2018 Turner Foundation Awarded Grants.” Turner Foundation Inc. Accessed November 21, 2019,
  15. “Strategic Framework 2019-2021.” McKnight Foundation. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  16. “Midwest Climate and Energy.” McKnight Foundation. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  17. “Mississippi River.” McKnight Foundation. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  18. “Search Our Grants.” McKnight Foundation. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  19. “What We Do.” Argosy Foundation. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  20. “Stand & Communities for a Better Environment.” Argosy Foundation. Accessed November 21, 2019.
  21. “2017 Annual Report.” Argosy Foundation. Accessed November 21, 2019.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 2017

  • 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
    2018 Dec Form 990 $3,087,792 $2,483,110 $1,104,127 $0 N $3,087,792 $0 $0 $7,330 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $1,107,509 $608,064 $499,445 $0 N $1,107,509 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Conservative Energy Network

    106 W ALLEGAN ST STE 200
    LANSING, MI 48933-1720