Outrider Foundation



Madison, WI

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Assets: $4,707,720


Environmental Organization



Executive Director:

Robert K. Elder

Budget (2022):

Revenue: $ 1,072,840
Expenses: $1,784
Assets: $ 5,793,400 1


  1. Outrider Foundation. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990), 2022.

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The Outrider Foundation is an environmentalist advocacy organization based in Madison, Wisconsin, that promotes climate change advocacy and criticizes nuclear weapons, mainly through financial support for reporting in mainstream journalistic outlets.


In 1999, Frank Burgess, the chairman of Madison Investment Holding, Inc, a financial firm based in Madison, Wisconsin, founded the Outrider Foundation, initially as a family foundation. In 2000, the Outrider Foundation was registered as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and in 2015, though still under Burgess’s chairmanship, the foundation became an operating foundation, expanding its operations from grantmaking. 1 2

Since 2015, after its transformation, the organization has operated advocacy programs and launched professional partnerships, focusing on climate change advocacy and opposing nuclear weapons. The organization co-publishes and funds aligned media projects in mainstream journalistic outlets. 3

Though the organization’s focus is environmentalist and anti-nuclear advocacy, the Outrider Foundation notes on its website that its work includes critical race theory-aligned objectives, such as “amplifying communities of color” and “forwarding solutions…from indigenous voices.” 4



In October 2022, the Outrider Foundation launched a fellowship program supporting aligned activists’ work at mainstream media outlets. For instance, the organization’s inaugural fellow, Eugene Reznik, works as a features photo editor at Bloomberg Green, the climate news division of Bloomberg. 5

In February 2023, the Outrider Foundation announced its support, along with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, for a nuclear security initiative of the Associated Press. As part of the initiative, the Associated Press will expand its coverage of issues associated with nuclear weapons policy. 6

In September 2023, the Outrider Foundation announced that, along with 22 donors including the Archewell Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Democracy Fund, Ford Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, that it was supporting the launch of Press Forward, a national left-of-center initiative to support local news and journalism, fiscally sponsored by the Miami Foundation. 7

Nuclear Blast Simulator

In 2018, the Outrider Foundation launched Bomb Blast, an interactive digital program created in partnership with Bluecadet, which allows visitors to the organization’s website to input their zip code and see how a nuclear blast might affect their neighborhood. Since its launch, the program has been featured in media outlets including The Verge, Fast Company, Motherboard, and IFL Science. 8


Partners of the Outrider Foundation include Bloomberg Green, Time, the Associated Press, Black Diplomats, and Science Friday. 9


Robert K. Elder is the president and CEO of the Outrider Foundation as well as a voting member of its board of directors. Previously, Elder was the chief digital officer of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and the executive director of Digital Product Development and Innovation at Crain Communications, a public relations firm. 10

Frank Burgess is the founder of the Outrider Foundation, which was initially his private foundation, and is the chair of its board of directors. Additionally, Burgess is the chairman and founder of Madison Investment Holdings, Inc., a Wisconsin-based financial firm; the director of the Capitol Bank of Madison, Wisconsin; the director of American Riviera Bank of Santa Barbara, California; and the director of the Madison family of mutual funds. 11


  1. Sadchev, Nina. ” Member Spotlight: Outrider Foundation.” Media Impact Funders. July 26, 2023. Accessed October 2, 2023.,charities%20on%20various%20community%20issues.
  2. “Outrider Foundation Inc.” ProPublica. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  3. Sadchev, Nina. ” Member Spotlight: Outrider Foundation.” Media Impact Funders. July 26, 2023. Accessed October 2, 2023.,charities%20on%20various%20community%20issues.
  4. “About Us.” Outrider Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  5. “Outrider launches storytelling fellowship in partnership with Bloomberg Green.” Outrider Foundation. October 2, 2022. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  6. “Outrider announces nuclear security reporting initiative in collaboration with the Associated Press and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.” Outrider Foundation. February 23, 2020. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  7. “Outrider joins Press Forward coalition to revitalize local news.” Outrider Foundation. September 7, 2023. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  8. “Nuclear Bomb Blast Simulator.” Outrider Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  9. “Projects.” Outrider Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  10. “Robert K. Elder.” Outrider Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  11. “Frank Burgess.” Outrider Foundation. Accessed October 2, 2023.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 2000

  • 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
    2020 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $4,707,720 $40,058 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2019 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $5,360,781 $44,296 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $5,169,504 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $4,959,648 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $3,090,937 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $1,151,713 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $0 $0 $818,813 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Outrider Foundation

    Madison, WI 53703-3099